This the first period of this game was an absolutely miserable period of hockey, both by the Avalanche and in general. I can't stand when a period is racked by penalties like this one was. Every borderline infraction was called (most by the same ref if I'm not mistaken) and most of the period was played by special teams. That turns the funnest sport in the world to watch into an exercise in tedium. Partially because they were on the PK half the period, the Avs could not get anything going. They had a whole one shot on net...but it did go in. During an early 4 on 4, Ryan Stoa scored his second of the season on a snap shot that squeezed its way through Ilya Bryzgalov. That was about all Avs fans had to cheer about for the rest of the period. Scottie Upshall scored a couple minutes later on a nice shot that beat Peter Budaj clean, top shelf, glove side. Kieth Yandle scored the next goal on another 4 on 4. John-Michael Liles pinched letting Phoenix get out on a 2 on 1. Liles himself rushed back to negate that but a hustling Yandle turned it back into an oddman rush. Yandle had all sorts of time to pick his spot and blasted it in off the far post. Budaj was pulled after this, presumably to shake things up. Phoenix dominated the rest of the period anyway.
And...you know what? Fuck this game. I did the write up for the first during the first intermission but by the second intermission I done with this game. So I'm going to go fast. Eric Belanger scored because Adam Foote is old. The Avs played much better despite spending six of the first ten minutes on the PK, putting up a total of 19 shots. Bryzgalov was great and helped by the refs allowing Phoenix to knock the net off its moorings on purpose twice. Start of the third. Avs try really hard to score but can't. Kyle Turris scored on an odd man rush after Andy got snow sprayed in the face by Upshall. Andy was pissed but the refs didn't call anything. Matt Duchene scores on a nice play, using his speed to beat the defender and getting the shot off faster than Bryz expected. He went to fist pump but aborted it. Sad way for him to get his twentieth goal of the season and hundredth NHL point. Sacco pulls Andy with two minutes left to go. Belanger scores the empty net goal.
I hope the Avs come out after the All Star break with a chip on their shoulder as the hockey pundits are so fond of saying because this season seems to be teetering on the brink of disaster.
- Jones fell and hurt himself. Hopefully it's not bad news.
- Bryzgalov's save percentage at the end of the first was .000. McNab said that it was a record.
I think these were the lines Sacco planned on. They got messed up with all the special teams.
- Jones, Duchene, Hejduk
- Stoa, Stastny, Yip
- McLeod, Dupuis, Stewart
- Winnik, Galiardi, Koci
- Liles, O'Byrne
- Shattenkirk, Wilson
- Cumiskey, Foote