The Avalanche came out flying to start this one and really controlled the pace of it. 2:30 in, Cody McLeod allowed Mike Brown to justify his continued existence on San Jose's roster. Sorry, it's a bad trade, 5 minutes of solid forechecker for 5 minutes of face abuser. Awful fight for McLeod whether he won it or not (and we're going with not on this one). About six minutes later, Jamie McGinn took umbrage to what really looked like a routine bump to me by Mark Stuart and held up well in a fight of his own.
That out of their systems, the teams turned their attention to the business of goals. Tommy Wingels, which I will die believing can't possibly be a real name, took a tripping penalty shortly after the pugilism and the Avs power play stayed hot as Nathan MacKinnon put a puck through traffic to take a 1-0 lead.
Then the Grinch showed up and said "no more fun for you." San Jose absolutely grabbed this game by the neck and steered it exactly where they wanted for the good next 30-40 minutes. Here's the highlights of this dark time.
- about :40 into a penalty to Andre Benoit for elbowing, the entire Avs PK unit found itself inside a single faceoff circle and San Jose tied the game from the point. Assist to Joe Thornton.
- Speaking of Joe, San Jose's Joe Line completely trashed whatever Patrick Roy threw at them.
- What felt like half an hour into a San Jose possession late in the first, they got caught overextending and Paul Stastny hooked up with Gabe Landeskog. And also Landeskog scored. Oh and he put the puck behind Niemi, too. 2-1 Avs.
- It didn't take long in the disastrous second period for Brent Burns to find the corner of the net. What a shot that was. One of his 8 on the night, which is not too shitty. 2-2.
- With 8:17 remaining in the second period, the Avs iced the puck. Roy called time out and the Altidudes informed us that San Jose had already taken 13 (!!!!) SOG in the second. That's better than a shot ON GOAL per minute. They would finish with 21 to Colorado's 5 in the period.
- 7:32 remaining in the second Nathan MacKinnon was called for high-sticking (ladies). About :40 into the penalty, a point shot made its way through a very screened Semyon Varlamov, and San Jose took a 3-2 lead. Assist to Joe Thornton.
The amount of fortunate the Avalanche were to only be down a goal after that mess cannot be understated. Varlamov was excellent. Finally satisfied with the fact that they had the lead, San Jose sat back somewhat and the Avs were able to get their game back. It took a soporific 10 minutes to get there, but they did.
The catalyst turned out to be a San Jose power play. P.A. Parenteau hopped over the boards like he didn't know the puck was just right there and the Avs were called for too much man on the ice. The teams traded chances like it was 4 on 4, however, with the best coming from a Duchene - O'Reilly 2 on 1, and neither scored.
Colorado controlled play from there but Niemi shut the door. Finally with about four minutes to play in regulation, Patrick Marleau took a hilariously ill-advised tripping/holding/hooking/mugging/interference/YouNameIt penalty chasing a puck in the offensive zone, and the Avs went to work on the power play. Nothing doing there, but Roy pulled Varlamov right before the man advantage ended, and with Marleau racing to rejoin the play, Erik Johnson let loose a BOMB from the right point that beat Niemi. What a fucking shot. More please, EJ.
Tie game! So what does the third line do? Why, they simply go win the ensuing faceoff, take the puck over the blue line and score, of course. Jamie McGinn tipped a shot from John Mitchell that was going high and gave the Avs a 4-3 lead with just over a minute to play.
It would have been a Christmas miracle except then, with Niemi on the bench and twenty seconds to play, Joe Thornton got another assist, because of course he did, on a clutch goal from Joe Pavelski, because of course it was.
It is my only wish
that as soon as the trade freeze is over
work the phones
and bring Joe Pavelski to Denver
only to sit him every night
so he can't goals on the Avalanche
In overtime something very strange happened in a puck battle between Erik Johnson and Patrick Marleau that apparently looked to the on-ice official like holding. The Avs killed that penalty and the game ended in a tie, both teams earning a point.
The Avalanche thanked San Jose very much for the gift point. "Hey, why don't we fight for a second point after that exciting finish with a silly skills competition?" asked nobody, and so we did. Here's the results if you're into such things.
Joe Pavelski - low glove, saved
Logan Couture - blocker, score
Patrick Marleau - good gracious did Varlamov bite hard on that move. Score.
Nathan MacKinnon - moves and moves and moves and Niemi refused to bite, saved
Matt Duchene - forehand to backhand, saved
You May Have Missed
- something unbelievable that Matt Duchene did with the puck in the first period. MacKinnon sent him an errant pass and Matt did... something... it defied anatomy and physics, and the puck magically went off his skate and right to his stick and they continued the rush like nothing had ever happened and I just don't even it was stupid and unreal and wow.
- that Erik Johnson has 4 goals in the last 5 games, only failing to score against Edmonton at home
- that 45 SOG against is the most the Avalanche have allowed this season, and hopefully it will STAY that way (glares)
- that Ryan O'Reilly's two assists tonight give him 8 points since the game in Winnipeg on December 12 (3+5). It was his third 2-point game in the same span.
Mile High Hockey's Three Avs of the Game
3. The second intermission (ended the second period)
2. Semyon Varlamov (41 saves, 35/37 at even strength which strangely includes 6 on 5 so if you think about it he only gave up 1 goal on over 30 shots 5v5)
1. Erik Johnson (goal, assist, led all skaters in TOI)
Post(s) of the night, by visitor MrHahn
Oh crap, sorry guys
I thought I was on Fear The Fin. My bad.
We take a League-mandated holiday break, eat a lot of ham and turkey, get fat, and wait for the Avs return to action Friday night in Chicago. Eeeeee! Always great games with the Blackhawks.
fuck you, Pavelski