Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports
Ask any of the Avalanche players, and they'd tell you that, while the big win on Friday that ended the Blackhawks record-setting winning streak was an emotional high, it was still just two points sought and won.
In fact, as soon as they hit the locker room for practice on Saturday morning, it was back to business, that win behind them and tonight's game on the mind. Beating the reigning top dogs of the NHL doesn't mean the struggling San Jose Sharks could be overlooked.
The Avalanche got the services of defenseman Ryan Wilson back tonight. As head coach Joe Sacco said after morning skate today, the competition knows when Wilson is on the ice. His presence was missed, and it was good to see him back. While there was a little rust to shake off, Mack Truck was throwing the body, sending shots on net, and creating opportunities from his first shift.
Shockingly, Sacco got the Avalanche to start on time as the first few minutes saw the Sharks battling offensive pressure by Colorado. Despite the fact the Sharks have some size on the Avs, the boys in blueberry were physical, not shying away from hits or battles in the corners.
With just under seven minutes gone in the first period, Adam Burish was called for interference as he hit Chuck Kobasew after the puck was long gone.The only thing saving Burish from a more serious call was the fact that Kobasew turned toward him at the last minute. No way Burish knew that was going to happen. He was going for the numbers. God I hate this team.
So Burish went to feel shame for two, and ended up feeling even more shame as the Avalanche power play actually had, you know, some power to it. (So does Gabe Landeskog's shot from the point, which hit PA Parenteau and felled him like he'd been gunned down.) A hard clearing attempt was man-handled mid-air by a clean-shaven Ryan O'Reilly, who then sent the puck over to Landy. Landy moved the biscuit down to Parenteau, who was crouched on Antti Niemi's left side. Meanwhile, Matt Duchene was lurking all alone in the right side face off circle. Note to Sharks: never ever leave Matt Duchene all alone with a wide open net winking his way. Sho 'nuff, Dutchy buried it for his tenth goal of the season. Parenteau's assist stretched his point streak to six games.
Two classic Wilson hits within 10 seconds of each other made me smile big smiles. Move sucka move.
With 2:58 left in the first, the Avs got their second power play of the night as David Jones drew a tripping penalty from Scott Gomez (drink). Unfortunately, Colorado didn't have quite the punch as they did earlier in the period, getting only one shot on net.
The teams went into the locker room with the score sitting at 1-0 Avalanche.
The second started with a Sharks club looking to negate the Go Go Avalanche experience from the first. Not sure if you've noticed but the Avs are kinda fast. They can also be tough on the puck when they want to, as well.
Uncharacteristically, Shane O'Brien took an interference penalty, putting the Sharks on the power play. Avs failed to clear about a minute in, but Semyon Varlamov put on a clinic on ninja goaltending, saving their bacon once again. San Jose got seven shots on net in those two little minutes. Varly is kinda good at stopping pucks.
Not to be outdone by his BFF, O'Reilly put the Avs up by two. Aaron Palushaj grabbed the puck at the Avs's blueline and rushed through center ice, circling to the left of Niemi. Meanwhile, O'Reilly was driving towards the net, and with perfect timing, Babooshka sent a pass right on the tape of Mr. Character, who redirected the puck to the back of the net. Niemi looked behind him with tears in his eyes. 8 minutes gone in the middle frame, and the Avs were up 2-zip.
Feeling badly for Shane, PA decided he should also take a tripping penalty. This time around, though, the boys limited the Sharks to one shot on net. Wanting to get in on the parade to the box, Erik Johnson slashed away to get his two. Getting better with each PK, this one generated a shot for the home team thanks to Duchene's ability to go from 0 to 60 in 4.2 seconds. Avs ended up with their own power play chance as some San Jose player (wasn't really paying attention, sorry) was sent to the penalty box for interference. Sadly, nothing really happened of significance.
The period wound down with some f-bombs by Parenteau after the linesman blew an icing call. For such a happy guy, he sure gets mad sometimes.
Totally foreign to Avs games, the opposing team got on the board with less than a minute left in the period. A pinball goal by Patrick Marleau put the score at 2-1 good guys after two.
Tommy Wingels (name sounds like he should be in a 1950s sitcom) ran down Varly (with some help by Jan Hejda), so he got his two minutes in the penalty box. Another power play for the blueberry boys! Too bad O'Reilly felt he needed to hang out for two, too (interference). Four-on-four hockey for 1:30 with just under 8 left in the final twenty.
When is Ryan O'Byrne going to get scratched? Seriously. Check this out. It's ridiculous. He's been horrid this season. Just as O'Reilly's penalty ended, RoB did a whole bunch of stupid stuff in the crease, eventually getting an interference penalty. He could've been called for at least two other infractions. Lucky for him, Varly is scary good, flashing the glove on a sprawling save that just might end up on a highlight reel or two. O'Byrne better be buying Landy a huge steak after the captain got nailed with a screaming slapper he was blocking. No goal. Still 2-1 Avs.
At this point, my recording cut off, so you get box score and highlight info to finish out the game. You only give 2.5 hours for a hockey game DirecTV? Really?
At 16:35, Logan Couture tied it up for the Sharks with a slapper right up the slot. It was a nice goal. Gotta give him that. Nothing of significance happened in the final three minutes, apparently.
Overtime lasted almost the full five minutes but Mighty Matt took care of business with two-tenths of a second left. Avalanche take another two points with a 3-2 OT win.
Stansty -Stastny-Jones (typos, man.)
1. Varly is good at stopping pucks.
2. Parenteau is super duper patient, at least with the puck. Refs? Notsomuch
3. Wilson is a beast. No hesitation at all. Played his game as he always does.