Both teams came out skating fairly well, with the Avs carrying much of the play and earning an early powerplay. Holos, who had all of 5 seconds of PP time last game, patiently fired a slap shot on goal which Yip deflected first off his stick and then off his skate. Yip has a good nose for the puck in and around the net. That's nothing we don't know, but I like what he brings to the revamped 2nd line.
Off the ensuing face off, Cody McLeod and Steve Staois dropped their mitts and got reacquainted. McLeod really timed his attack and got in a few good licks when it seemed like the fight was winding down. Cody Mac for the Win.
In an enjoyable change from last season, the Avs outshot the Flames in the period, 8-7. In fact, Calgary didn't notch their first shot on goal until a powerplay 10 minutes into the games. For you Mathletes out there, that's 1/6 of the game without a shot.
The second period started with a quick powerplay goal by the Flames. The shot from the blueline was actually tipped by Colby Cohen (the new Quincey!) and found it's way through a 5 person screen and past Boods. The goal was scored with one pathetic second left on the penalty kill, which means Budaj has still not allowed an even strength goal during this homestand - as Peter McNabb couldn't stop "celebrating". You know, I'm optimistic too, but at some point you have to stop saying how great the goalie is because he only allows goals shorthanded, and you need to call out the PK. Just saying.
Around the midpoint of the period, we got some action-packed 4-on-4 hockey which resulted in a sweet Stewart/Stastny give and go. Stewie didn't convert, but he did draw a penalty, giving us a rare 4-on3 Avalanche powerplay. During the man--advantage, Hejduk (like a thief in the night) knocked down a Calgary clearing attempt and walked in all alone unleashing a big slapper, but Kiprusoff saw it all the way.
The Avs lost both Van Der Gulik (knee) and Galiardi (wrist) in the second period. Injuries are piling up, but hey, at least no concussions!
The third period started with another 4-on-3 Avs powerplay (I guess they're not that rare) where just about every single player on the ice made a nice play; Cohen kept the puck in with his grill; nice patient move by Duchene around the net; nice pass by Stastny; shot by Hejduk, and finish by Stewart for his 100th point. Pretty. PPG goal. Avs up 2-1.
But the Flames answered back with 10:57 left when Tangauy's hustle play of chasing down the puck in the Avs zone set up a flurry of action resulting in Backlund's third goal of the season. Tie game. And Budaj finally surrenders a 5-on-5 tally. This quick turn of events really gave the Flames some life as they did not want to drop their 5th straight, and the overall intensity ratcheted up to 11. But the Avs didn't match Calgary's desperation and with just over 4 minutes to go David Moss poked the puck in past Budaj during a scramble in front. Is it just me, or did Budaj seem a little shaky once the Flames tied it up at 2?
The Avs pulled Budaj with a minute and a half to go, Liles made a diving save on an empty net chance, but it was all for naught as Glencross snagged the eventual empty netter to seal the Avs' fate. I can't help but feel Avs let this one slip away. They played a solid 49 minutes, but they just didn't bring it when they really needed to during the final minutes.
Galiardi - Stastny - Stewart
Yip - Duchene - Hejduk
Mcleod - O'Reilly - Winnink
Porter - Dupuis - Van Der Gulik
Liles - Cohen
Shattenkirk - Hannan
Liffiton - Holos
- The Avs started 4 rookie defensemen in the game: Holos, Shattenkirk, Liffiton and Cohen
- I thought Hejduk skated like a young Hejduk tonight. He seems to have completely shaken off the early season rust.
- The Avalanche seem to really have upped their net presence this season from last. Guys are buzzing all around the opposition's crease. Who needs Ryan Smyth.
- Shattenkirk's poise and confidence seemed to double from his first game. Same with Cohen. Really nice passes and physicality from CC. And Colby even got into a little scrum with Iginla late in the second.
- Who knew Porter could hit?
The Avs hit the road to take on the BJ's Friday at 5 MST.