Duchene Leads Depleted Avs To An Overtime Victory In A Dogfight With The Jets

Doug Pensinger

It wasn't easy and the Avs lost another top-6 player in the 1st period, but the Avs won in overtime on backs of Duchene and Varly

Avalanche vs. Jets

Drinking Update: None. I am detoxing in preparing for a hockey tournament starting Friday. Weirddddddd, right?

With that said, you might not get as much excitement. I mean, I am an excited person usually but you’ll understand ZOMGOSDFOOSDOHMYGODAVALANCHES!

Okay time to watch the Avs ground the Jets. I am somewhat to moderately convinced I am the first person to ever use that one. The following is a presentation of the Whores Network. All rights are not reserved because you can use whatever I am about to say all you want at your own risk.

Period 1:

Duchene’s line got the start tonight and immediately applied pressure. Montoya had to make a ton of saves to start it off; okay well 3 saves. Interesting start. Or great. Both actually. Winnipeg was finally able to counter with pressure when Wheeler and Bfugyfuhlien got out for their shift. That line immediately crashed Varly and pushed him into the net. That was game plan on Varly for the night. The Avs defense would have to deal with clearing them out and every team from now on or else it’s going to be a rouuuuugh April.

Oh no. Parenteau’s second shift did not go well and he got hurt and had to crawl to the bench. He didn’t head to the locker room though so that was positive, but it was short lived. The following shift led to a great forecheck and Talbot was able to get the puck from behind the net and feed McGinn who was robbed by the dastardly Montoya.

HOWEVERS!!! There was a penalty on the Jets called. Who cares why, I don’t and I am not looking it up. It was not the prettiest start to the PP and this would not be the last time tonight. Let me correct myself, it was ugly. Most of the Avs’ difficult came from the Jets’ vicious PK; it was very impressive. Winnipeg was able to kill the penalty and the Avs looked a little frazzled; maybe a little too excited. PP: 0-1.

The game started to get a little crazygonuts after that. Winnipeg took another penalty on Barrie. McLeod starting chirping at Stuart on the bench for this hit PA. Applause to Cody; that’s his job and to do so without taking a penalty.

The Avs took a little bit to figure out the Winnipeg PK, but once Duchene’s unit got on the ice, they had two great chances.

MacKinnon’s unit came out and he did something I hope people noticed. He took the puck from his defense and blew into the Jets’ zone ahead of his entire team. He didn’t stop at the low corner like most players would, but he kept skating and whipped the puck back behind him. The entire Winnipeg team was skating back to chase him and they all had to circle and stop as the puck went backwards. The result? He didn’t even know his teammates were there but logically they would be. He put it into space and it created that needed space the Jets weren’t giving up. That was Crosby-esque. He’s the only other player I have seen make plays like that that show a level of hockey sense beyond anything in this league. However, the Avs could score on the Power Play. PP: 0-2.

After a steal by Talbot, which led to a 4 on 3 rush, he hesitated a little to much and tried a fancy hash-mark pass. It was picked off and a rush came the other way for the Jets. They used their speed to get numbers and Varly had to come up huge a cross-ice feed to a shot by the trailing defenseman.

A bullshit non-call (in this writers opinion) occurred as the Avs forward blocked a shot from the point and was on a dead open breakaway when he got tripped. No call though. When the Jets brought the puck into the zone, the Jets player just rammed Varly. This shit needs to stop ASAP. The Jets are dirty team and that was on full display in the 1st. However, it is a little hard to complain when another Power Play resulted.

The Avs got pressure but the Jets PK is just grueling. The Avs had space but couldn’t score. On the change, Wheeler broke down past a intert-looking Benoit and Varly had to make a brilliant poke-check to stop an easy goal as Wheeler cut across the crease. PP: 0-3.

At about the 8 minute mark the game got even crazier. The Avs had some pressure but the Jets were able to use a very surprisingly impressive transition game and launched a Jet on a breakaway. Cliché dove and barely touched Slater’s hand but a penalty shot was awarded while the entire time Bordy is bleeding for god knows why. This was a break for the Avs because the Jets had their legs and two minutes of a Power Play would be tough. Now however, they get one shot from a non-star player against one of the best shootout goalies in the game.

Slater skated down, did one move, and took a shot toward the right corner. Varly flashed a glove/pad and made an easy save. It was a lucky break for the Avs on that call.

Duchene’s line followed and was able to get some speed, he had to dodge a scary check, and O’Reilly almost tucked in a mini-wrap around.

