Anaheim rookie netminder Viktor Fasth stands on head, blanks paltry Avalanche offense with 31-save shutout.
The game started off with a bang as Staubitz and Bordeleau dropped the gloves off a face off. It was an old school enforcer bout as the gentlemen chatted, a white glove slapped across a face, honor was offended, duel agreed to, and haymakers thrown for a solid 30 to 45 seconds. Staubitz initiated the fight, but Bordeleau dictated the agenda.
The Ducks struck at 13:40 of the first period. If anyone was wondering if Sheldon Souray still has a cannon of a shot, he does. Unfortunately. 1-0 Anaheim. The Avs responded well with back to back strong shifts from Stastny's and Sgarbossa's lines, but 30 year-old rookie goaltender Viktor Fasth was able to keep the puck out. The Avs were able to produce a powerplay out of all that hustle, but a combination of bad passes and blocked shots rendered the man-advantage certifiably impotent.
The Avs then decided to make it an uphill battle as Sgarbossa and O`Byrne took penalties about 30 seconds apart giving the visitors a lengthy 5-on-3. On that PK, Zanon misplayed a pass in front and the puck found Saku Koivu for an easy tap-in. 2-0 Ducks.
The Avalanche came out strong in the 2nd and generated multiple chances, including a couple great opportunities in close by Jones and Parenteau, but they couldn't solve Fasth. The Ducks would make it 3-0 about midway through the period when the Avs slow line change coupled with Jan Hejda stepping up to throw a hit that left him out of position, led to the Ducks having a 3-on-2 and Beauchemin one-timing a feed from Daniel Winnik past Varlamov [note: Winnik was offside, no call). All three goals to this point seemed to surprise the Avalanche. That concept of playing a full 60-minutes comes to mind....
The Avs deflated for the remainder of the 2nd period, and even on the one chance they mustered (a 3-on-1), they didn't even get a shot off.
Kobasew created a fantastic chance for himself early in the 3rd as he stepped around his defender and moved in alone on Fasth. The Swedish goalie made the save and then again as Kobasew stabbed at his rebound. No dice.
Not to be outdone, Varly ROBBED Palmieri on a 3-on-1 in what was probably a good goal, but the video reviews didn't prove conclusive evidence to overrule the call on the ice. It appeared that Varly gloved the shot behind the post, but luckily camera angles keep some secrets.
The game was pretty much over at that point. Well, actually much earlier.....
Fasth was the major difference in this game, but the Avalanche just didn't bring a consistent effort for the full 60 minutes. Maybe it's coaching, maybe it's personnel - whatever the source, it makes for some sucky hockey to have to recap on a Wednesday evening (yes, it's all about me).
MHH Stick Taps
- Not a lot of performances to like in this game, but Paul Stastny had jump tonight, calling for the puck and playing with purpose. He seems to be finding his hands and legs. Duchene was his usual speedy self.
- McGinn - Duchene - Parenteau
- Mitchell - Stastny - Hejduk
- McLeod - Sgarbossa - Jones
- Kobasew - Olver - Bordeleau
- Johnson - Hunwick
- Hejda - O'Brien
- O`Byrne - Zanon
- Scratches: van der Gulik, Palushaj, Barrie
- Injured: Landeskog (Head, Leg, Kog), Downie (Knee)
- Curse of former Avs strikes again as both Selanne and Winnik snag assists.
Ever wonder what people outside Colorado think about the Avalanche? Well living in Los Angeles I was privy (meaning had no choice) to the Ducks' feed. In their opening coverage they said, and I paraphrase, "the Ducks start off on a 6-game road trip tonight in Denver, and then they have some tough opponents."
The over-worked Avalanche will enjoy their mandatory 4-days off per month as they wait till Monday to work-over the Phoenix Coyotes. The upcoming match-up will conclude the current 4-game home stand. Puck drops at 7pm on Altitude.