BOSTON, MA - OCTOBER 10: Semyon Varlamov #1 of the Colorado Avalanche stops a shot by Brad Marchand #63 of the Boston Bruins on October 10, 2011 at TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
For a while, it looked like this was going to be a carbon copy of the opening night game. The Avalanche came out fired up against a good team, but couldn't get anything past their backup goalie. As the game wore on, defensive breakdowns started to creep in and the other team started gaining momentum. This time, though, the end result was different. Semyon Varlamov kept the Bruins off the scoreboard and recorded his first shutout with the Avs (5th career) and the Avalanche got (just) enough scoring to win the game.
The Bruins did not look sharp out of the gates, while the Avalanche looked strong. Ryan O'Byrne set the early tone by laying a big hit on Zdeno Chara. Chara retaliated, setting the Avs up with an early powerplay that would end up becoming a 5-on-3 after a delay of game penalty. Thanks to a couple of posts, the Avalanche couldn't convert, but did look good with the advantage and kept up the early momentum. Yet again, they couldn't solve the backup. That's not so much a knock on the Avs, though, as Tuukka Rask had a phenomenal game, turning aside 35 of the 36 shots he faced.
In the end, though, Semyon Varlamov was the difference. He turned aside all 30 shots he faced, including an amazing stick save with just under 6 minutes to play that preserved the 1-0 lead. He's been one of the three stars in both games so far and has been absolutely as good as advertised.
Offensively, the Avalanche continue to generate a lot of shots (including 9 from the defense today), but have struggled to get good scoring changes. After being held scoreless on opening night, the Avalanche went 52 minutes today before finally getting off the schnide. The Avs lone goal today was a study in irony. Colorado wasn't great at faceoffs all day (39%). At that 12 minute mark, the Avs had an offensive zone draw and Matt Duchene squared off against David Krejci (8 of 12 on the night). Duchene was tossed, leaving it up to Peter Mueller. Now, Mueller in this game was DREADFUL. He spent so much time on the ice watching the action that they should have charged him admission. And when he did have the puck, he got rid of it at the first sign of a Bruin defender in the area. And no, you can't call that Wolskiing; it was worse. But, since we did set this up with the irony factor, Mueller actually won the draw and held up Krejci, allowing Duchene to kick it back to Hejda who found Hejduk to put home his 10th goal against the Bruins in 16 career games. That was all the Avs needed, thanks to Varlamov.
To continue the carbon copy line in the first paragraph, I thought it was interesting that a lot of the Avs who had good games on Saturday seemed to continue the trend. Jan Hejda again looked solid on the blueline and Kyle Quincey and Shane O'Brien have been surprisingly solid at both ends of the ice. And, once again, the Avs' best skater was probably rookie Gabriel Landeskog. Landy had his motor running all game long; he hit, he backchecked, he forechecked, he protected the puck and tied for the team lead in shots for the 2nd game in a row. If Mueller and Landeskog continue to play like they both did today, it has to be only a matter of time before they swap places.
Sacco went with the exact same lines as he did on Saturday, and again was consistent with them throughout the game. Interestingly, the O'Reilly line was the one he sent out at the start of all three periods, as was the Quincey and O'Brien pairing
- Mueller - Duchene - Hejduk
- Jones - Stastny - Kobasew
- Landeskog - O'Reilly - Winnik
- McLeod - McClement - Galiardi
- Hejda - Johnson
- Quincey - O'Brien
- Wilson - O'Byrne
All About the A
Sacco continues to go with 3 alternate captains. As they did on Saturday, Milan Hejduk and Paul Stastny wore the Hester Prynne monogram today. Instead of Erik Johnson, Cody McLeod was the 3rd alternate
- Cody McLeod recorded a whopping 9 hits
- After a poor outing in the blocked shot department on Saturday, the Avs rebounded 18 shots tonight
- 16 of the 18 skaters recorded a shot on net in the game. After two games, Ryan O'Byrne is the only Av without a SOG.
- Ryan O'Reilly and Jay McClement had no ice time on the PK today
- The Bruins announcers were talking about Hejduk as being a potential deadline mover, since the Avalanche should be well out of the playoffs by then. Thanks for the jinx help, idiots. Oh, and it's OCTOBER, dummies.
The Avs are in Columbus on hump day and Ottawa on Thursday (which I'm guessing will be the first start of the year for J.S. Giguere)