Well, the NHL's worst home team continued their mission to score as little as possible at home tonight as the Avalanche fell 2-1 to the Calgary Flames in Denver. The Avalanche got things started quickly in this second of 6 meetings with the Calgary Flames. On the 2nd shift of the game, Stastny won a face off back to Duchene who dropped behind to receive it. The Avs' newest left winger passed right over to O'Brien who was fading along the blueline. Shane let loose a shot that got on net and produced a rebound that went right in front to Stastny who was driving hard toward the goal, and chipped the puck into the net as Kiprusoff scrambled to recover. Whoever says hockey doesn't have set plays, watch that replay. So the Duchene experiment worked again, and Stastny got a point at home. My Kipper voodoo doll worked!
2 minutes after Colorado grabbed the early lead, Jackman decided to invite McLeod to a five fingered dance-a-thon to help ignite his club and McLeod, ever chivalrous, obliged. Not much happened in the fray, but Jackman probably got the better of what little fighting there was.
5:19 into the period, Giordano crossed the blue line and fired one on net that hit Wilson's leg and deflected past Varlamov who was surprised by the redirection from so far out (assist to former Avalanche offensive powerhouse Scott Hannan). Despite the redirect, Varly may have committed too early on that one....
The second period started with Calgary taking the play to the Avs and forcing the home team to scramble in their own end on multiple shifts, convincing Sacco to take his timeout after an intentional offsides call on Stastny. The savvy coaching move didn't help too much as Hejduk took a tripping penalty in the offensive zone, sending the Flames on the first powerplay of the game. And for the second time in the game, the Flames score a goal off of a body as a shot from the point deflected in off the chest of a streaking Glencross. 2-1 Flames.
Moments later, Landeskog beat Kiprusoff, but luckily for the Flames net minder, Smith was perched behind him in the crease and blocked the shot. Someone should tell the NHL that Calgary is playing two goalies. Not cool guys. Not cool. But it was O'Byrne who had the best save of the game as he dove and poked the puck away from Avalanche killer Rene Bourque who would have a mini breakaway if not for the reach of Snatch. Avs went on the powerplay with 3:32 remianing after Duchene got tripped by Tanguay, but the NHL's #1 powerplay couldn't even get a shot on net and went into the third still down a goal.
To open the third period, the Flames got a great chance off a
nother fortunate bounce on what was going to be a sure icing call against Calgary, and two Flames players found themselves with the puck all alone in front of Varlamov, but the Russian netminder would have none of their Tom Foolery and gobbled up the puck to keep it a one goal game. Great save.
At this point, I'm sick of watching the Avs shoot into defensmen's legs or getting their shots tipped out of play. Too much individual play and not enough team play. But then O'Byrne destroyed Hagman against the boards and I forgot all about my frustrations for 30 seconds. Nice hit! Oh, wait, the the inept offense reared its ugly head again and the Avs fail to tie it up. They lose for the 5th time in 6 games. The Avs ended the game on a 6-on-4 powerplay with Varlamov on the bench, but ran out of time. The wheels on the bus go.... (I kid, I kid. But seriously.....stop losing. Thanks).
MHH Avalanche 3 Stars of the Night
- Stastny: 1 G, +1 rating
- O'Byrne: big hits, good solid defensive game
- Varlamov 21 saves, gave the Avs a chance, stopped multiple 2 on 1s in the final minutes, only got beat on unlucky redirections
I think numbering the lines at this point is just a formality. And every line is new or less than 1 game old besides Radar and his hustle buddies.
- Duchene - Stastny - Hejduk
- Landeskog - O'Reilly - Winnik
- McLeod - Galiardi - Kobasew
- Porter - McClement - Jones
- Wilson - Johnson
- Hejda - O'Byrne
- O'Brien - Quincey
Healthy Scratches: Lindstrom, Hunwick
- Both Stastny and Duchene seem energized by playing on a line together. They're flying and constantly on the attack. It's nice to see their skill on display.
- The Avalanche are the only team in the NHL to start the same 6 defensemen in every game so far this season. Yay health!! How them nachos Hunwick?
- Avs are 1st in faceoffs and powerplay, but 24th in PK and 5 on 5. Flames were smart and stayed out of the box.
NHL.com Recap & Highlights
Avs visit the Red Wings Tuesday night at 5:30 Mountain, brought to you by Amway.