I had every intention of getting this recap out right away. I was totally writing it in between periods, and I had all kinds of info at the ready to put into it. But then.. this game. I had to take it at my own pace, and keep the paddles at the ready to revive myself. Also, drinking. In moderation. But only when compared to this game.
This game didn't start off overly well for Colorado. Early on, it seemed like we were able to keep up with the Ducks; lots of back and forth play, as if both teams were feeling each other out. Varly made a couple of saves, but it didn't seem that off between the two teams. As we approached the 10 minute mark, it became clear that our play was falling behind Anaheim. We were spending more and more time in our own zone, and Varly had to come up with a couple of really nice saves.
The Avalanche lines looked like they were still getting used to each other; I didn't get to see last game, so I don't know if it looked similar. But I felt like we were just a little out of sync at first. John Mitchell has been brought up to fill Stastny's spot (which I wasn't really expecting, for some reason), and Brad Maloneand Paul Carey are filling out the lower two lines. Carey especially caught my eye; his skating really is quite good.
At 8:11 into the period, Malone was called for hooking after Mathieu Perreault snaked his way around him on a rush into the Avs zone. The Avs didn't do very well on the PK; the Altidudes said that we held the Ducks to only one shot that PK, but I felt like Anaheim was dangerous the entire 2 minutes.
At this point, the Ducks led the shots 12-2. Fighting against the shot ratio, John Mitchell used a screen in front of Jonas Hiller to put a snap shot past him. It was the third Avalanche shot of the game. Guess he wanted to celebrate that new contract.
Its like that goal turned the Avs on. The forecheck got more aggressive, the pace of the game a bit quicker, and more back-and-forth action. That energy causes ANA to take a penalty trying to contain MacKinnon, but the Avs couldn't solve the Duck's aggressive forecheck. Even after the failed PP, the team kept coming, kept pushing the pace and keeping Anaheim contained.
We finished the period strongly, bringing the shots total up to 12-13, with Anaheim with the slight lead.
Tensions started pretty high with a lot of speed; it was reinforced when Nick Holden finished a check just after the whistle blew 70 seconds into the 2nd. You could tell that some blood pressure was raised, even tho no one visited the box. Varly was tested early on, and it took the Avs a couple minutes to put together any offense. The best moment was a Ryan O'Reilly breakaway off of a fantastic pass from Matt Duchene(slapfight hivemind?).
At 3:08 into the period, Daniel Winnik put a nice wrist shot into the Avs net. It was over Semyon Varlamov's glove hand, so its like he wasn't expecting it. Also, Winnik did do a good job of selling the pass, so I guess it confused our tender for a moment. 1-1. (I'm going to start keeping track of the score at each point, we are going to need it soon)
Matt Duchene decided that this wasn't the best way to run a railroad, so he and Andre Benoit decided to try and take the lead again. While Benoit isn't known for his blazing speed, he used what he had to get Dutchie the puck, and they had a great opportunity on Hiller and drew a penalty. This directly led to a very nice Avs PP, in which McGinn scored a nice goal as he crashed the net and picked up an awesome pass streaking thru the crease from Radar. 2-1 COL.
And then the unpleasantness begins. The Avs were a little scattered a couple minutes later, and Patrick Maroon was able to send a little pass around Andre Benoit and to a crashing Kyle Palmieri, who had beaten Talbot. Palmieri out-waited Varlamov, and snuck the puck around his skate before he could close it against the post. 2-2 Tie.
47 seconds later, the Ducks scored again. Palmieri again. Colorado was caught looking; there was some kind of missed assignments, and the no one picked up two ANA players standing right outside of the crease. Palmieri happened to be the one that banged the goal home. The Avs look terribly flustered, and needed a moment to compose themselves. They wouldn't get it. 2-3 ANA.
Anaheim scores again, making it three goals in less than two minutes. Cory Perry with a shot from the circles after a nice Teemu Selanne feed. I would say that the Defense should have done a bit better here, but Varly could have done a better job, too. 2-4 ANA.
Finally, the Avs are able to get a bit of breathing room. The 4th line buys the guys a bit of time, Talbot maybe saves a goal, and Tyson Barrie upends Mathieu Perreault behind the Avs net. But it doesn't last long.
The fifth goal against was one of those terribly unlucky bounce; a Ben Lovejoy slapshot bounces off the back boards and hits Varlamov in the back and bounces into the goal. Awful, icky luck. And with that, Varly is pulled from a game for only the second time this year. I wouldn't say that Varly really played that bad of a game; the Ducks are a damn fine scoring team, and the rest of the team left him out to dry a couple times. But then again, he wasn't very sharp, either. Lets say that Varlamov played well, but not excellently, and we've gotten used to only excellence from him. 2-5 ANA.
