NASHVILLE, TN - JANUARY 12: Jean-Sebastian Giguere #35 of the Colorado Avalanche makes a save on Matt Halischuk #24 of the Nashville Predators at the Bridgestone Arena on January 12, 2012 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Frederick Breedon/Getty Images)
No doubt the biggest story heading into this game was the return of Peter Mueller. How effective was he going to be having only played in 18 games in the last 3 years?
The game didn't necessarily start the way the Avs would have liked. Jay McClement was called for hooking, fortunately Colorado was able to kill of the the penalty. Moments later the Avs gave up an odd man rush, and had it not been for a tremendous defensive play by Erik Johnson back checking, the Avs' could've been down a goal. However, hockey is a funny game and things can turn around very quickly.
The Altitude jinx was in full effect tonight, this time however it worked in favor of the Avs. Mike Haynes had literally minutes earlier complemented Pekka Rinne on his ability to play the puck. Rinne made a very ill advised pass, as he tried to send it up the middle of the ice. Ryan O'Reilly was there to intercept the pass and send it into a nearly wide open net to put the Avs on top 1-0.
The Avs kept the momentum train moving in the right direction just over 6 minutes later as Rinne gave up a soft goal to Gabriel Landeskog. Landy walked into slap shot near the left wing face-off dot fired the puck underneath Rinne's pads to give the Avs a 2-0 lead.
Heading into the first intermission of tonight's game was nearly the polar opposite of Tuesday night's game. The Avs outplayed the Preds in nearly every aspect and it showed. The Avs lead in shots on net 15-7 and the scoreboard reflected the team's effort as they took a 2-0 lead into the break.
During the second period the Avs regressed quite a bit from their effort in the first period. In the Avs defensive zone, there were multiple times where the defensive zone coverage was absolutely horrible. The Avs also took a lot of dumb penalties. With just over nine minutes played in the second period, the Avs defense was caught standing still and watching the play. It cost them big this time as a Preds forward walked out from behind the net and get the puck to the slot where David Legwand buried it past Jean Sebastien Giguere to cut the Avs lead to 2-1.
One side effect of being out worked by your opponent is that you are more than likely going to have more penalties called on you. It showed too as at the end of the second period the Avs had 5 penalties called against them, including the only 2 in the second period, to the Preds 3. Thankfully the Avs PK has been a bright spot and had ben able to kill all the penalties to that point in the game.
Heading into the 3rd the Avs were going to need to continue to play their game and continue to try and get scoring chances. The one thing they could not afford to do is sit back and let Nashville come at them and try to maintain the 2-1 lead.
The Avs dodged a HUGE bullet as Giguere was trying to cover a puck next to the net, it snuck between his skate and the post and to the top of the crease. Fortunately Paul Stastny was "Johnny on the spot" and hammered the puck out of the zone.
Unfortunately the Avs continued to play not to lose and it was a major reason Nashville was able to tie the game at 2 nearly halfway thru the 3rd period. Sergi Kostitsyn fired a puck right between the legs of Ryan Wilson who was caught out of position.
The Avs continued to tempt fate as the period was winding down and required several huge saves from Giguere to keep the game tied. Probably the most spectacular was as Giguere was forced to dive back to his right and get his paddle on a shot as it was fired from just outside the crease. Thankfully it was enough to get the game to overtime and get the Avs at least one point in the standings.
Unfortunately the Avs continued to let the Preds take the play to them, and allowed David Legwand walk into the slot and get his 12th goal of the season and seal an OT win for the Preds.
- 1 Jean-Sebastien Giguere, Did ABSOLUTELY everything to get the team a win. Team failed him.
- 2 Ryan O'Reilly, 1G and 1A in his 200th NHL game.
- 3 Gabriel Landeskog, 1G, +2, continues to prove he is going to be a great player for a long time.
- 1 Landeskog-O'Reilly-Hejduk
- 2 Galiardi-Stastny-Mueller
- 3 Winnik-McClement-Kobasew
- 4 McLeod-Van der Gulik-Yip
- 1 Wilson-Johnson
- 2 Hejda-O'Byrne
- 3 Quincey-Elliott
- 1 Peter Mueller returned to the lineup, enough said there.
- 2 Ryan O'Reilly played in his 200th NHL game almost a month before his 21st birthday, wow.
- 3 For some reason the Avs continue to play a very passive, "prevent" style defense when the have a lead in the last part of the game and it cost them again tonight. So frustrating to watch.
NHL.com Recap & Highlights
The Avs make their way down to Dallas to take on the Stars in a matinée game at the American Airlines Center. The Stars lead the season series 2-1 so the Avs will be looking to split the season series with Dallas.