WELL THIS STARTED OFF WELL. It took all of 16:43 for Phoenix to get on the board, as Dave Schlemko took a pass from Kyle Chipchura at the point and popped in a goal, possibly off Thomas Vincour. A fucking irate J.S. Giguere complained to the refs that Paul Bissonnette prevented him from making a save, resulting in a two-minute u-mad minor on top of it. The Avs killed that penalty without much trouble.
McLeod had a good chance at 13:53, drew a rebound, and Duchene connected with it but Smith miraculously kept it out. The Avs kept up some fairly decent pressure, only to give up chances the other way. Finally a big save on Mitchell by Smith come back the other way and Keith Yandle dropped the puck to Antoine Vermette, who put a net-seeking missile through 9001 bodies and scored a goal Giguere never had a chance to see. That's Mitchell with the good chance turned away AND the screen on the goal against, in case you were counting.
So with a 2-0 deficit against Mike Smith in Phoenix that was pretty much all she wrote. That's why, after sustained Avs pressure, the puck skirted out of the zone and the normally fleet of foot Matt Hunwick slipped a bit. (Which in retrospect should have been our first clue that we were entering bizarro-world.) The puck got behind him, freeing up Vermette for a breakaway; Hunwick hooked him by necessity from behind and the ref, somehow not on board with my plan to get this shit over with as fast as possible, called a penalty but not a penalty shot. 31 seconds in Shane Doan got called for boarding Character Bucks, negating the penalty. But since he's Not That Kind Of Player the ref went with cross-checking instead.
30 seconds into the 4 on 4 Elliott broke into the slot as P.A. Parenteau went all HYPOTENUSE BITCH on the puck to Duchene, who fired it out to Elliott, who rang it off the pipe and in. I think I may be pregnant as a result, not sure.
With 4 minutes left in the first, Giguere sprung Gabe Landeskog for a near-breakaway and Schlemko hooked him to the ice. On the ensuing power play Stastny and McLeod entered the zone, found Mitchell on the far circle who hit Parenteau on the blue line. PA let loose his patented knuckle-puck from the point and scored an actual real life power play goal! (It looked like it may have deflected off McLeod but as of now it's still Parenteau's goal.) Then with 2:08 remaining a double-shifted Matt Duchene came down the ice w/Vincour and Bordeleau, Duchene and Bordeleau did something I was not sure was legal for Avalanche players-crashed the net and put home a dirty goal, Bordy's 2nd of the year. The Avs went into the break leading 3-2 after a pretty entertaining first period on the road in Phoenix in which they had trailed 2-0 with Mike Smith in goal. You might want to look into making your peace with your gods. The apocalypse is upon us.
The second period was largely uneventful apart from a Duchene near-breakaway that resulted in him and the Phoenix net becoming more than friends (he looked winded but stayed in the game). The Avs would be outshot 10-7 in the period as Giguere stopped every real shot he faced (whoop, spoiler there).
At 6:03 Bordeleau was whistled for slashing a guy who cross-checked him (it's always the retaliator). On the ensuing penalty kill Duchene ripped into the zone with the puck, threw out a highlight-reel spinorama, and put a shot on Smith, who was up to the task; Mitchell followed up but defenseman Michael Stone with a glove save and a beauty kept the puck out of the net, somehow. Because these are the Avs we're talking about, with 0:44 left in the power play the wonderfully-named Rob Klinkhammer hammered a puck that went Klink off Zanon's heel and in. 3-3 and I ain't even mad.
Radim Vrbata took a hooking penalty in a flagrant attempt to get the Altidudes to stop talking about Eastern Conference games and the Avs went on the power play with under 2:00 remaning. The Avs would work some nifty passing, including a phenomenal spinorama keep-in by Tyson Barrie, and Ryan O'Reilly fired a wrister from the Left Stamkos Spot to give the Avs a 4-3 lead going back into the locker room with ANOTHER POWER PLAY GOAL! Seriously. Gods. Peace. Apocalypse.
The highlight of the period is brought to you by AJ and Jibbles on Twitter:
Doan just went face first into the goalpost and then slid down it like Wile E Coyote hitting a wall. That was pretty awesome (he's fine) -Jibs
I now live in a universe in which Stefan Elliott has forcefed Shane Doan a mouthful of iron. #wtf -AJ
And niwotsblessing bringing the post of the night:
Elliott heard Doan was anemic, just trying to help.
