Well folks, sorry for the delay (at least by my quick standards) in getting the recap. I had to work today and got home a little late. Thank goodness for DVR.
There were a couple of big streaks on the line tonight for both teams heading into the game tonight. The Avs were riding a season high 3 game winning streak while the Dallas Stars have won their last 5 games at the American Airlines Center. The Avs didn't get into Dallas until late last night, and didn't even make it to their hotel until 3am CST. This is the exact opposite setup from the last time they met. Would it be the exact opposite result?
It didn't start off that way as Matt Duchene was looking to continue the effort he put forth against the New York Rangers last night. He was the one whose hard work down low drew a penalty call on former Avs defenseman Karlis Skrastins. The Avs powerplay wasted little time getting their power play going as Milan Hejduk cashed in on a pretty pass from John Michael Liles at the 4:05 mark of the first period. John Michael Liles continued his amazing first half of the season in picking up an assist on the play. 1-0 Colorado.
The rest of the first period was played very cautious with both teams not really dominating the other. The end of the period did feature a couple penalties on Stars captain Brendan Morrow. The initial call was right in front of the referee in the neutral zone and his was arguing was given an extra minor penalty for unsportsman like conduct.
As the second period got underway the were still on a carry over power play from the first period. I'm not sure what it is about the Avs power play that has them clicking, but I'm definitely digging it. On probably one of the prettier passes I have seen all year, Kevin Shattenkirk threaded a needle to Milan Hejduk who pushed home is second power play goal of the game to put the Avs up 2-0.
In hockey, more than any other sport it seems, momentum can be a huge factor in deciding how the rest of a game is played and ultimately decided. After giving up a second powerplay goal, this Dallas Stars team definitely seemed like the were back on their heels a bit. With Chris Stewart driving to the net and throwing the puck at the net, Dr. David Jones followed the play up and buried the rebound on a pretty backhand shot. Kevin Shattenkirk just keeps getting done for the Avs since his call up, he now has 5 assists in his first 9 games in a Uni-pron.
Just when things were starting to look like everything was going Colorado's way, boom goes the dynamite.
The Dallas Stars struck for 2 goals in 23 seconds. On a goal that I'm fairly certain that I could have stopped, Peter Budaj was victimized on the short side from a slapper from Adam Burish, Dallas goaltender Kari Lehtonen earned an assist on the goal. The second was on a bad defensive breakdown as Brendan Morrow buried a rebound to make it 3-2 Colorado.
I thought the Dallas Stars came out just the way they needed to try and tie the score early on in the third period. They were forcing the issue in all zones. Then David Jones and Paul Stastny were in on a clean 2 on 1, Stastny feathered a gorgeous backhand pass to David Jones who absolutely fake Kari Lehtonen out of his jock strap, but had the puck roll on him and just skip over his stick. Was this going to be the one that is looked back on as the one that could have given us that 2 goal lead?
No. The referees CLEARLY missed a tripping penalty on the Dallas Stars captain Brendan Morrow as he hauled down Greg Mauldin as he attempted to clear the puck out of the zone on the power play. The puck was kept in the zone as the Avs penalty killers got caught on the ice for a long time. The icing on the cake during the sequence was that the tying goal went off of Ryan Wilson's skate and into the net James Neal was given credit for the goal. Tie game 3-3.
Just prior to the faceoff following the goal, the Avalanche were absolutely livid. Both Adam Foote and Paul Stastny were giving the referees a piece of their minds. Recognizing that his team wasn't where they needed to be mentally, Coach Joe Sacco made the play of the game in calling a timeout. It appeared to have calmed the team down for the home stretch.
The last 2 to 3 minutes of the 3rd period, the Dallas Stars dominated the Avs. In a game that seemed like it was heading toward a lopsided Avs win, they were just lucky to make it to overtime and earn that "extra" point.
As overtime started, I was definitely holding my breath because of the way the Stars had been dominating the play. Not the case as the overtime started. The Avs were the ones who were dominating the play. With 38.4 seconds left to play in the overtime period, Scott Hannan probably took one of the most ill advised penalties I can think of. How can you lay such a blatant cross check on someone near the net, in overtime! Luckily it didn't cost the Avs as they killed off the penalty and sent it to the shootout.
In the shootout we had some highlight reel saves, none better than Kari Lehtonen's save on Matt Duchene, but the goal to seal the win for the Avs was newly nicknamed "Mr. Clutch" Kevin Porter.
Derek's Three Stars of the Game:
1st Star: Milan Hejduk, 2G
2nd Star: Kevin Shattenkirk, 2A (1st NHL multi-point game)
3rd Star: Peter Budaj, 26 saves