For the second consecutive game, the Avalanche lost a game in overtime that they probably deserved to win. On Tuesday, the fell to the Atlanta Thrashers. Tonight, they were edged by the Carolina Hurricanes. Getting a loser point on the road is certainly better than nothing...but the Avalanche played well enough to win.
The Avalanche came out strong, dominating much of the play for the first half of the game. The Avalanche peppered Cam Ward with shots, while Craig Anderson didn't have to make his first save until about 9 minutes in. But Ward was in the groove tonight, and the Avs couldn't put anything past him in the first period.
The Avs had a golden opportunity in the 2nd period, when they were given three power plays in a row. But Ward turned all 6 PP shots aside and the three big kills seemed to energize the Hurricanes and the crowd of 16,277. The momentum quickly shifted, and it was Anderson's turn to come up with some big saves. At the end of the 2nd, the score was still 0-0 with the two goalies combining to stop all 40 shots they faced.
Carolina finally broke through early in the 3rd period, when rookie Jeff Skinner kicked his wraparound rebound into the slot where he was free to flick the puck over Anderson's shoulder. It was a great effort by the 18-year old. I joked in my preview that he'd be runner-up to Kevin Shattenkirk in the Calder voting this year, but I do believe there's a good chance we watched two of the three Calder finalists tonight.
As for Shattenkirk, he helped the Avalanche tie the game 8 minutes later (and not long after the Avalanche killed a key 3rd period penalty to Cody McLeod) when he got around a weak neutral zone effort by the Hurricane's Joe Corvo and fed Milan Hejduk a nice pass at the blueline. Hejduk had some room to move, and fired one of his beautiful wristers past Ward to tie the game (Altitude immediately cut to Jay Vean of Avs Hockey Podcast enjoying the game in the stands).
That ended the regulation scoring. 1:16 into the extra frame, Brandon Sutter blew past the normally speedy Matt Hunwick and beat Anderson with a nasty shot top corner stick-side. This game evened out considerably as the night wore on. It's too bad the Avalanche couldn't crack Ward earlier. You can't really fault them for the effort...but that extra point would have really come in handy.
Tomas Fleischmann made his Colorado debut tonight, but wasn't very noticeable (other than in a "who is that wearing Lappy's jersey" way).
- Winnik, Stastny, Hejduk
- Fleischmann, Duchene, Jones
- Porter, O'Reilly, Yip
- McLeod, Dupuis, Mauldin
- Quincey, Shattenkirk
- Liles, O'Byrne
- Hunwick, Foote
- Milan Hejduk is currently on pace to score 91 points.
- Dan Winnik led both teams with 5 shots
- Kevin Shattenkirk is the first rookie defenseman with an 8 game scoring streak since the Rockies Barry Beck in 1977. One of Beck's teammates that year was Tyler Arnason's dad Chuck.
The Avalanche are in action again tomorrow night as they take on the Lightning in Tampa.