That's gonna leave a mark.
The Colorado Avalanche played a fairly good game tonight, the first 61 seconds notwithstanding. Those 61 seconds were vital, though, as the Wild scored not one but two ridiculously ugly goals right off the bat. First, Nick Schultz put on a cloak of invisibility to sneak into the Avalanche zone unmolested, freeing him up to feed the puck to Kyle Brodzniak who easily beat the Avalanche goalie, Wideopen Net. Less than 30 seconds later, Andrew Brunette just flat out schooled Craig Anderson when he...no, not quite ready to talk about this one yet.
Just like that, the Avs were down 2-0, and they never managed to overcome it. That's not to say they played poorly tonight, as they actually played some pretty good hockey over the final 58 minutes and 59 seconds, including Craig Anderson who made some amazing saves later in the first two keep the Avs above water before they could get their sea legs. But, those two goals were just too much to overcome.
Three times the Avalanche cut the lead to a goal - Milan Hejduk scored two and Chris Stewart added one with just 10 seconds left. But after both Hejduk goals, the Wild got the two-goal lead back, first with a second goal by Andrew Brunette and later with an ugly goal by Pierre-Marc Bouchard.
That Bouchard goal, which started with a lazy dump in by the Wild, was the killer on the night. At that point, the game was 3-2. The Avalanche were absolutely dominating the 3rd period (19 shots to 3) and only two posts and some fairly fortuitous saves by Jose Theodore were keeping the Avs from tying it. And then, with under nine minutes to go, Koivu dumps it on on the way to the bench and Bouchard hustles after the puck. Anderson plays it, but not to any of the 37 Avalanche players nearby. Instead, he dumps it off the boards, right to Martin Havlat who feeds Bouchard in front who proceeds to undress Anderson for the goal (really, not much that he could have done to stop it, other than handle the puck better to begin with). That was a deflating goal, to say the least. Instead of a potentially pivotal come-from-behind-win, the Avs were looking at a loss. Of course, Stewart would eventually give the Avs goal #3, but it was too little too late.
Tough, tough game. After a terrible start, the Avalanche played well enough to win. Too bad the NHL hasn't implemented "Tried-Real-Hard-For-A-Lot-Of-The-Game" points. Yet.
- Stoa, Duchene, Hejduk
- Galiardi, Stastny, Stewart
- Winnik, Dupuis, Yip
- McLoed, Porter
- Liles, O'Byrne
- Cumiskey, Foote
- Wilson, Shattenkirk
- Chris Stewart led the Avs with 7 shots. Paul Stastny was right behind with 6.
- Brandon Yip had a fight, an assist and some all-around good play offensively. Defensively, though, it's not as pretty.
- The Avalanche were facing the wrong former goalie tonight. In Boston, Andrew Raycroft gave up 2 goals on 2 shots both in the first two minutes. There were also three fights in those first two minutes. Definitely worth checking out the highlights.
Ducks on Saturday. Don't be late, or you might miss some of the action!