That's how a team is supposed to respond after a loss or after giving up a goal. Thank you Avalanche!
With all the injuries these two depleted teams are suffering through, it figured to be a night for some less familiar names to find the score sheet, and just one minute in, Alex Steen found himself scoring on a breakaway (I would call it a foot race with Foote, but that's like a tortoise and hare kinda thing) after a inept pinch/hit by the returning Ryan Wilson.
Minutes later however, Liles was kind enough to illustrate for young Mr. Wilson how you pinch: JML sneaks back door and deposits a misplaced clear by Halak. Now, If Liles doesn't anticipate the play and sneak in, Halak sends that rebound safely out of a harm's way and the Avs remain down 1-0 - luckily we have Liles 2010 and not 2009, so the game gets tied up at 1.
But the smooth skating Liles wasn't done there. After a very good shift in the Blues zone (complete with a full line change for the Avs), Liles picked up the puck in the left circle and quickly skated backwards towards the middle of the ice before firing a slapper past a screened (by Duchene) Halak. That hard working shift energized the Avs and 2 minutes later Liles fired another hard slap shot on net which Halak couldn't handle, and this time it was Paul Stastny who knocked the puck up and over Halak as SoS fell to the ice. That bad first goal was essentially erased by three unanswered Avalanche goals. This was how they should have responded in Detroit last game after allowing the first goal. But the past is the past and this first period ends 3-1 good guys.
The 2nd period slowed up a bit as the Blues endeavored to hunker down and work their way back into the game. Crombeen picked a fight with O'Byrne in retaliation to a pretty vicious hit by the newest member of the Avs, but it was a mild bout. The Avalanche received a powerplay due to the Blues' initiation of the fight, and even though nothing happened on the powerplay, it goes to show why you want a big dude who hits people. O'Bryne's hit resulted in 2 minutes of offense for the Avs, and no offense from the Blues. O'Bryne may not be the blueline savior of our Avs, but he does bring something the team needs.
Shortly after the PP ended, Colaiacovo swept into the Avalanche zone and beat Budaj with a wrister from the right circle. It was a play on the rush and the Avs may have suffered from being a bit too comfortable with their 2 goal lead on that one. But just as they did after the first goal, the Avs countered in a big way. They decapitated the Blues momentum on a weird play where Duchene flew into the offensive zone after receiving a lead pass from Hejduk, and flipped a backhand saucer pass up over and across the crease. The puck hit Yip and ricocheted in. The play was ruled "no goal" on the ice, but upon review it was shown that the puck hit Yip in the stomach and not his hand. The long review took what little wind was left out of the Blues' sails. Jones smelled blood in the water and took advantage by scoring a beauty on the next shift. The good doctor rushed in on Halak, pulled the puck back, and roofed it over the Slovakian net minder - who probably should have been yanked at that point, if not sooner.
The teams traded powerplays in the middle of the third before Brad Boyes toe-dragged his way to a powerplay goal. Wilson got flat out used on the play, as he generally did throughout the night. Tough first game back Ryan. As you might suspect, the goal combined with the time left in the game, tilted the ice a bit in favor of the Blues, but the Avs answered St. Louis' charge yet again. Shattenkirk laid a hit on the much larger Pietrangelo as the Blues D-man tried skating the puck up ice. The puck slid to Winnik who smartly sent it the other way ahead to O'Reilly. Radar found a streaking Porter who walked in alone and beat Halak under his left pad for a PP goal.
Then the fun started. Crombeen acted the fool and a skirmish broke out behind Budaj, leading to Duchene dropping his gloves. Duchene literally undressed his opponent (tip of the hat to canucklehead272). The rest of the game had a rough testy edge as the Blues were frustrated by the Avs constant barrage of answers for anything and everything the Blues tried. Fun game.
- Tonight's match up featured two injury-plagued squads. Colorado features 8 players on the IR, to the Blues' 5 injured reservists (the nasty part is 5 of those 13 injured players are out because of concussions).
- With 2 assists, Stewart improved his already gaudy point total against the Blues to 15 points in 8 games.
- The Avs can S K A T E! And when they skate, they usually win. When they don't (last game vs Detroit), they go home sad, like Pandas.
- Budaj won the battle of Slovakian netminders tonight. Atta boy Boods.
- Porter is handling himself quite well given more minutes. I feel like I'm finally seeing what everybody talks about with him.
The San Jose "anyone could play goal for us and win 30 games" Sharks visit Denver for a 7pm Wednesday night tilt.