Well, the epic 8-game homestand is complete. It started with a 3-0 win over the Stars and ends with a 4-2 defeat of the arch rivals Red Wings. The Avalanche go 5-3 on the homestand and save Sacco's job. On to tonight's entertaining game...
The Avs earned an early powerplay with hard work by Duchene behind the Wings net, but Detroit would get the best chance during the Avs PP when Elliot's second turnover on the man advantage sprung Detroit on a breakaway (pic above). Varlamov made the save to bail out his comrades.
Detroit's powerplay went a little different. Datsyuk had his shot blocked by Eric Johnson, but the puck bounced right back to Datsyuk who threw a backhander toward the net. The puck bounded off Hejda's skate and right out to the waiting Franzen on the opposite side of the ice. No chance for Varlamov. I hate "The Mule". He's a big dumb animal ladies and gentleman. But as Mike Haynes sadistically pointed out, Franzen loves playing the Avs and averages a ppg against Colorado. 1-0 Detroit. Shots after one period, 11-7 Red Wings, and it looked like Detroit was started on their way to a typically boring puck-possessed win.
But the second period was all Avalanche. It took the Avs only 26 seconds into the 2nd frame to tie it up. Landeskog poked the puck away from Ian White behind Detroit's net on a routine forecheck and got the puck out in front to O'Reilly who roofed it past Conklin. Great play from Landeskog and fantastic finish by the Avs new offensive dynamo Ryan O'Reilly. Seconds after the tying goal, David Jones was the recipient of a boarding penalty by Ericsson and Paul Stastny converted the powerplay goal to make it 2-1 Avs just 2 and a half minutes into the 2nd. Duchene threw the puck on net from the corner and Jones almost tipped it in, but Conklin slid out to stop the bid. The puck lay in the crease for a millisecond before Stastny punched it home. Must be his great vision courtesy the 20/20 institute.
The Avs continued to ratchet up the momentum after that with Landeskog nearly scoring shorthanded and O'Brien ripping one off the post, but Colorado's inability to stay out of the box allowed Detroit to steal back some momentum before the Avs could do more damage. 2nd ends 2-1 Avs, with the home team dominating the period, and the shot total by a 26-15 count (19 shots in the 2nd for the good guys, 4 for the baddies).
The Avs started the 3rd with a tremendous penalty kill, but the Red Wings would score about 5 minutes in when Zetterberg's innocent backhander was tipped in off a great stick from Cleary parked right in front. Isn't someone supposed to be knocking him on his ass or at least not letting him set up camp in the blue paint? Bueller? Game tied 2-2. This goal charged the Red Wings and they earned another powerplay, their 7th of the game. But as he'd done all game, Landeskog worked hard, helped create a turnover, and then set up Galiardi for a beautiful one-timer off a 2-on-1 short handed rush, Avs up 3-2. All three Avs goals were the result of hard work and good team play.
The Avs put the foot on the gas and applied serious pressure to hold on to the 1 goal lead and secure the win. They didn't sit back at all and actually had the better chances the rest of the way, culminating with an O'Reilly empty netter and his second goal of the night. The Avs played a solid 60 minutes and look much more mature and confident than they did at the start of this 8 game homestand. Varlamov has played fantastic, the defense has really tightened up, and O'Reilly has stepped into the spot light to carry the offense. Great game, and even sweeter that is was all to the demise of [redacted] and the Red Wings, presented by Amway©.
MHH Avalanche 3 Stars of the Night
Gabriel Landeskog, 2 assists, 6 shots, 5 hits, +2, 2 takeaways
- Ryan O'Reilly, 2 goals, 2 shots, 2 hits, +2, 2 takeaways
- TJ Galiardi, 1 Goal (GW), 2 shots, 2 takeaways
- Duchene - Stastny - Jones
- Landeskog - O'Reilly - Hejduk
- Galiardi - McClement - Winnik
- Yip - Porter
- Wilson - Elliot
- Hejda - O'Byrne
- Quincey - O'Brien
- Scratches: McLeod, Kobasew
- Eric Johnson returned to action tonight after sitting out 5 games with a groin injury. The Avalanche rolled with 7 defensemen as opposed to shipping Elliot back to Lake Erie. The logjam has returned. Could a trade be in the near future? Fun stat fact: The Avs went 3-2 without the former 1st overall pick and outscored the opposition 15-11. Worthless fact: I'm not a fan of a 7 defensemen line up. It ain't natural.
- Tonight's pregame facts didn't bode well for the Avalanche. Detroit came into the game riding a 7-game winning streak and playing their back up Ty Conklin in net. That's a bad recipe for our boys in burgundy & blue as they tend to make back up goalies look like Dominik Hasek in Martin Brodeur's pads.
- Porter took a puck to the face in the 2nd period, but in true hockey fashion was able to get stitched up return for the start of the third period.
- Elliot had three awful turnovers and didn't see a ton of ice time after that - if any. He only played 8:57 total.
- Stastny left the game in the third with a torso injury. The Avs dropped down to 10 forwards for the third time in the game, making for some odd patchwork line combinations. Not sure how severe SOS' injury is.
NHL.com Recap & Highlights
On the road again. Avs head off to Vancouver to take on the surging Canucks, Tuesday, Dec 6th, 8pm Mountain, to kick off a 3-game road trip through western Canada. Nice opportunity to make up some ground on their Northwest Division opponents.