Battle in the Basement: Flames Burn Avs 3-1.

USA TODAY Sports

The NHL's two worst clubs squared off tonight in a pivotal battle for 30th place.

The healed David Jones and the well-fed Jamie McGinn threw a couple big hits to do their best to get the Avalanche off to a "good start" [I think that phrase may not mean what Sacco thinks it means] and it looked like the Avs were committed to efforting™ their way to the first goal. But a late hit by Patrick Bordeleau well after the whistle put Calgary on their 2nd power play of the game just 7+ minutes in. If this game mattered I'd be upset with Bordeleau for that blatant infraction, but since this game holds as much significance as a Justin Bieber song, I enjoyed Bordy's over zealous sinning very much. Thank you #58.

Seconds into the PK, Zanon shot the puck over the glass to gift the Flames a lengthy 2-man advantage. Giguere made some strong saves - specifically a flashy denial with his right pad on a Cammellari rebound bid - to keep the visitors at bay. Bordeleau flew out of the box and straight into the Flames player with the puck, stifling a good chance and igniting the crowd a bit as the Avs killed off the penalties. PK 3-for-3 just half way through the first period - good work, but that's not exactly where you want to be putting yourself so often so early.

Duchene got hauled down in the offensive zone, putting the Avs on their first power play, but the boys in frostbite blue were unable to cash in. So it's either amazing penalty killing or inept offenses. No it's not. It's ineptitude. Also, why is Mitchell on the first PP unit? This is a serious question. I noticed it a few games back and figured it was a patch job by Sacco, but there he was again, #7, doing nothing...

Hejda and Sarich eased themselves into a scuffle after a vicious slash to Hejda's hands by the aforementioned Flame. Hejda would have been better to stand down as the forgettable scrap cost him an unsportsman-like conduct penalty for ripping off Sarich's visor - and also his manhood as Hejda did not prove to be much of a sparring partner.

The Avs started to carry the play toward the tail end of the period but a couple offensive miscues kept the puck safely out of the Calgary net.

1 min and 45 seconds into the second period Brad Malone tipped a Tyson Barrie slap shot up and over Joey MacDonald for his first NHL goal. Congrats Brad. And good work by O`Reilly on the boards and nice hustle by Barrie to immediately get himself into a shooting lane and get the puck away quickly. Assists to Barrie and O`Reilly. 1-0 Avs. - And the Avs score the all important, all elusive first goal of the game! That's it right! That's all you gotta do! Winning!!

Bordeleau took another overly aggressive run at a Flames player, with this latest head hunting attempt resulting in another Calgary PP and the tying goal as the puck went threw a bunch of bodies and finally past Giguere to tie things at 1.

Later, Landeskog hit Parenteau streaking through the slot but the puck wouldn't cooperate with PA and he missed the open net. That line continued to cause problems for the Flames, with the Avs' captain drew a holding penalty and putting Colorado on their 2nd man-advantage of the game (Calgary had 5 PPS to this point). The Avs racked up 4 shots on the threatening powerplay, but failed to take the lead.

Despite the Avalanche carrying the majority of the play, they (as the often have this season) got caught watching the puck a bit and Mike Cammalleri was able to sneak (more like stroll) into the slot and bury a pass from behind the goal-line to put the Flames up 2-1.

In the third, Giguere continued to make some timely saves to keep his squad in it, and they almost capitalized when PA Parenteau backhanded the puck while diving to the ice, but MacDonald (39 saves, .975 save%) threw his right pad out to deny the quality chance. The Avs continued to pile on the pressure, including a late powerplay chance -- which resulted in an Alex Tanguay shorthanded goal - but it was all too familiar, resulting in another Avalanche loss. If you're a glass half full type, then this game went exactly to script as the Avs inched closer to Seth Jones and the tease of a return to glory.

MHH Best Three Avs of the Night

  • Jean-Sebastien Giguere, 31 saves - Looked really sharp, spry - like a young Jiggy. Battled hard.
  • Brad Malone, First NHL goal, team-high 5 hits
  • Gabe Landeskog - 2 shots, 4 hits, but more importantly looked like he regained some of his old form tonight

Lines

  • Landeskog - Duchene - Parenteau
  • Jones - Mitchell - McLeod
  • McGinn - O`Reilly - Malone
  • van der Gulik - Olver - Bordeleau
  • Johnson - Hunwick
  • Hejda - Elliott
  • Zanon - Barrie
  • Giguere

Conscientious Objectors: O'Brien, Palushaj

Infirmary: Stastny, Kobasew, Hejduk, Downie, Wilson

Quick Hits

  • Jones looked to be running at full speed. Let's hope that lingering knee injury is behind him. Again. For the last time.
  • New line combinations tonight as the Avs searched for some kind of consistency, chemistry, scoring, defense, effort, good start, physicality, chances, a spark, healthy bodies,......anything really. Anything at all.
  • Hejda tried to break the referee's femur on a clearing attempt in the third, and after a good deal of time spent in the fetal position against the boards the ref would return to action. Stick tap yo. Respect.

NHL.com Recap & Highlights

NHL.com recap

Game Summary

Event Summary


Next Up

The Avalanche get a preview or their imminent summer vacation with a brief road trip to SoCal for a back-to-back set with the playoff bound Ducks and Kings, Wednesday and Thursday respectively.

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