Jiggy kept the Avs in the game early in the third, stopping at least 3 shots on a 2 on 1. A minute later Shane O'Brien popped Martin Hanzal (so hot right now), who skated away with his head down. O'Brien agitated from behind as Hanzal turned and slashed SOB's ankles, causing Doan to jump in, which is surprising what with Doan being Not That Kind Of Player, and McLeod jumped in on top of that. The end result: 2+2+10 for O'Brien (putting his team down to 5 defensmen for 14 minutes of the 3rd) and 2 for Hanzal. The Avs PK stood tall again, this time allowing no beardy hammers to klink, and Vincour (who was serving part of the penalty) came out of the box in time for a 2-on-1. After having his pass deflected he decided by Roy if he was gonna sit in the box it was gonna be of his own volition, dammit. He got his stick up on a guy (hawt) and took a penalty of his own.
As the Avs failed to clear the puck despite multiple opportunities, Chuck Kobasew dove and tripped Yandle; with Smith on the bench on the delayed penalty, Antoine Vermette scored on a rebound to tie the game at 4. That canceled the Vincour penalty and left the Coyotes with a totally unpretentious second consecutive power play, which this time was killed by the Avalanche.
Haynes phrase of the night: "Klinkhammer backhander"
Because we're talking about the Avs here, the power plays ended in name only. Phoenix kept them hemmed in for several minutes, probably scoring at least 15 Corsis, but no goals. Or Corgis. If you could score Corgis that would be pretty wonderful now that I think about it. Giguere made quite a few big saves to keep the team in it.
Finally the Duchene line got a wonderful shift including Matt himself looking like some amalgam of Crosby and Forsberg behind the net until finally Mikkel Boedker got a near-breakaway. Hejda muscled him off the puck and it fluttered out in front of Giguere, who extended to kick it out, attempting to dodge Elliott, and broke himself. Looks like lower body... something. Semyon Varlamov entered the game with a mere 4:00 remaining. How difficult is that to do? Well he continued stretching while the Avs had a shift in the PHX zone, for one.
At 3:28 noted douchenozzle Rostislav Klesla pummeled Stastny right in the numbers head first into the boards. Stastny was slow to get up but stayed on the bench and would return, and 2 minutes for Klesla. Seriously, seriously bad hit. It might even draw attention from Player Safety if either team involved were relevant. The Avs had numerous good chances on the man-advantage but were unable to tally more than a Tyson Barrie slapshot that almost sheered the goalpost in half. I think I heard that PING all the way up here in Oklahoma. Regulation dwindled away and we went into over time tied at 4.
Overtime was a mostly back and forth affair that found its way into the Phoenix attacking zone for most of the end of it, only to end tied-a neat microcosm of the game in a way. Varlamov would make 6 saves during his 9 minutes of play to keep us tied.
Boedker - save Varlamov
Duchene - score, five hole
Vrbata - stickhandled into oblivion, poke check Varlamov
Parenteau - score, bar-down
Final score: Avs 5, Yotes 4, Tank 0
Mitchell Duchene Parenteau
McGinn Stastny Kobasew
Landeskog O'Reilly McLeod
Bordeleau Vincour Malone
Homer three stars
1. Yandle (3A)
2. Vermette (2G)
3. Duchene (3A)
MHH Top Avs
Matt Duchene - 3 assists in 23:28, a game high for forwards, and a hilaaaarious 69% at the faceoff dot (11-5)
PA Parenteau - goal, assist
Stefan Elliott - goal, bossitude, 8 McNab Interview Y'knows
Did I mention that Rob Klinkhammer is a fucking wonderful name?
Tyson Barrie played a game-high 28:48.
Paul Bissonnette and Patrick Bordeleau both ended up on the scoresheet, but one was for scoring a goal and the other was an assist.
Avs won 56% of their faceoffs, led by Duchene.
Hahahahahaha it's over for me, take that you bastards! It's finally mercifully over. I got nothing to watch from here on out except playoff hockey (and stay tuned for that) because I'm going to the Barons game tomorrow night against Charlotte. Also the Avs play Minnesota at home (5:30 MT) in a game with playoff implications. If the Avs win in regulation, #Lumbus makes the playoffs with a win over Nashville--and Minnesota could be OUT. The right cocktail of circumstances could also end with detroit being OUT. HAW