The game officially got started about 3 minutes in when Barch delivered a viscous hit on Stefan Elliot against the boards. Cody McCleod immediately jumped in to defend his young rookie teammate, earning the instigator penalty for a total of 17 penalty minutes, but this was a good response by McCleod. The hit wasn't awful, but it was a borderline head shot and McLeod was right to defend his teammate. In the fight, Barch came out swinging for the fences, but missed. Cody Mac got the best of it from there and claimed victory.
On the ensuing Dallas powerplay, Galiardi sprung Winnink into the offensive zone shorthanded and Winnik drew a slash from Souray on his way to a good scoring chance against Andrew Raycroft. We've been seeing this play from Winnik often on the penalty kill and I like it. Sometimes he goes in with a little too much zest and runs the goalie, but I'll take that as opposed to an apathetic submissive PK any day. Winnik drew another penalty as he charged into the offensive zone about half way through the period, but the Avs could not convert. Jamie Benn flashed some serious speed on the Dallas PK and beat two Avalanche defenders to the puck to come in alone on Valramov, but #1 made a huge save to keep it 0-0. Unfortunately that score didn't last much longer as the Stars executed a nice 2-on-2 and and made Wilson and Elliot pay. Nystrom scores his 8th of the year off a rebound, 1-0 Dallas.
The Avalanche came out with purpose in the 2nd period and earned an early powerplay, but never got anything going and even killed their own powerplay as they took a penalty in the offensive zone to end the man advantage and send Dallas on their 3rd powerplay of the game. Dallas decided to slow things down and take away the Avs' speed, but the Avs eventually found their legs again about 12 minutes in as O'Reilly nearly beat Raycroft, but the former
stoner Avs netminder threw out the left pad to deny the bid. The home team kept up the pressure in the final minutes of the period, but Raycroft was unbeatable and received ample support from his teammates. Second period ends still 1-0, with the Avalanche out-shooting the Stars 27-20.
Could Colorado carve out another 3rd period comeback? Sadly, no. Michael Ryder scored after O'Brien for some reason left his post and decided to try to stick handle into the offensive zone. The puck gets turned over, Ryder flies off on a breakaway, and the Avs go down by 2. Minutes later, Kevin Porter jumped on a juicy rebound in front of Raycroft and threw it into the top of the net, but it was too little, too late. The Avs pulled Varlamov in the last minute, and Ryder out hustled the Avs to the puck to deposit his second goal of the night, this one into the empty net.
The Avalanche need some goals from their forwards. Please. Pretty please. SCORE. SOME. GOALS.
MHH Avalanche 3 Stars of the Night
- Duchene - Stastny - Hejduk
- Landeskog - O'Reilly - Winnik
- Porter - McClement - Kobasew
- McLeod - Galiardi - Jones
- Wilson - Elliot
- Hejda - O'Byrne
- Quincey - O'Brien
Healthy Scratches: Lindstrom
Injured: Eric Johnson (groin), Peter Mueller (brain)
- Raycroft was superb in this game. 34 saves. He was the difference - well, Raycroft and the Avs inept offense.
- Lots of physical play in this game by the Avs, in particular: Wilson and Galiardi (even Duchene had a couple nice take downs).
- Great hustle, hard work, and jump from Daniel Winnik in this game. Red Bull gives you wings. Cocaine gives you rainbow colored rocket thrusters. Daniel Winnik gives you ludicrous speed.
NHL.com Recap & Highlights
Avs host the Devils Wednesday night at 7:30pm Mountain. Fun Fact: Milan Hejduk is the only Avalanche player still with Colorado from the 2001 finals. The Devils still employ Martin Brodeur, Petr Sykora, and Patrik Elias from their finals roster.