Jesus Christ. The Jets just took another penalty. This time guess what for. Wait for it…....Goalie interference. These dirty pieced of trash are just going to run Varly. This is getting to the realm of Roy breaking stanchions on Maurice’s head.

The Avs needed this PP. The had a great chance when Duchene fed Holden who skated around a sprawling Montoya but McGinn empty net was just checked away. The second unit with Duchene double shifting had great movement but they just couldn’t find space. Roy will need to analyze this and figure it out. PP: 0-4

On the following shift you could see Avs realize this was a weird game. Johnson made a brilliant poke check on the opposing blue line the keep the puck in (one you don’t make usually) but again the Avs couldn’t generate much on that devious Montoya.

Duchene’s line came out with 2 minutes left and had more great pressure. At the end of that shift, Kane took the puck and burned Hejda who had to make a nearly impossible turn and chase. Kane skated down the left side, crossed in on Hejda and dragged the puck across the crease to stuff it in but Varly made an absolutely beautiful save to keep this scoreless.

Period over. I’m exhausted.

Summary: The Avs played pretty well, just a little sloppy in their transition defense (i.e. neutral zone strategy). They gave the Jets too much room. The four Power Plays were a gift but the Avs did not look prepared for the aggressive PK. The Avs are a fairly fancy PP team when they start moving and the Jets did a great job to limit space. The only real chances the Jets had were off transition turnovers because of their physical play.

Systems Update: Hmm. The Avs played their system. They created speed into the zone and managed to get penetration a lot. They even got the cycle game going at some points. The Jets sort of looked like they were in bend but not break mode. Montoya had to make some crazy saves early, Varly matched those later of course, but the Jets seemed to ride it out and wait for chances. The Jets play a unique system. They are a dump and chase team primarily and they can forecheck very well. They are also a physical team and use that to their advantage. The Avs have shown they can deal with physical games but it looked tough for them. I anticipate Roy making some adjustments, mostly I expect the Avs to keep pushing the defense and make Montoya save them through this game.

Period 2:

A minute in Duchene made a nifty little move on the Jets defender and the puck almost snuck by Montoya; no goals though. 2 minutes later the Johnson pairing did a fantastic job of the Bufysdfkians line. Johnson looked a brick wall and everything was on this stick. Soon the Avs broke out using some patience and Cliché found some space. He pulled back and found at railing Johnson who made a smart pass to Talbot streaking up the center but his shot was just tipped over the net.

Kane immediately followed that shot with his explosive speed to create his own space but Valry was there with the leg. The Avs looked to figure out the Jets forecheck and the puck left the Avs’ zone as soon as entered it seemed. MacKinnon came out and almost got demolished. He spun away and Jonson moved the puck right way and the Avs were out and through the neutral zone. Barrie made a smart drop give and go Mitchell who came down the left side and MacKinnon found his way around the defense and started smashing his stick on the ice. Even that Mitchell couldn’t avoid passing to that (haha) and passed in front to a perfectly placed stick by MacKinnon, however the update on the goal said that MacKinnon never touched it so it’s Mitchell’s goal. Puck hog. Brilliant goal Brilliant deconstruction of the Jets defense. 1-0 Avs.

The following shift saw a racquetball take the place of the puck and it almost bounced over Varly’s shoulder, but it got the crossbar instead. The Jets tried the same play MacKinnon used but the Avs D was there to block it. It was Johnson in case you couldn’t guess that

TANGENT 1: I like Roy’s tie, even if it’s a bit Quebecois for me to wear.

MacKinnon came out with Mitchell and off a nice kick save form Varly the Avs were off and running. Mitchell had a head of steam and MacKinnon drew the defender with him to the net. Mitchell passed (HAHA) to Barrie who ripped a shot but Montoya was there. L

TANGENT 2: That sit he 3rd time in the last 5 minutes I have heard Angel is a Centerfold. Dude, organ guy, don’t make me start a campaign against you.

MacKinnon came out with Landy and Mitchell and the line got pressure again. MacKinnon used his change of direction to fool everyone but Barrie who snuck in and had a great chance but the shot went wide. Barrie is starting to play and think like a Karlsson. Yum.

Wheelers line came out and started to gain some pressure but looky looky Johnson broke up the play and shot it right to Montoya to prevent icing. Montoya launched it up the ice but the puck went into racquetball mode again and nothing happened.

