Yikes. The Avs were beyond rusty in this game. I think this might have been the worst I've seen the Avs all year. The only reason the score wasn't worse was the fact that the Canucks showed no urgency in the last two periods and Peter Budaj was very good.
The first period started poorly. The Canucks immediately started to control the play and as is becoming all too familiar, Kyle Quincey got beat in his own zone by the ever tenacious Ryan Kesler. That created two great scoring chances for the Canucks and Budaj made two good saves. Quincey, however, took a dumb retaliatory interference penalty against Mikael Samuelsson who had knocked him into his own net a bit earlier while he was scrambling back into position after tangling with Kesler. Poor call by the ref in my opinion but a dumb move by Quincey as well. And, of course, Kesler scored on the ensuing power play. He was left alone while the Avs penalty killers watched the play unfold on the other end of the ice. T.J. Galiardi might be the most culpable on that one. Kesler fired a good shot that beat Budaj glove side. The very next shift, Cody McLeod dropped the gloves with Guillaume Desbiens and got beat pretty soundly. The Avs continued to play atrociously, forcing Joe Sacco to call a timeout. After that, the Avs started to play a bit better, especially the 3rd and 4th lines. Still, the Avs were dominated all period by the Canucks. Only Budaj and one very good play by Jonas Holos to wreck a break away chance by Alexandre Burrows kept it 1-0. Shots at the end of the first: 18-8 in favor of the Canucks, and I'm surprised the Avs got that many shots on net.
The second period started awesomely, with Chris Stewart colliding with Alexander Edler, limping off the ice and going to the locker room. Fortunately, he returned just a little while later. The Avs were pretty bad early and the Canucks got another power play when Paul Stastny hooked Tanner Glass to prevent a break away chance. Henrik Sedin scored on the power play, chipping a shot off Budaj's back.. Matt Duchene got a great chance in front of the net but Cory Schneider read him like a book and gloved his backhand shot. Then the scariness with the first line continued when Stastny got hit in the head (I think) by a John-Michael Liles shot. Like Stewart, he returned a short while later. The rest of the period was ho-hum. I found my attention wandering a lot. There were a few good chances for both teams but nothing much happened. I noticed that Sacco was mixing up lines as the period wore on. Brandon Yip took a penalty with less than a minute to go. Shots and the end of two: 29 to 20 in favor of the Canucks.
The Avs started on the PK and somehow managed to kill it off. Mostly because the Canucks weren't pressing. Kevin Shattenkirk apparently wasn't happy with this turn of events and took a delay of game penalty. Raffi Torres scored on a redirection on the power play. After this I lost my last bit of interest in the game, but I kept watching so I could so this recap. The sacrifices I make for this site... Anyway, after some fairly uninspired play by both teams, the Avs forth line finally broke through. David Van Der Gulik scored his first NHL goal, hammering it in from his knees in front of the net. The Avs pulled Budaj with nearly two minutes to go but failed to score. And looked pretty horrible doing it. Shots at the end of the game: 36 to 34 in favor of the Canucks.
- Shattenkirk was okay. He drew penalty and generated a good chance on the ensuing power play. He had a couple of nice defensive plays though his delay of game penalty was annoying. He's not the answer to the Avs defensive woes but I like him better than Kyle Cumiskey...
- Quincey keeps making me unhappy. I don't even know what to say at this point. It's all been been said before. He's inconsistent. Seems to be lost on the play a lot. Disappointing.
- PK was friggin' atrocious obviously. They killed off a whopping 25% of the Canuck's power plays. The pk seems to magnify the Avs sub par defense.
Ryan Wilson did not play. Was he scratched or injured? I missed that one. And if he was scratched...seriously, Sacco? Seriously? [EDIT: Wilson was a late scratch due to a leg injury]
- Duchene is not listening to his own advice and is doing too much out there. Sacco limited his minutes and I have to agree with him on this one.
- Sacco seems to be leaning on Liles quite a bit with Adam Foote out. He played 27 minutes tonight. Maybe he should get a letter until Foote is back? Just a thought.
I missed the line flashes at the beginning. I think it started like this but Sacco also mixed up the lines quite a bit. I'm not sure about the defensive pairings.
- Galiardi, Stastny, Stewart
- Jones, Duchene,Hejduk
- Yip, O'Reilly, Winnik
- McLeod, Dupuis,Van Der Gulik
- Hannan, Quincey
- Liffiton, Holos
The Avalanche take on the Stars on Saturday. Let's hope they can muster a better effort than tonight's.