If Sacco was still here, he'd inform us that the team didn't start on time. Bad passes made it hard for us to get through the neutral zone, but just like last game, Semyon Varlamov bailed us out with some pretty spiffy saves. Steve Downie did have a nice hit on Weber during that time as well. However things really started getting going around the 7 minute mark when Paul Stastny and Tyson Barrie managed to get a few good shots on Pekka Rinne. He turned all of them away, but that seemed to wake up the team a bit.
All three of the top lines had good shifts from then on out, with Stastny's really making some noise. EJ also was noticeable when he fired a shot from the blueline and made a good defensive play a few seconds later. MacKinnon looked solid and wasn't afraid to go into the corner to fish out the puck, Roy's tie amused me, and McNab got hit by a ref tossing a broken stick into the bench. There was a lot of back and forth skating with both teams trading decent chances.
That changed after about the 4 minute mark. The ice tilted in the Avs direction after Roy told them to finish strong during the TV time out. We had a number of good chances, but it wasn't until the Perds did the Perd-iest thing ever by taking out two of their own guys on one play that the Avs managed to capitalize. P.A. Parenteau centered the puck for Mac, but it bounced away and right onto the hungry stick of McGinn in the slot. He shot it, and Pappy banged home the rebound. 1-0 Avs!
The second period started with Downie committing a tripping penalty just 20 second in. The Avs PK was fairly effective, allowing only 2 shots on goal. Afterwards, the blueline was really jumping into the play with both Hejda and Guenin firing off good slappers from the point. Nate Guenin's efforts finally paid off when Patrick Bordeleau tipped the puck on one of his shots. It dinked off the far post and behind Rinne - 2-0 Avs! Marc-Andre Cliche also received an assist, his first NHL point.
About a minute and a half later, things got physical. Weber was pushing Duchene around, and Downie didn't like that. A few seconds later, the puck found it's way to Josi's stick, and #17 flattened him like a train. Weber came after him and earned himself a double minor for roughing. Downie went to the box for 2 minutes with a charge. Parenteau had a shot on the power play, but the Preds were able to kill it.
Downie finally got out of the box.... only to go back in with a slashing call around 30 seconds into his shift. The Avs were really aggressive on the PK, and Mac and Dutchy (both on the 2nd unit) had a great rush up the ice together. Varly made a few nice saves, but just as time was expiring, the puck bounced over Dutchy's stick and Paul Gaustad tipped it behind him. 2-1 Avs.
At 4:02, Tanguay was absolutely ROBBED by Rinne, but Fisher took a penalty on the play. The power play looked good - lots of movement of the puck and the players away from it - but couldn't capitalize. With around a minute remaining in the period, Mike Fisher pushed Sarich into Varly and was called for goaltender interference. The period ended with 1:22 remaining on the Avs power play. The Boys in Burgundy were also outshooting the Perds 25-17 at this point.
The power play struggled to get anything going for about the first minute of the period as the Nashville defense effectively shut them down. After the PP expired, Andre Benoit had a pretty little defensive play at the other end of the ice by perfectly lifting a stick to allow Varly time to recover after a save.
At 16:56, the Avs took a TOO MUCH MAN penalty, served by Parenteau. Varly needed to make a nice save near the end, but the Avs managed to kill it off. It was the Preds turn to commit a penalty when Craig Smith nailed Downie in the eye with his stick. Dammit, Steve, why aren't you wearing a visor? He was okay and played on the power play, but I bet that's a heck of a shiner tomorrow.
To add insult to injury, Bartley pushed Downie into the net on the next shift before Nystrom randomly jumped him. Gloves drop, and the linesmen tried to break it up. A few minor punches were exchanged - enough for Downie's hearing aid to pop out - and both went to the box for 4 minutes. McLeod played with Slap Fight while Downie was in the box.
EJ had a great block, and Benoit made a heads-up play when he caught the puck, dropped it to the ice, waited for the D to slide by, and forced Rinne to make a save. Weber also tried to keep up with Duchene, failed miserably, and ended up in the box. There was a great amount of puck movement on the PP, no shots, but even at even strength, the Avs kept the intensity up. The Preds were so gassed at the end of the Slap Fight shift that they ended up icing the puck. Trotz didn't take his timeout, but the Preds got lucky and regained possession pretty quickly.
With 1:30 left, Varly made an outstanding save, and five seconds later, they pulled Rinne. Pandemonium ensued, and Varly lost his stick for a bit. But in the end, Stastny was able to come away from the puck and passed it to Parenteau who slapped it home. Stazz could have taken the shot, but he let Pappy have a 2G game. Classy move by the acting Captain. 3-1 Avs.
The Avs wrapped it up and moved to 2-0-0 on the season. YAY WINNING!
I would also like to say that the Avs decision to play the Star Wars Theme during the three Stars announcement this year is pretty darn awesome, but not nearly as awesome as First Star PA Parenteau saying "Haha, that guy's crazy :D " when talking about Downie in his interview. Crazy indeed.
MHH Three Stars
- Varlamov (27 Saves and kept the Avs in it)
- Parenteau (2G and a great smile)
- Downie (very admirable amounts of total badassery)
- Slap Fight+ Downie
- Mitchell - Stastny -Tanguay
- McGinn - MacKinnon -Parenteau
- Bordeleau - Cliche -McLeod
- Varly has only allowed 1 goal in each of his two games. He made some difficult saves tonight look easy, especially against Weber slappers.
- Downie was everywhere tonight. We really missed him last year. He was one of the major difference makers in the game.
- MacKinnon keeps proving to be good at hockey. He didn't look out of place at all, even on the PK. By the way, Mac has 2 wins and Jones has 0 just in case anyone (ahem, Peter McNab) is keeping track at home.
- I found a heads up penny right before the game today, so I'm taking credit for this win. You're welcome.
The Avs have three days to rest up before a 5PM MT tilt on Tuesday in Toronto.