The following shift saw Duchene, who was likely playing his 78th minute at that point, outmuscle the Jets player and create a 2 on 1 out of nowhere. With the Jets player draped over him like a beautiful cashmere overcoat, he shot and missed him. Smart play thought.

MacKinnon and Landy followed that up with some serious, like super serious guys, pressure but they couldn’t get it passed that vengeful Montoya. Johnson then made one of his shots off the backboard things and it just missed popping out to Talbot.

At this point they announced PA was out for the game. Let’s hope it’s not serious.

The puck started doing that thing again and it went against the Avs as the Jets were able to move the puck into the zone after a little neutral zone battle. The Jets looked threatening but the Avs seemed to stay calm and force the puck to the outside then out of the zone. No harm there.

The Avs iced the puck with their 4th line out. The Avs looked to have an easy clear but that dastardly puck again jumped over a stick. The Avs had to take a penalty to cull the pressure.

Unfortunately it only took 20 seconds to end. The Jets were able to get the puck to the front and Bufsdfyladgian was able to put the rebound in. Hejda lost him a little bit but there’s not much to do there. Also, I really hate him as a player. 1-1.

Duchene’s line came out next and O’Reilly made a nearly impossible pass from the center line across the ice to McGinn into the zone. Duchene ended up with the puck behind the net and fed McGinn who was wide open but that hateful Montoya just shut the pads.

And such is this game, Winnipeg got a luck goal right after that save. The Jets broke in on a rush and Frolik took a shot that Varly was able to block but Bfdskdfusdsadsayflain was able to knock the puck from behind the net off Varly’s skate into the net. Fuck that. 2-1 Jets.

With 15.8 seconds left there was a draw but the period was ove….and what!!?!??!?! Mitchell won the draw in the Jets’ zone to Benoit and he ripped a slap shot right past Montoya. That was helpful. Let’s say extremely helpful. After the whistle Setogouchi tried to rip off Landy’s hair in what I can only assume was his Delilah-like attempt to stop Landy and the Avs. It takes more than one lock of hair to stop Roy’s Avs. #WhyNotUs. 2-2.

Now the period was then over. Oddly without another goal from the Avs. Oh well.

Summary: The Avs slowed the game down but that one penalty killed them and you can see why special teams matter. The Avs still pressured the zone and Duchene’s line looked magical out there, unfortunately it was for naught.

TANGENT 3: Naught is a dumb fucking word.

Systems Update: Nothing changed on the Jets side. They looked a little more comfortable. However, Roy did make adjustments. He had his defense be much calmer with the puck with space and when the Jets turned on their forecheck the puck came out as fast as it could. It led to multiple chances including a goal. You can see that adjustment if you compare it to the first because the Avs didn’t look for that streaking center or wing like usual, they just moved the puck in to the neutral zone and dealt with it there.

Period 3:

Evidently Landy and Setogouchi got penalties. They started 4 on 4, as if these teams needed more space. And what followed was a dirty fucking player from Trouba. This team is full of goons. MacKinnon was basically fed space and Stuart made a GREAT play on MacKinnon, but Trouba came in trying to kill MacKinnon. Dumbass. Power Play for the Avs. This was likely the turning point of the game and it was 4 on 3 to boot!

After a good chance, Stuart just punched O’Reilly in the face. I mean, alright., that is hockey. Avs win the draw but that stupid racquetball again bounced over Barrie’s stick. The Avs still had a minute left but it looked like Roy cannot figure out this PP. The Avs were able to get in but the Jets killed it. For being a bunch of thugs, they have a great PK. PP: 0-5.

The Jets had a good shift led mostly by Kane but he and Mitchell started shoving after the whistle and another set of matching minors. Honestly, this was a fairly good tradeoff. It’s 4 on 4 time and this needed to be Duchene’s time.

It was clear the Jets wanted to slow the 4 on 4 down and prevent any speed or space. The first minute disappeared because the Jets were basically stalling. Probably a smart plan to be honest.

The 4 on 4 ended with an almost break for Duchene but the Avs got some pressure and Johnson took the puck at the line, cut in and was hauled down for a call. With Varly on the bench, Duchene hopped out and Landy almost got his shot through but it was cleared at the last minute.

The Avs took a few tries to get into the zone but a great shot around the boards finally worked. The Avs did a good job to keep the puck in the zone. A semi-pass-shot from O’Reilly to McGinn almost snuck in but still they couldn’t score. A minute remained on the Power Play. The Avs couldn’t do anything with the remaining time. That’s un-fucking-acceptable. PP: 0-6. So many VCRs, so much carnage.

