Avs play complete team game, win "Rivalry Night", led by 33 save shutout by Semyon Varlamov.
A heart-stopping game got off to an inauspicious start thanks to NBCSN's super sweet Rivalry Night double-header coverage, the first 3 and 1/2 minutes of the Avs Game was preempted by the finale of the Penguins/Flyers game (an actual rivalry). Brian Engblom said that Jamie McGinn hit a post during those mythical minutes, but I guess we'll never know....
What we did see though when the game finally found airwaves was Parenteau hitting McGinn on a partial breakaway that was thwarted right in front of Blues' netminder, Jaroslav Halak (returning from a groin injury that has sidelined him since Feb 1st) by Roman Pollack hustling back to knock the puck off #11's stick. That play was indicative of an up and down first period where neither team established much puck possession or cycling. Period ends 0-0, with the Blues outshooting the Avs 9-2.
The Blues were "supposed" to be tired after lots of travel and games in the past few days, but apparently no one told them that fun fact and they continued there torrid attack as the second period got under way and were outshooting the Avs 15-3 about 8 minutes into the second. Then Mitchell and Hejda collided at the blueline creating a 1-on-none and Barrie got called for a ghost hook as he lifted the Blues' player's stick breaking up the play - maybe the refs were bored not making calls and decided to spice things up and give the NHL's #1 powerplay an opportunity. Varlamov was terrific (as he was all game) and swallowed the puck whenever it came near him. No rebounds. Avs PK does the job.
The penalty kill, combined with a huge Patrick Bordeleau hit on Alex Steen, energized the Avs and the 4th line cycled the puck down low and drew a penalty on Chris Stewart to give the Avs their first man-advantage. The Avs got some good looks, mostly from Stefan Elliot's point shots, but Stastny hooked Oshie in the offensive zone to prematurely end the Avs' powerplay. But the Avs kept the puck out for another kill.
The home team came out strong in the third and finally started getting some shots on net. Parenteau created some chances, in particular his shot from the slot that bounced around the crease, but McGinn was tied up and couldn't get to the puck before it was smothered by Halak. The Blues countered with a glorious chance down low but Stewart fired the puck wide on the short 2-on-1 set up.
Mark Olver dropped St Louis stand out rookie Vladimir Tarasenko about half way through the 3rd with a hard hit as Tarasenko turned blindly into the hit, head first. No call on the play as it was simply unfortunate timing for the rookie. You can bet Shanahan is looking at the play tonight. The Blues wanted a piece of Olver, but he didn't bite late in a tie game.
The tension reached heart attack levels as the period winded down. The refs swallowed their whistles as Berglund ran Varly twice, and the Avs tripped a Blues player in the neutral zone, content to let the players determine this one.
In overtime Stastny and Parenteau came down on a 2-on-1, but Halak stopped Stasnty's shot. The puck was loose in the crease for a moment, but the whistle blew before the Avs could do anything about it. And then the 4x4 man, the overtime sensation, David Jones himself, wristed the game's only goal home with just 16.4 seconds left! And who was covering him on the play? Kevin Shattenkirk. And who was trailing Jones on the play? Chris Stewart. Just saying. Goal assisted by Matt Hunwick. Avs win 1-0. WOO! What a game!
MHH Best Three Avs of the Night
- Semyon Varlamov 33 save shutout. He was brilliant in this game. No rebounds. (he even stopped one with the top of his head!)
- David Jones 1 G (GW)
- And I'm going to give a shout to the whole Defense corps. We give them a lot of grief, most of it deserved, but tonight they were strong, solid, calm, and didn't crack under some extreme pressure in the 3rd *cough* Edmonton Game *cough*
- McGinn - Duchene - Parenteau
- Jones - Stastny - Palushaj
- Hejduk - Mitchell - McLeod
- Bordeleau - Olver - Kobasew
- Hejda - Barrie
- Hunwick - O`Byrne
- Zanon - Elliot
Scratches: Sgarbossa, O'Brien
Injured: Landeskog (head), Johnson (head), Wilson (leg), Downie (knee)
- This is not a new thought, merely a confirmation that Palushaj falls down A LOT. Maybe his Life Coach is Darcy Tucker? But seriously, WTF?? Is it strength? Balance? Both? An inner ear problem?
- Milan Hejduk left the game with a torso injury and did not return. Anybody left in Cleveland to call up?
NHL.com Recap & Highlights
The Avs embrace Manifest Destiny and head West for a 3 game road trip against California, starting with a Saturday afternoon tilt against the Defending Stanley Cup Champ Los Angeles Kings (2pm MT). I'll be channeling my inner Hunwick and eating nachos in section 106, so come on by and we can laugh about Brian O`Reilly, and then cry about his son.
The Avs beat the Kings 3-1 in Denver for their second game of the year. The game was notable as it was where Parenteau, Landeskog, and Jones all potted their firsts of the year (and in Jones case, his only goal... oh wait, he righted that ship i a big way tonight, thanks Dr J!). The Avs and Kings will meet one more time this curt season, in LA on April 11th.