Brad Malone night in Edmonton started off pretty well as the line of Daniel Winnik, Jay McClement, and David Jones drew a penalty less than a minute in. Nothing substantial happened (2 shots) and that would prove to be a theme going forward in the game, for Colorado anyway. An odd rebound off of Semyon Varlamov's catch glove led to a Jan Hejda interference call to give Edmonton their first power play chance at just over 5 minutes into the contest. A horrible decision by Shane O'Brien to keep the puck in the corner led to him getting his pocket picked by Sam Gagner. Gagner then drove the net and tried to pass across. Kyle Quincey stopped the pass, but Varlamov had tracked off the post a little with the intended pass and the rebound went right back to Gagner who stuffed it in over the goalie's left leg. 1-0 Edmonton on their third shot. I'm already ready to turn this one off and read some comics at this point. The latest issue of Chew is calling me from the bedroom.
Quincey decided to get in on the December penalty parade about 8 minutes into the period and slashed Shawn Horcoff. This time the efficient Avs penalty managed to kill it off with no shots allowed. Most of the next few minutes are largely in the Avalanche end as the Oilers' youth line controlled most of the possession. Colorado's top line answered around the five minute remaining mark as the Ryan O`Reilly line generates some good chances at the other end. Next up Matt Duchene and Co. do good work followed by a good shift by McClement's line which is then followed by another quality shift by O'Reilly's line. Then the completely predictable happened as Edmonton's third line got the puck deep with just under a minute left in the period and Ben Eager got three whacks at the puck immediately in front of Varlamov's crease as Winnik politely and repeatedly taps him on the back. Quincey tried to stop the puck with telekinesis before Eager slipped it in. Colorado goes to the lockerroom down 2-0 and being out-shot 11-9, though both goalies have made the same number of saves. Peter David's latest is looking better and better.
The second period started with coach Joe Sacco starting the Malone line to send a message to his team. It payed off as Malone's hustle resulted in Anton Lander holding him to force the penalty. A couple of point shots were all that resulted and the Oilers answered with a good shift in the Colorado end. When the boys in Burgundy did manage to break it out (courtesy of Ryan O`Byrne), Winnik pushes it deep and takes a shot wide and the live Rexall boards send a gift to a slot-crashing McClement who buries it past a sliding Nikolai Khabibulin. 2-1 Edmonton.
Some home-run passes by the Colorado D Corp. generated some chances, but Ryan Nugent-Hopkins clowned Elliott and forced Varlamov to test his hemorrhoid meds. Then the Eager line got a golden opportunity on a wrap-around chance, but couldn't bury it before Varlamov covered a bouncing puck for the whistle. Duchene's line immediately took the puck into the offensive zone and drew a penalty. Nothing came of it other than my favorite play of the night as Brandon Yip got tagged for a blatant interference call with a couple of seconds left on the power play. Edmonton got a couple of shots early in the ensuing kill, but the PK stood tall and killed it off. Less than a shift immediately after, however, Quincey takes another penalty as he slashed Ryan Jones at the halfway point of the game. Uuuuuuggggggg. It took less than 40 seconds for Jordan Eberle to bury a one-time to put the Oilers back up by two. Thanks, Kyle.
Some back and forth nothingness was the featured playing style for the next couple of minutes before Winnik got a break-away on a good line-change. He couldn't bury two shots and nor could David Jones on a rebound. That shift seemed to wake up the Oilers as they generated some good pressure forcing O'Brien to try and rearrange an Oiler face with his stick with just over 5 minutes left. Varlamov came up with some quality saves though and the Avalanche killed it off. Duchene got a prime chance immediately after that, but couldn't bank one on the psuedo-breakaway in the slot. The period ended with Gagner de-jock-ifying Elliott for a good chance, Varlamov standing tall, and some new line combos from Sacco. Ohh, and a two-on-one goal with 5-seconds left that the Nuug fed to Sam Gagner to put the Oilers up 4-1 with less than two seconds on the clock. Defenders #1 had more defense in it than the Avs this game...
The third period starts with some sustained play and Varlamov and Khabibulin trade some quality saves. The Avs had the feel of resignation after the first three or four minutes of play. Sacco continued to swap forwards on his lines and the Oilers' top line got some good pressure around 5 minutes into the period. Elliott got a quality chance, but the puck got blocked out of play. A horrible mis-play at his own blueline by Ryan O`Byrne forced several tense moments as the Eager line got an extremely long look at Varlamov and only Varlamov. Around seven minutes in Quincey managed to break up another 2-on-1 breakdown at the blueline.
Not much happened in the next 12 minutes of play, all of which was played with nary a whistle. The fans were bored enough that a rash of 70's-era "Waves" broke out and are sustained for a looooooooong time. It's cold in Edmonton. Varlamov made an excellent save at about the 5 minute mark to keep Eager off the scoresheet again. He slid over to deny him in the low slot after slick pass from Shawn Horcoff on the rush. That marked Edmonton's 34th shot on goal. The third period had the feel of a pick-up game where the teams are slightly lopsided, but only one team is having any fun. This game couldn't end fast enough for any of us; me, the Altitude crew, me, the Edmonton crowd, the Avalanche, me, Varlamov, me, or me. At least the penalties stopped. That or the officiating crew didn't want to shatter the spread. Shots end up 35-29 for the Oilers and I can finally go read about the awesome-looking Bruiser as the Avalanche drop their third straight on the road.
- 1The Charter Plane Pilot
- 2 The Equipment Manager's Assistant
- 3 Mark Rycroft
- 1 Hejduk-O'Reilly-Landeskog
- 2 Yip-Duchene-Galiardi
- 3 Winnik-McClement-Jones
- 4 Malone-McLeod-Kobasew
- 1 Johnson-Elliott
- 2 O'Brien-Quincey
- 3 Hejda-O'Byrne
- 1 Mrs. hates, hates, HATES the half-screen interview during intermissions. Even when it spares us visions of Julie mispronouncing names and confusing the sport with cricket.
- 2 Stephan Elliott was the only blueliner on the power unit at times. The forward to replace Erik Johnson (I presume), Brandon Yip. You just read that sentence.
- 3 Mark Rycroft took the team to the woodshed for their five lazy penalties through two periods. I feel sorry for him that he has to watch this shit.
- 4 The loss moves the Avs to an impressive-for-all-the-wrong-reasons record of 1-9 against their division for this season.
NHL.com Recap & Highlights
The Avs get a nice long break from attempting to play hockey until returning home to play the Tiburons of of San Jose on Thursday. Hopefully some of the injured few will return in time to restore the team to its 12th place standing. This whole town is a p*@!y just waiting to get f&%$#d. (Don't click, I'm angry (NSFW) & even the majesty of Michael Bolton couldn't cheer me up).