Joe Sacco switched up the lines radically for the first time this season. Matt Duchene and Paul Stastny switched right wingers and Daniel Winnik got a shot in the top six. It paid off early when the Winnik, Stastny, Milan Hejduk had some good zone time and Stastny scored on a bad angle shot. Unfortunately, Winnik got hit a little later on by a John Micheal Liles shot and crawled back to the bench. It looked like Kevin Porter took his place on the second line. The Avs were pretty good most of the period, mostly because the Wild couldn't seem to get it going. Then Ryan Wilson struck again. Not only did he turn it over at the blue line to Antti Miettinen, he then left his man, Miettinen, to try and double team Cal Clutterbuck for some reason, who shot it at Miettinen for an easy tip. Jesus F'ing Christ. The Avs got a power play near the end but couldn't capitalize on it even thought Liles got a pretty good chance. The Wild got a power play at the end of the period. Mike Haynes commented that the the Avs had killed off seven straight penalties (my god!) so of course Matt Cullen scored about three seconds in, blasting it from the point past a screened Peter Budaj. I started to remember why I hated watching Wild games last year. Luckily, it didn't last. Shots at the end of the first, 13 to 11 in favor of the Wild.
The Avs scored early in the period again. Stastny ended up on the ice with Greg Mauldin and Brandon Yip and the three went in on a 3 on 2. Stastny made a perfect pass to Mauldin who slid it five-hole on Niklas Backstrom. A really nice looking play. The Avs continued pressing when they got power play a bit later but couldn't score though they looked pretty good. They got another power play after Liles got hit away from the play on a 2 on 1 and did manage to score on this one. Chris Stewart made a very nice pass from behind the net to Hejduk for a snap shot. That broke open the flood gates. Mauldin scored very soon afterward throwing it in after Wilson shot off the end boards. Kevin Shattenkirk scored from the top of circle with David Jones screening. At this point, the Avs had more goals than the Wild had shots on net in the second.The Avs understandably slowed down a little bit after that and the Wild actually put a shot or two on net. Kyle Brodziak sent a weak wrister on net that squeaked by Budaj. Ugh. Perhaps the softest goal allowed by him this season. Ryan O'Byrne laid a heavy hit on which started the Minnesota bench chirping apparently. Stewart didn't take kindly to that and beat the snot out of Brodziak on his next shift. I love watching Stewart fight even though I never want him to. The Wild seemed to get the boost from it though and played very well to close out the period. Budaj had to make a very good save to keep the Wild from drawing within one. Shots on net at the end of two, 31 to 20 in favor of the Avalanche.
I only half-watched the first half of the third period (sorry, attractive girl who knew hockey was talking to me). Avs looked good from what I saw though. Jones continued putting up goals (stay healthy you bastard!) and scored in front of the net off a nice pass from Mauldin. Then Duchene and Mauldin rushed up the ice. Mauldin put a shot on net and Duchene cleaned up the rebound. That was enough for Backstrom (more than enough really) and our old friend Jose Theodore came in relief. Brodziak scored his second of the game, an easy one that came from a very nice move and pass by Martin Havlat. Shots at the end of the game were 40 to 32 in favor of the Avs.
- Shattenkirk continued to be freaking awesome with three points, putting him
secondthird in points for a rookie defenseman. In about half the games.
- Mauldin had four points tonight and he earned every one. I love his game. He should certainly be a permanent figure in the Avs bottom six.
- Wilson continues to disappoint. He had two assists tonight but is still a mess in his own zone.
- Not a good game by either goalie. Budaj ended the game with an .875 save percentage and Backstrom with .816. Theodore had a two save shutout though.
- Chris Stewart broke his hand which sucks so hard I can't even express it. This is why he should not be fighting. God damn it.
- Jones, Duchene, Stewart
- Winnik, Stastny,Hejduk
- McLeod, O'Reilly, Mauldin
- Porter, Dupuis,Yip
- Hannan, Quincey
- Liles, O'Byrne
- Shattenkirk, Wilson
Next up the Avs face off against the Atlanta
Blackhawks Thrashers on Tuesday.