With 11 minutes gone, Duchene tried to use his speed and skate the puck out but he was smothered by the Jets left-wing-like lock and Setogouchi was able to blast a shot form the top of the circles: Varly snagged it though.

Duchene line came out at the 8 minute mark and O’Reilly made a great bank pass to a streaking McGinn took the puck on a 2 on 1. He tried to make the correct play and pass to Duchene but it was blocked by the prone Jets defenseman.

After a few icings, Duchene line got a nice O-zone start. Duchene got the puck behind his net and did his thing. The defender was hanging on him and he spun the puck to the front but the puck trickled wide. Again.

The teams went to commercial break at the 5:53 minute mark in case you were wondering. I take this time to discuss the previous shift. It was a little scary for the Avs. Once the Jets get that forecheck going they have some guys who are very difficult to knock of the puck. Kane, Wheeler, Badfjaurtfdkdfjalyn, Little, Ladd. They are actually built like a Pacific team and I wonder without looking how their record against them is.

After another scary Jets shift, MacKinnon made a great steal and launched Varly and Mitchell on an apparent 3 on 2. Mitchell had a great chance but the shot just snuck wide.

The game turned into a track meet. Duchene got obliterated on a nice open ice hit. The Jets almost scored on a shot but Varly saw it though. O’Reilly was tripped but an unlucky look away from the refs. MYy heart hurts.

The Avs began to look a little tired at this point. You could see their legs start to wear down. With two-ish minutes left, Johnson skated through the zone and took a shot that deflected out of play. That meant a face off in the Jets’ zone. Roy called a timeout. Duchene’s line took the ice. The Jets iced the puck but lost the race so play kept going.

O’Reilly then almost lost his Lady Byng with a semi-trip. Phew. With a minute left, the Jets just started throwing cross-check at Landy. A) you can’t hurt a God and B) what a dirty thuggish team who won’t make the playoffs this year or ever.

The Jets found themselves on a 2 on 1 with Wheeler and Bafjkgairtgadfigadflyn but luckily Johnson was the Avs’ defender. He slid at the right time and forced a tough saucer pass that saw the Jet forward skate a little too far to get a shot. That sliding play is not meant to stop all passes but also to force a bad pass if the goalie in the right spot.

Period over. On to overtime.

Summary: My heart hurts but with this depleted team against a bruising opponent, the one point was just fine.

Overtime:

The Jets took over this overtime (ha ha ha ha). The Avs looked housed and the Jets had some great movement and great possession. The still kept trying those low wraparounds on Varly and I just cannot figure out why. That’s not the book on Varly. At all.

As the Jets kept pressuring, Holden stopped a great 2 on 1 and tipped the puck out of the rink. Duchene and O’Reilly came on next. The Jets got called a hand-pass so the faceoff was in the neutral zone. Holden took the puck back and Barrie and Duchene passed back and forth for position and skated it into the zone. Duchene took the puck from nearside corner, spun around the defenseman, lost the puck on his move but it bounced right back to him and he backhanded the puck past Montoya. What a play by Duchene. 3-2 Avs.

Game over. Fuck you Byfuglien and your cheap shot on Varly deserve to dwell in the basement of this division.

Summary: The Avs never varied form their game, even with a depleted lineup. The Jets are a tough, thuggish team and the Avs did well. They looked tired but they made simpler plays than usual and it paid off when your stars perform like stars. The Power Play was an nightmare but I believe that was more due to the Jets strong PK and less an Avs bad Power Play. Great win for the Avs and they keep pace with Chicago, who just happens to be the next opponent.

Three Whores:

3rd Whore: Johnson. I seem to always choose him but he was a rock tonight. He got a well-deserved assist but he was a force. When he was on the ice, but for one miscommunication, the defense looked calm and un-phased by the Jets.

2nd Whore: Varly. In the first he had to make eye popping save including what was for him an easy penalty shot. In the end, both goals were not even remotely his fault and he did what the Avs needed him to do with 33 saves on 35 shots.

1st Whore: Duchene. I cannot fathom how tired he is right now. It seemed like every shift, he was a threat to the Jets. It wasn’t just his speed but his ability to control the game when his line had the puck. The goal was not his most beautiful but it was pure hard work and it rewarded what was a tough, grueling game.

Honorary Whore: Montoya. That dude played amazingly and the Jets are lucky to have him. He can flat out steal games and he had to make some highlight reel and amazingly reactionary saves. Good for him.

See you Wednesday. My liver feels weird.

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