DENVER, CO - FEBRUARY 04: Ryan Kesler #17 of the Vancouver Canucks skates against the Colorado Avalanche at the Pepsi Center on February 4, 2012 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
Coming out of the gate the Avs looked ready. They came out with a lot of speed and grit early on. It led to a tremendous scoring chance for Gabriel Landeskog, unfortunately he caught nothing but iron.
Then when it looked like the Avs were going to be getting a 4 minute power play after Daniel Winnik had his bottom lip cut open by Kevin Bieksa's stick, TJ Galiardi was called for elbowing. That call put the NHL's number one power play unit on the ice and they normally don't need many chances to capitalize. Fortunately the Avs were able to kill this one off.
Just after the penalty expired though, the Canucks would take the lead. With Jean-Sebastien Giguere screened, Ryan Kesler sent a shot toward the net that found the back of the net to give Vancouver a 1-0 lead less than five minutes into the game. Like some games in the past though, the Avs didn't get down on themselves and kept putting pressure on the Canucks.
That continued pressure is what led to the Avs getting two chances on the power play during the first period and were able to cash in on their first chance of the game. Paul Stastny, a player whom I've been especially critical of, sent a terrific saucer pass right onto the tape of David Jones, who smashed home his 10th goal of the season.
The Avs would carry the momentum they had created from the first period into the second. It would prove especially crucial because they had to kill off nearly a minute and a half of carry over penalty time, which they did.
Shortly after the penalty had expired, the Avs would take advantage of a very costly turnover by Kevin Bieksa behind his own net. Daniel Winnk was able to corral the puck behind the net and center it out in front for a streaking Jay McClement who fired it past a sprawling Robert Luongo to give the Avs a 2-1 lead less than 5 minutes into the second period.
Heading into the second period the Avs were going to look to continue to get great scoring opportunities and a ton of shots on net. And that's exactly what they did. At one point during the second the Avs were out shooting the Canucks 27-12. The Avs finished the second period leading 30-17 in shots on goal and 2-1 on the scoreboard.
Fortunately for the Avs they were able to carry a lead into the third period, because the Canucks are 21-0-0 this season when heading into the 3rd period.
Early on the third period was pretty evenly matched, with neither team gaining any momentum over the other. There was lots of heavy hits on both sides of the puck and in all areas of the ice. Then just over halfway thru the third period, Daniel Winnik was called for holding has he hauled down Kevin Bieksa, who just seemed to be all over the ice for Vancouver. It would be the Canucks 5th power play of the game and fortunately for Colorado, they were able to kill it off.
The Avs had a couple of glorious scoring opportunities to put the game out of reach with just over five minutes to play as both Daniel Winnik and Gabriel Landeskog had small breakaways on Roberto Luongo. Unfortunately for Avs fans, the Canucks net minder stood tall on both chances to keep his team within one of Colorado late.
With just a over a minute and a half to play in the game the Canucks pulled Roberto Luongo to make one final push to get the game tied up and they did. First Kevin Bieksa made a diving save to prevent the Avs from sealing the game with an empty net goal, then comes back to tie the game at 2 with just over 30 seconds to play.
With the game heading to overtime, the Avalanche absolutely needed the full two points for a win. The one point definitely helps, but following the Avs loss to Minnesota in regulation Thursday night two points is a MUST.
During the overtime both teams had great chances to end the game, but both goalies held their ground and gave up nothing. Heading into the shootout the Colorado Avalanche had dominated in the shootout so far this season and were looking to go 8-0. Unfortunately the Avs were not able to get a shot past Luongo in the shootout and fell in a heartbreaker to the Canucks as Mason Raymond was the only player to score during the shootout.
The Avs have now lost 5 one goal games in a row.
MHH Avalanche 3 Stars of the Night
- 1 Jean-Sebastien Giguere, 27 saves in regulation and overtime.
- 2 Gabriel Landeskog, a game high 9 shots
- 3 Jay McClement, 1G, 12 of 21 in the face-off circle tonight.
- 1 Landeskog-O'Reilly-Hejduk
- 2 Jones-Stastny-Kobasew
- 3 Galiardi-McClement-Winnik
- 4 McLeod-Van der Gulik- Porter
- 1 Johnson-QUincey
- 2 Hejda-O'Byrne
- 3 Hunwick-O'Brien
- 1 David Jones power play goal in the first period broke the Avs' 176:27 scoreless drought against Vancouver.
- 2 Prior to the game Stefan Elliott was sent back down to Lake Erie and Tyson Barrie was recalled to the NHL.
- 3 Peter Mueller didn't dress for today's game due to not feeling well. Thankfully it's because of flu like symptoms and nothing related to his past head injuries.
NHL.com Recap & Highlights
The Chicago Blackhawks come to town on Tuesday night, where the Avalanche will be playing for their playoff lives.