The Stanley Cup made a triumphant return to the Pepsi Center tonight! People clad in Burgundy and Blue eagerly awaited their first chance to touch the Cup - some probably even kissed it. The Hart, Vezina, Art Ross, Calder, Rocket Richard, and Conn Smythe Trophies were all in the house, and served as the focal point for countless pictures. It was just like the good ol' days in Denver.
I sure hope the Avs players got a chance to see them while they were here, because that's the closest they'll get to any of them this season.
The Avs didn't start too the game too terribly. They at least managed to set the physical tone for the contest. After a scary early post by Chris Higgins, the game was pretty uneventful until Shane O'Brien took a penalty 6 minutes in. Alexandre Burrows managed to score 11 seconds into their power play. So much for "getting the first goal" like the team was hoping for.
You would have thought the Avs had learned their lesson with penalties, but no. Less than a minute later, Erik Johnson went to the box. Paul Stastny took a puck to the ankle and headed to the locker room (out for the game), but luckily, we were able to kill the penalty off and gained some momentum from it. Just a few plays later, Ryan O'Reilly was able to chip the puck up the boards to Parenteau. The Birthday Boy laid a beautiful pass across to McGinn on a 2-on-1, who promptly buried it top shelf (someone must have told him that's where mama keeps the peanut butter).
The Avs finished the period strong, including a smart little play by Parenteau as he was headed to the bench that almost lead to a Duchene goal. Also, Schneider's right post must have insulted someone's mother because both McGinn and Landeskog decided to abuse it with the puck in the last two minutes before intermission. The teams headed into the locker room tied at 1.
Back and forth play opened up the second period, but a rebound off Schnieder came to Mason Raymond, who was able to skate down and shoot it through a screen by Johnson. 2-1 bad guys. Minutes later, a puck accidentally popped over the glass off Hunwick's stick, and the Canucks headed back to the power play. In the final seconds of that power play, Kobasew tried to stick-handle around Jannik Hansen. Both tripped and fell, but on Kobasew's way up, Henrik Sedin hooked his stick around his neck. No call, but the crowd was very upset. Luckily, the Avs were able to kill off the power play and Kobasew even had a shot on goal. Clearly hooking doesn't count when it's around an Avs' head.
With just over 8 minutes remaining, Ryan Wilson was involved in an awkward hit where his ankle was twisted pretty abruptly. He joined Stastny in the locker room.
After a nice little pass from behind the net, Burrows managed to get his second of the evening with 5:31 remaining. Yep. One of those nights for the Avs. 3-1 Bad Guys.
With just over 2 minutes left, Duchene came streaking into the zone off another nice behind-the-back pass by Parenteau. He didn't make the shot, but he did manage to draw a slashing penalty from Cam Barker. With Stastny out of the lineup, Hejduk took his place on the 5 forward first unit. Duchene managed 1 shot on goal from the point, but other than that, our power play was.... shall we say less than outstanding? So, you know, same as usual.
Fairly early on, Parenteau picked a Canuck's pocket down in their zone. He passed it to Duchene, who had a great chance around the net. Again, he didn't score but drew a penalty instead. Naturally, we couldn't get anything going on the power play - including almost giving up a shorty to Chris Higgins - but it's the thought that counts, right?
At 11:20, Maxim Lapierre tripped Shane O'Brien in the neutral zone. Avs went back to the man-advantage again, McNabb mentioned it was desperation time for the Avs again, and they utterly failed again. McGinn did have another post, and Johnson and Duchene had a shots as well, so it wasn't quite as listless as most of the others earlier tonight even if it did have the same result.
Another penalty against the Canucks occurred at 4:35. Andrew Alberts slashed Parenteau's wrists behind the Vancouver net. In another scary moment, McGinn kept Burrows from breaking away with a nice defensive play after the puck bounced away from Duchene at the point. Higgins then slashed O'Reilly with 1:11 remaining in the Albert's penalty, so the Avs got a mythical thing called a 5-on-3. Sacco called his time-out, and we preceded to get exactly 0 shots on goal during that time. But right as time ran out on the 5-on-3, Parenteau tried to center and the puck but it bounced off Hansen's skate and into the back of the net! 2-3, VAN still on top.
Giggy went to the bench at 1:00, but Shane O'Brien knocked down a clearing attempt with a high stick, and the faceoff came back into our zone. Duchene made a nifty move right before the buzzer, but no go. Vancouver wins 3-2.
Well, the good news is that we did get back to playing our physical game. And McGinn scored! And, um, Parenteau looked good, and uh... Duchene is fast?
(sigh) If you missed this game, you didn't miss much. Even Rycroft said that the effort was lacking. He mentioned that the players may be tired of getting yelled at by the coaches and watching tape and are likely just exhausted by the whole process. The last couple minutes of this game were kinda fun, but the majority wasn't.
The team clearly has no confidence whatsoever, and even EJ knew that our defensive game was to blame. You could also hear the frustration in Parenteau's voice. I wish we had been able to give him a better birthday present.
At least there are only 18 more of these before the draft. We are officially the new Edmonton.
McGinn, Stastny, Hejduk
Landeskog, O'Reilly, Kobasew
McLeod, Olver, Bordeleau
- The opposition has scored first for 7 games in a row now. The Avs only won one of those games.
- Both Stastny and Wilson left the game due to feet/ankle injuries. Neither returned.
- The Canucks record against us under Sacco is 17-0-2.