DENVER, CO - NOVEMBER 02: Goalie Mike Smith #41 of the Phoenix Coyotes makes a save as T.J. Galiardi #39 of the Colorado Avalanche showers him with ice as he slides to a stop at the Pepsi Center on November 2, 2011 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
Phoenix, the Minnesota of the Pacific.
Boring. Boring. Boring. Weird Bounce. Goal. Avs lose. Kittens die.
First period: About six minutes into the game, Eric Johnson came close to scoring his first goal of the season when he rang a deceptive shot off the post, but it would be Phoenix who would tally fist when Derek Morris dumped the puck into the Avs zone and subsequently a little chaos in front of the net turned into a Pyatt goal - former Avalanche defensman Morris with the secondary assist.
With just over 7 minutes to play the Avs had a few consecutive dominant shifts complete with line changes while holding the puck in the offensive zone, with the best chance coming off Paul Stastny at point blank range, but the behemoth Mike Smith made the stop. Phoenix answered right back with a flurry of their own, but Varly was aggressive and fought off them dirty desert dogs. All in all it was a pretty balanced first period with both teams getting chances and splitting swings of momentum. The new-ish line of Dutchy Lindy Jones started to show some chemistry towards the end of the period. Good omen or just a tease?
Second period: 3:48 into the second, the newly promoted T.J. Galiardi took an elbow in front courtesy of Daymond Langkow resulting in the Avs 2nd powerplay of the night, but the home team could not convert. (note: I know the Avs have the #1 PP, but Kobasew on the first unit this go round? WTF?). Hejda almost put the puck past Smith on a nice feed from McClememt on a rush up ice, but got more of the post than the puck.
8:18 into the second, Quincey got called for a
love tap slash giving Phoenix their first powerplay. Landeskog made a NICE steal on the PK but couldn't convert. Moments later, Shane Doan tripped Daniel Winnik during a short handed chance, ending the Phoenix powerplay and creating some 4 on 4 hockey. If Doan hadn't tripped Winnik, it would have been a nice 2 on 1 down low for the Avs. Neither team could muster much offense during the 4 on 4, and the Avs continued that ineptitude during their shortened powerplay chance. The Avs had an amazing, L O N G, shift with the patchwork line of Lindstrom-Stastny-Hejduk late in the second with multiple chances but couldn't get that one break to beat Smith and then of course Phoenix gets that break and scores short side after a lucky bounce found Vrbata for his 11th goal in 22 games against his former club. These are opportunistic Coyotes. But less than a minute later, as they've done all season long, O'Reilly's line worked hard and was rewarded when Winnik took the puck strong to the net. His momentum sent the puck through the crease where O'Reilly pounced on it and made it 2-1 Phoenix.
Third Period: Well the third started with a whimper. Korpikowski out hustled and out muscled Quincey to a rebound off a dump in and beats Varlamov up high to make it 3-1 - and we're not even 30 seconds into the period. The score is frustrating considering the Avs were out-chancing the Yotes 12-6 at the time. After that disglorious start, it seemed Sacco shuffled all the lines and D-pairings to try to jump start his squad, but to no avail. Phoenix played their game, was patient, and played their total team game. Who cares. They're boring. Vrbata added an empty netter. Bored.
The Avs really need to start scoring goals at home.
MHH Avalanche 3 Stars of the Night
Unsolicited analysis: These lines make sense to me, but they're not making sense on the score sheet.
- Galiardi Stastny Hejduk
- Landeskog O'Reilly Winnik
- Lindstrom Duchene Jones
- McLeod McClement Kobasew
- Johnson Hejda
- Quincey O'Brien
- O'Bryne Wilson
- O'Reilly bros did not get to battle tonight because Cal is still recovering from injury
- Avs came into the game #1 in the NHL in powerplay conversion (29.4%) and faceoffs (54.7%). So much for stats holding true - again.
- Mike Smith is like a crappy NHL 95 goalie. He just covers the puck all the time and kills the play any chance he gets. Snooze.
NHL.com Recap & Highlights
Avalanche at Stars, Fri November 4th, 6:30 Mountain. Steve Ott is a mild douche at best.