So, Jiggy comes in. Will the change in net give the Avs the jump that they need? It didn't seem like it at first, when the Ducks may as well have pitched tents in our zone, and Giguere had to be sharp immeidatly. But shortly thereafter Jamie McGinn draws a penalty as he managed to drive to the Anaheim net. The Ducks' PK was active and aggressive, stopping us from even making it into the zone, until only 35 seconds remaining. At that point, an Erik Johnson slapshot from the point rattles around in front of the net, and McGinn is able to bury it behind Hiller. 3-5 ANA.
The good energy continues as Cody McLeod steals a bad pass in the Ducks zone and puts the puck on net, resulting in a faceoff in Anaheim territory. Immediately after the resulting faceoff, Captain Gabriel Landeskog steals the puck and out-waits Jonas Hiller to put a gorgeous backhander into the net. It was really was a lesson in patience. The Ducks had sat back on their heels a bit, and it we were able to turn the tables on them. 4-5 ANA.
But, that playing on your heels thing is contagious, and while we were caught up in the euphoria of our comeback, we slopped it up and the Ducks scored. Mathieu Perrault shot a clean wrister from way back, and Giguere was completely screened and never even saw it coming. 4-6 ANA.
Absolute madness period. 9 goals scored, thats one every 2 minutes 13.2 seconds. Wow.
The Avs came out fast, hoping to tie up the game early, but it was derailed when Landeskog was called for a 2 minute charging call against Daniel Winnik. Now, I am not a ref, but I thought that call was BS. I still have it saved on the DVR, so I'll check it again, but I don't think Landy left his feet any more than most hits in this game. Winnik turned his back on an approaching player while playing the puck. Play the body. Whatever.
In the ensuing play, Nate Guenin took a puck to the face, and had to go off the ice at first opportunity to see if he could be fixed. Which was like 30 seconds after taking a slapshot to the jaw. Don't ever tell me hockey players ain't tough.
Anyway, the Avs did a really nice job of killing off that penalty. At first. But then, after some shenanigans in the corner, Perreault and Johnson get into it, and Johnson punches him in the face. The problem was that he was still holding his stick at the time, and was given and 5 minute major and an ejection for a cross check to the face. Perreault was being a dick, but that doesn't justify an idiotic play like that. Just hip check him into oblivion next time.
Colorado did an awesome job killing off the 4-on-3, and then the 5-on-4 for 3 minutes. It was some of the best PKing I've seen from this squad in a long time. They did it without Johnson, too, and most of it with Guenin, who only came out for the last bit of it. The Ducks got only 1 SOG that whole time. After that, we had a full 13 minutes of time left, and it was up to us to try and even things up.
The Avs then got a PP after Mitchell drew a slashing penalty. We tried to take advantage of the man advantage, but it was a little sloppy until the end. At the end, Nathan MacKinnon tried to shovel an errant flying puck into the net, but the refs waved the goal off as a high-stick. I got super pissed, not because I thought the stick was low enough, but because the puck first bounced off of Jonas Hiller's back. I think that Nate did that on purpose, trying to get it low enough that maybe it would bounce in without having actually been knocked in by a high stick. But, unfortunately, the rules state:
When an attacking player causes the puck to enter the opponent’s goal by contacting the puck above the height of the crossbar, either directly or deflected off any player or official, the goal shall not be allowed.
Curses. I thought we had it for sure.
And then tempers flare! It started when Ryan Getzlaf pushed a chirping Talbot into the Ducks bench through the open door, and I thought the benches were going to empty. Most of the fireworks happened verbally after the on-ice scrum had been cleaned. I'm no lip reader, but I could figure out what Cody Mac was saying to that shitheel Cory Perry. Patrick Bordeleau and Patrick Maroon both got matching misconducts for reaching around the recently-reinforced glass partition. I really wanted someone to start some real shit, but I think that was just the whiskey in me talking.
After my blood was up from that, I finished watching the game, in which Roy pulled Jiggy with like 4 minutes left when we had a Getzlaf roughing PP, but the end result was that the Anaheim defense was too tight, and we couldn't score, even with the two man advantage at the end.
So, what's the final word? The final word is that we got sloppy, both on the ice and in net, and we couldn't contain a club that iced a better lineup than we did. With all the chippy stuff (which might bubble up again the last game of the season, the only other time we see the Ducks), and the sloppy play on both sides, it was entertaining, but ultimately frustrating, because I don't think that we played our game well at all. Also, Fuck Cory Perry.
I should also note that the Duchene - O'Reilly hivemind is really going to be awesome in the coming years. Please, Powers-that-be, make it happen soon.
Jamie McGinn – 2 goals
Gabe Landeskog – 1 goal, 1 assist
Johnny Mitchell – 1 goal, 1 assist
Next up: At the Ottawa Senators, Sunday at 5:00pm Eastern.