COLUMBUS OH - FEBRUARY 11: Derick Brassard #16 of the Columbus Blue Jackets is able to flip the puck over Peter Budaj #31 and John-Michael Liles #4 both of the Colorado Avalanche to score during the second period on February 11 2011 at Nationwide Arena in Columbus Ohio. (Photo by John Grieshop/Getty Images)
If you've watched any Avalanche games on Altitude, you've know doubt heard Peter McNab share Joel Quenneville's super-secret philosophy about hockey: teams that don't score on a 5-on-3 powerplay don't win many hockey games. I would humbly like to add the David Driscoll-Carignan super-secret philosophy on hockey: teams that can't take advantage of dominating a large portion of the game don't win many hockey games.
Tonight, of course, marked the season debut of Peter Forsberg. Right off the bat, Forsberg appeared to have his legs, and seemed to get more comfortable (and more physical) as the game went on. The Avs appeared energized by the presence of Forsberg and controlled much of the early play. On the other side of the coin, the Blue Jackets were completely flat and the crowd was a non-factor.
Which would have been completely awesome if the Avalanche had been able to score. But, it's the same old Avalanche. The Avs' big stars were quiet again tonight. Duchene? 1 shot. Stewart? 1 shot. Forsberg? 1 shot. The Avs' lone goal was an unassisted goal scored by Philippe Dupuis, who also led the team in shots and hits. Dupuis has, hands down, been the most consistent player all season long. But, with all due respect, if he is your primary source of offense, there's going to be trouble.
And trouble there was. Although Dupuis' gorgeous steal and breakaway goal gave the Avs their first lead in their last 6 games. End offensive outburst. Early in the 2nd, Columbus' Jared Boll and Derek Dorsett coaxed David Koci and Daniel Winnik into fights and that energized both the Blue Jackets and the crowd. Just 30 seconds after the Dorsett - Winnik fight, Jakub Voracek fed a rink-wide pass to Rick Nash to set up the tying goal. 7 minutes later, Nash stole the puck from John-Michael Liles behind the Avalanche net and he proceeded to zip in front of the net and pass to a wide-open Derek Brassard for the winning goal. From there, the Blue Jackets got better as the game wore on, and the Avalanche saw their play tail off.
After Dupuis, Peter Budaj was probably the Avs' second best player tonight, which was refreshing. And the Avs defense played a relatively solid game as well. Unfortunately, the offense let the team down again tonight, even with the visible spark that Forsberg provided. As the saying goes, the fat lady may not be singing yet, but she's definitely warming up her voice.
- Forsberg, Duchene, Hejduk
- Jones, Statny, Stewart
- Winnik, Porter, Yip
- McLeod, Dupuis, Koci
- Wilson, Shattenkirk
- Liles, O'Byrne
- Hunwick, Holos
- Kudos are in order for Jared Boll who tangled with both Cody McLeod and David Koci tonight in an effort to fire his team up. It worked.
- And Sandie will hate me for this, but jeers to Daniel Winnik for punching Dorsett after Dorsett had fallen to the ice. Bad form there.
- Ryan O'Reilly was a scratch tonight. I didn't hear whether this was a healthy scratch or injury-related.
- The Avs are now averaging 2.98 goals per game - the first time under 3 all year, I think.
Nashville tomorrow. We'll have a preview and game thread tomorrow, but probably no recap.