ANAHEIM, CA - FEBRUARY 27: DUCK PILE!!!!! The Ducks defeated the Avalanche 3-2. (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)
The Avalanche looked like they had some jump early in this game as the first period was pretty evenly matched and they managed to dictate the play. Heck, they were the winners on the scoreboard in almost all the stat categories. David Koci and former Av George Parros tangled in the early moments of the period. Cody McLeod and Sheldon Brookbank dropped the mitts after a whistle a scant 20 seconds later. The Avs appeared to be irratable and it permeated the line-up in a good way. Cameron Gaunce even went after Luca Spisa after he got a little high with his hit on Milan Hejduk.
Colorado won faceoffs, didn't take penalties, led in shots and scoring opportunities, didn't take stupid penalties, Peter Budaj made on great save in the middle part of the period to keep them in it, avoided back-breaking momentum-killing penalties, matched the Ducks' physical play, and showcased their own strengths of speed and skill. Kevin Porter and Matt Duchene outhustled the Ducks on a dump-in/possible icing and get a quick centering pass and tap-in past Dan Ellis with just over 8 minutes left in the period. That was Porter's 11th of the season and Duchene's 28th assist. Jonas Holos got his 4th assist on the play as well. That was the highlight of a great all-around period by the Avalanche as the top two lines seemed to be firing on all cylinders.
The second would start in a much different way. Less than two minutes into the period, a bad turnover by Erik Johnson ends up on Ryan Getzlaf's stick in the low slot and he buried it to tie the game. Then the Avs decided to start taking penalties. Two back-to-back PK's sucked all offensive life out of the team and another PK a few minutes later had the feel of nail-in-coffin for the period after a Cameron Guance love-tap in the corner. This contributed to the 2nd period being the antithesis of the 1st. No flow, no shots, no speed, blech. Then the Ducks rolled out their secret weapon as Todd Marchant knuckled a quick centering pass from Getzlaf over a sliding Budaj's pad as Johnson and John-Michael Liles were unable to handle the two slowly-rushing Ducks players. It was Marchant's first of the year (of course).
The third period got off to a much better start as David Jones took a beauty of a drop pass from a rushing Matt Hunwick and FIRES A LAZER!!! to the top shelf. Seriously, it's like the corner of the net owed him money or something. Beautiful shot and Dr. Jones continues his one man crusade to erase Chris Stewart from the fanbases' memory with his 23rd of the season. Paul Stastny picked up his 50th point on the play as well. The games is all tied up and the fans rejoice, right? If anybody was watching, I'm sure they were psyched, but then they were lulled to sleep by some pretty "tight checking" play by both teams.
That all changed when Brandon Yip decided to make some memories of his own for the fans when he takes a horrible, dispicable high-sticking double minor while getting beat on the forecheck. The Ducks only need 3 of the 4 minutes to score the eventual game-winner as Brandon McMillan gets his 9th off of a rebound that Budaj lost sight just outside of the crease. Budaj was absolutely gassed at the end of that sequence as it appeared that the Ducks had possession for about 6 hours, 27 minutes, and 12 seconds straight. Maybe it's the time-zone difference or something.
Colorado repeats the pulled goalie refrain they seem to have perfect of late, but to no avail. Hejduk gets a shot off with a handful of seconds left that defies description (but I'm gonna try anyway). The shot proved to be a problem for Ellis as it beat him over his shoulder from a physically impossible bad angle and, I'm not kidding here, basically traveled the entire 6 foot width of the goal directly above the goalline. It rung off the far corner and out. The Altiboobs finally said something I agree with tonight with their observation that that shot was a microcosm of the season. Just substitute "the hopes and dreams of the players and fans" for the puck and your favorite of injuries/coaching/youth for the top corner.
- Porter, Duchene, Hejduk
- Stoa, Stastny, Jones
- Winnik, McClement, Yip
Dupuis, O'Reilly, Koci
Note: Altitude had Dupuis in the line-up, but it appears David Koci got his spot instead.
NOTE: Altitude had Holos listed with Guance and Liles to start the game for some reason. Yeah, listed twice. Can Altitude not afford basic spell-check level of on-air editorial services? Or do we have two Holos and nobody told me? How do you pluralize Holos? Holoses? Holi?
- Brian Elliott was interviewed between the 2nd and 3rd periods. Not a good idea. Goalies always look weird when they are geared up, but not wearing the mask. Tiny head syndrome. He also has one of the most monotone voices and said almost nothing that wasn't straight out of Modern Goaltending: Chapter 7: Speaking Without Saying Anything.
- I like the 20/20 Institute Blurb coming out of commercial break: "Save $750 on Lasik!...(beat)...And meet Paul Stastny. McNabb sounds sooooooooooo enthusiastic.
- No Koci sightings after the fight.
- I'm surprised it takes the Altiboobs 20+ seconds before they break out the 0-for-3 on the PP stat for the Ducks to ensure the jinx. Plus they didn't mention Anaheim's PP woes of late until after the first penalty was expired. That shows a ton of restraint on their part.
- This was Peter Budaj's first chance to earn victory #100 as a member of the Colorado Avalanche. Too bad 29 saves wasn't enough.
- This loss moves the recent record to 13 losses of the last 14 games. Who knew that we would discover such consistency on such a young team?
- Also, tomorrow is some deadline of some kind of another or whatnot.
Avs finish up the Left Coast road trip as they get shelled in San Jose on Tuesday night.