Jamie McGinn was a last minute injury scratch, necessitating a 7th defenseman on the ice in Tyson Barrie. The change in personnel didn't alter the team's energy at all, though. From the first puck drop, the game was a fast-paced, exciting endeavor.
After two false starts in which goals were waved off, Steve Downie screamed over the blueline and sent the puck on net. Following right behind him was Matt Duchene, who corralled the rolling rebound and hit twine top shelf to give Colorado a 1-0 lead nearly halfway through the first period.
Winnipeg answered back just a few minutes later as Blake Wheeler banked the puck off the backboards to a waiting Bryan Little at the hashmarks. Despite the quick movement by Semyon Varlamov to get square on the other post, the puck squeaked under the crossbar, tying the game at one.
At 7:23, Jan Hejda was called for interference, giving the Jets a significant power play as the Avs best PKer was in the box, and Winnipeg was still buzzing from the goal. Fortunately, the NHL's best penalty killers weren't the least bit phased, preventing a power play goal against for the 14th straight time.
Play evened out between the teams, and they went to the locker rooms 1-1.
Nearly three minutes passed when the Avalanche got their first power play opportunity as Michael Frolik sat for two on a goaltender interference penalty. Kind of weak, actually, as he was driven into Varly, but it didn't really matter since the Avalanche didn't even get a shot on net.
At 12:01 in the second, Cory Sarich spent two minutes in the box for interference. After a scrum in front of Varly, Nate Guenin and Olli Jokinen received matching penalties for roughing. Just as the penalty expired, Wheeler got a one-timer on net that Varly couldn't contain, putting the Jets up 2-1.
The goal gave Winnipeg all of the momentum, and a post at the 8 minute mark kept the deficit at one. While they didn't dominate play, they certainly interrupted Colorado's early-game mojo. At 14:53, Patrick Bordeleau was cited for an illegal check to the head. Gotta call bullshit on that. More like two minutes for being taller than everyone else. Fortunately, the Denver boys were able to kill yet another, making it 16 kills in a row. With 1:43 left, Colorado got a chance to go for 17 with Hejda going off for tripping.
In the waning seconds of the period, Varly made a huge save to keep the score 2-1 Winnipeg.
The third period started with the final seconds of the Jets' power play ticking off the clock. Five minutes in, Roy made a line change by switching out Downie and PA Parenteau in hopes of sparking some scoring.
It took some work, but Hejda finally tied it up with a bomb of a slap shot from the point. The whole play started with some bulldozing by Gabriel Landeskog and Paul Statsny, though. The entertaining moment of that goal was Alex Tanguay, who saw Hejda winding up and flamingoed to avoid a shattered tibia.
The goal sent a shock of energy through the team and the fans, tilting the ice Colorado's way. The momentum was interrupted, however, when John Mitchell took a high-sticking penalty, putting the Avs on their sixth penalty in the game. If this team could learn to stay out of the box, they'd really be something. Maybe they just want to pad their kill stats, because not only did they down another one, they limited the Jets to zero shots on net.
The boys took that positive play the other way down the ice as Landy, Stastny and Tanguay worked some magic down low. (heh heh) Landy scooped up the puck along the boards and passed it to Tangs in the corner. Tangs battled for possession and sent a sweet little back pass to Landy, who was moving towards the crease. Rather than taking the shot, Landy sent a perfect saucer to Stastny, giving him an open corner to seal the 3-2 win for the Avs.
MHH Three Stars
1. Paul Stastny
2. Gabe Landeskog
3. Alex Tanguay
Honorable Mentions: Semyon Varlamov (huge saves at the right time, a .923 save percentage), Ryan Wilson (huge hits have returned, led d-men in ice time), Slap fight + Downie (strong play gave room for Stastny, Landy and Tangs to make some music), Jan Hejda (despite the penalties, he was solid and got that tying goal that changed the momentum), Ryan O'Reilly (led all skaters in ice time at 21:55)
- Going 10-1 set a franchise record for the start of a season.
- This was the first time this season that the Avalanche had to come from behind to win.
- Roy showed the team video during the 2nd intermission in order to adjust defensive play.
- Duchene is now tied with Sakic, Forsberg, and Stewart for the most goals in October.
- The Avs have killed 18 penalties in a row.
- Barrie wasn't much more than a body on the bench for Roy, logging only 7:16, 8 minutes less than the next most defenseman
- Avs outshot the Jets 17 to 7 in the third period.
- Tonight, the defense matched the number of goals from all of last season (5).
Scratches: Holden, McLeod (suspension), McGinn (injury)
The boys have four days off before heading to Dallas Friday.