Okay, forget what I said in the preview today about the Avalanche making a run. It's just not going to happen. After further review, it's not going to happen.
The Avalanche got off to a fairly good start tonight, with some aggressive hitting all around but especially by Patrick Bordeleau (usually on Jakub Kindl). Lord Jimmy Howard made some nice saves early to weather the storm and the Wings started evening the keel a little bit. I am reluctant to say this because I absolutely loathe the toad, but I felt Jordin Tootoo really helped his team get back on track. After the earlier Avalanche hits, he came out and started doing the same and I felt that really was a key early on. But please don't mention that to him (and I know he's probably not capable of reading this on his own).
If you've followed the Avalanche this year, you know what happens after they have the momentum early...that's right, Detroit drew first blood. With just over 4 minutes of the game, Justin Abracabulator (or something) deftly deflected a rebound of a Johan Franzen shot (yeah, that guy) into the net. Semyon Varlamov had no chance on the play.
Do you remember the last time the Avs were in Detroit? I do, because I recapped that one as well. That was a close game that hinged on a couple of pivotal moments. This one was kind of similar. Early in the second, Jonathan Ericsson caught Erik Johnson and Matt Hunwick napping and stepped onto the ice from the penalty box to find himself wide open and on the receiving end of a home run pass by...what the fuck, it was fucking Johan fucking Franzen again. At any rate, Varlamov made a beautiful blocker save to keep the game close and seconds later Aaron Pulashaj came inches from tying it but after intercepting a sloppy pass his backhander McGinned off of the post. In those two quick plays, the score could have been 2-0 or 1-1 but, instead, remained at 1-0.
Not for long, sadly. At the 6:06 mark of the second, Tyson Barrie took the Avs first penalty of the game which naturally led to the Wings first power play goal of the game when Daniel Cleary was fed the puck with a great centering puck by holy fucking shit balls it was motherfucking Johan dickball pussbag Franzen again. What the fuck is it with this guy? That made it 2-0.
I do not have any swear words remaining to properly discuss the next Red Wing goal. The good news is, Johan Franzen was not on the ice. Other than that, it was pretty much one of the ugliest clusterfucks of a goal that I have ever...see, I promised myself I wasn't going to describe the goal where the Wings only had 4 guys on the ice and Ryan O'Byrne just...no, sorry, I just can't do it. I've included the highlights below if you really want to see it. I just can't go there any more.
That goal, the eventual game winner, drove Varlamov from the game although he really can't be to blame for any of the three goals. It was a good move by Sacco, though, as it kind of stopped the bleeding a little bit. J.S. Giguere only had to make 7 saves in his 30 minutes of work, but he kept the Avs in it while they turned the momentum around.
With a 3-goal lead (and playing a back-to-back game) the Wings kind of got a little lackadaisical (thank you spell check). With the woeful Kindl in the box in the 3rd, the much-feared Avalanche PP unit of McLeod, McGinn, Mitchell, Johnson and Hunwick finally broke up Howard's shutout bid. Surprisingly, it wasn't a skill goal but instead happened when McLeod was tackled in the crease by two Wings, blocking Howard from retrieving his stick and giving McGinn a wide open net to shoot at. The goal - McGinn from McLoed and Mitchell was MMM good.
The Avalanche made it tantalizingly close late. With Giguere pulled, Matt Duchene intercepted a sloppy clearing attempt by Brandon Smith and buried it to cut the lead to 1. Parenteau had a chance to tie it with just seconds left but Howard made a gorgeous save to seal the deal.
The Avalanche have had some tough losses this year, where a single bad break did them in. This was more in the "disappointing" category: the Avalanche were generally able to compete with the Wings but ultimately a few breakdowns just did them in. Once again, they dug themselves a hole that they just couldn't climb out of. I wish that was an April Fool's joke, but it really happened. Again.
MHH Best Three Avs of the Night
- Matt Duchene. Seriously, seeing him step onto the ice is like watching Angie Harmon walk into bingo night at the VFW. He is a head-turner.
- Patrick Bordelau. 8 hits
- McGinn did not hit the post on his wide open shot
- McGinn, Duchene, Parenteau
- Landeskog, O'Reilly, Mitchell
- McLeod, Olver, Palushaj
- van der Gulik, Malone, Bordeleau
- Hunwick, Johnson
- Hejda, O'Byrne
- Zanon, Barrie
Not pictured: Chuck Kobascratch, Shane O'Brien and David Jones
- Howard make a huge pad save on a Parenteau backhand as well as a late save on Parenteau that were both very reminiscent of the March 5th game linked above.
- Gabe Landeskog led the Avs with 5 shots
- The Avalanche recorded just 4 blocked shots in the game
NHL.com Recap & Highlights
The Predators tomorrow in Nashville