DALLAS, TX - JANUARY 14: Paul Stastny #26, Gabriel Landeskog #92, Erik Johnson #6 and Milan Hejduk #23 of the Colorado Avalanche celebrate a goal against the Dallas Stars at American Airlines Center on January 14, 2012 in Dallas, Texas. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Holy cow, did the Avalanche start this game on time. The boys were all over the offensive zone and dominating the defensive zone. The few miscues they had were the only good chances the Dallas Stars had. Ryan Wilson was bringing the Mack Truck. Peter Mueller was looking good. Gabriel Landeskog was being absolutely beastly. The new line of Paul Stastny, David Jones and Kevin Porter was clicking just fine. In fact, they were clicking so well that it led to a goal. Jones dumped in the puck at the blueline in what the Stars' announcers and apparently the Stars' players thought was an offside play. Well guess what guys? Until that whistle is blown, you play the game. That's what Jones and Stastny did, and LOOK, the puck ended up in the back of the net. UMAD BRO? Anywho, Stastny picked up the puck behind the Stars net, catching Kari Lehtonen handling the puck super poorly, and slid it into the crease where Jones sent a nifty top-shelf backhander past a sprawling goalie. One-zip for the good guys.
Jean-Sebastien Giguere didn't get much work in that first period, but he was stellar on the few scoring chances the Stars had. A scary moment came early in the first when Landeskog went off to the bench, clearly hurt. Turns out it was a high stick in the face, but he came back out for the next shift.
Early in the second,
Wilson Stefan Elliott took a tripping penalty. How the refs and Altiboobs mixed that one up is beyond me. Yeah, they both wear 40-somethings, but really? Inches and pounds difference, folks. It was kind of a weak penalty, to be honest, but it balances out the non-call on Jan Hejda in the first. Ryan O'Byrne did a fantastic job knocking Steve Ott off the puck in the crease on the best opportunity the Stars had during the power play. Avs killed it handily, dropping the Stars to only 3 PP goals in the last 34 attempts.
The Avalanche got a chance on the power play themselves when Stephane Robidas decided to be a total dick and then whine about it. Galiardi was in the corner, playing the puck with numbers square in Robidas' face. Don't matter, yo. I'm gonna shove your head into the boards anyway! Galiardi took a while to get up, but ended up being okay. Unfortunately, the Avs only got one shot on net during the PP. Immediately afterward, the Stars put some serious pressure in the offensive zone, and Jiggy had to save their bacon, making one of the best saves he's made this year.
Then the puck decided to take a break and bounce off the boards behind the Stars' net and spend about three seconds in the air before dropping back down in the crease. Too bad no one knew where it was or that would've been a cool goal.
Hard work by Colorado developed into a four-on-two. Panic and frustration got the bets of Jamie Benn as he cross-checked Galiardi right into Lehtonen, sending the net flying. Again the Avs power play was not effective, though, and again they only got one shot on net.
You know the best part about the second period? The Avs kept the gas on, forcing Dallas to play some aggressive D and Lehtonen to make some beautiful saves. Oh and Galiardicus is baaa-aaack. Forty minutes of play in the books.
Elliott decided to start the third period off with a tripping penalty, and this one he totally deserved. The Avs had a great kill, though, limiting the Stars to only one shot. They also had two sweet short-handed chances, with Jay McClement's missing by inches. Unfortunately, the Stars took the kill in stride and came back with a vengeance. They got some solid pressure on the Avs, and this time Giguere just couldn't quite bail out the boys. Hejda lost his assignment behind the net, and Vernon Fiddler stuffed in the puck in from the side of the net.
The "injure the opposition" game plan by the Stars continued as Elliott got an elbow right in the jaw. Clearly, it hurt like hell, but he toughed it out like all the others in the game and didn't miss a shift. Ott pulled a stupid move and did some offensive zone tripping, putting the Avalanche back on the power play. Lol Ott, the Avs got a nice little PP goal, five hole off a point shot by Johnson and a sick tip in by Stastny, giving the boys the lead on their first shot of the period.
Defense of the Avs dominated the rest of the period, with Giguere making some amazing saves. With 1:18 left, Winnik decided to do a little high sticking, giving the Stars a six-on-four power play with the empty net for the Stars. Flurry of chances by the Stars but a combination of awesomeness by Giguere and an inability to hit an open net by the Stars kept the score two to one. Scoring's hard, eh Ryder? Then a gang fight broke out with O'Byrne and Brenden Morrow going to the box for roughing.
A solid 60 minutes = a win. Go figure.
MHH Avalanche 3 Shiny Things of the Night
- 1 - Stastny: goal, assist and a threat all 60 minutes
- 2 - Giguere: save master, keeping the boys in it all game
- 3 - Galiardi: absolutely abused and kept on coming like Godzilla on skates
Honorable Mention: Jones: welcome back to scoring, Doc. Feels good, eh? Let's do more of that mmmmkay?
- 1 Landeskog, O'Reilly, Hejduk
- 2 Porter, Stastny, Jones
- 3 Mueller, Galiardi, Winnik
- 4 Kobasew, McClement, McLeod
- 1 Johnson, Wilson
- 2 Quincey, Elliott
- 3 Hejda, O'Byrne
- 1 - Giguere's 10th win of the season, .955 save percentage
- 2 - Elliott led all players with 4 shots on net
- 3 - The Avs only got 4 shots on net in the third and ended with 23 to the Stars' 22
NHL.com Recap & Highlights
The Avs head to Phoenix for another afternoon game, facing off against the Coyotes on Monday at 2 pm MT.