It was early in the year and the Avalanche came in to Boston rolling with their backup. They came away having stolen a 2-0 win despite being heavily outshot all game long. Giguere made 39 saves in the shutout. Jump cut to a large 4 casting a dark shadow.
Tonight the Bruins (and their half building of noisy expat fans) came into Denver, got outshot all day long, and came away with two points. The Avs had better chances and more of them. Their pucks found pads and posts. Boston made good on two pretty okay chances and brought it home from there.
Let's run it down.
Game starts with way too loud a "lets go Bruins" chant. Theme of the night. I had no idea so many Massholes lived in Denver.
Nick Holden takes a big hit from Miller like a minute and a half in. The Avs take offense but the refs are already there to make the call for getting the elbow out. The Avs keep the puck in the Bruins zone for most of the two minutes but come away with a single, nonthreatening shot to show for it. Boston does a fine job keeping the puck in the corners and getting in shooting lanes.
5 minutes in, Marchand beats Guenin in deep on a forecheck and then McGinn fails to clear. Probably because of Chara draped all over him. Dougie Hamilton finds a way to get the puck through to Patrice Bergeron, who had burned Holden, and Varly makes an initial save, but no one's around to clear the rebound and Bergeron tucks it home.
Next up it's Chad Johnson Time as the Stastny line generates a couple of great chances, resulting in a post for Gabe Landeskog and some wonderful pad saves.
At 7:46 the Avs dump the puck in and Talbot looks like he's in a good position to keep possession, so naturally Cody McLeod gets in a fight with Gregory Campbell. The Bruins immediately win the faceoff and go the other way. Bergeron has a solid chance in the slot and just misses wide. Boston dominates play for a couple of minutes after that. These are just facts I discovered, presented without comment.
oh hey Malone is the 4th RW. Couldn't remember. Relatedly Barrie is a defenseman. He is not Brent Burns and he is not Dustin Byfuglien. The time to make radical roster adjustments is past.
Now it's the Avs turn to maintain possession, as Duchene and Talbot's lines both generate great looks at the net. More Johnson Time. He was solid in the first, and when he wasn't his posts were.
The next chance of note comes with a little more than 4:00 left as Brad Malone has a full empty cage to shoot at. Cory Sarich of all people leads the rush and puts a smart shot off the far pad, which kicks directly to Malone. Shawn "The Code" Thornton's #goodstick keeps him from getting a proper shot off and it drifts wide. Saved a goal, he did.
The sooner everyone stops acting like this guy's name actually is Dougie the better, I say.
A minute to play in the first and Jamie McGinn gets his stick lifted REALLY hard by Chara, away from the play. McGinn high sticks himself and draws the penalty on Chara. Landeskog has the Avs' best chances, and they have a few more that just wouldn't come together due to bouncing pucks, but no SCOAR.
Period ended 0-1. Shots ended 14-6.
The rest of the power play would pass without incident, though the Avs did total 3 shots on it. What followed was exactly the same as the first. One team would weather a flurry of blows, finally recover, and then we'd go to the other side and do it again. This was a game of zone exits. If you could control the puck out of your zone, you were about to have at least two shifts in the other team's end. Flip it out? It's coming right back. Maybe you'll get a change. Maybe you'll just get pinned.
I think someone is banging on the glass directly on the microphone.
Talbot and Cliché have the best chances for the Avs, and Patrick Bordeleau lets fly some dangles and a beauty of a chip pass that made us all double check his jersey number. Duchene also has a fantastic feed from the corner to Jan Hejda, who was crashing the far post, but Boston extends their lead to 2 #goodsticks to none and keep him from getting a good touch away.
Next shift the other way Landeskog decides he's really quite tired of the residual Flyers Stank wafting off of Andrej Meszaros and trips him up as the latter chases the puck. He would go for interference, or tripping, or something. Don't worry it wasn't important I'm sure Altitude would have told us if it was. Carl Soderberg would rip one that maybe nicked a little bit off Eriksson's boot and zipped right up over Varlamov's shoulder. The ref waived it off, because, well, derp I guess, but it would count to give the Bruins a 2-0 lead.
The rest of the period continued the same theme, but with the Bruins' increasingly physical play, just on the borders of interference, starting to frustrate and exhaust the Avalanche. Duchene in particular took a rough hit from Chara that he wasn't entirely set for and came up smarting, but he stayed in the game. The period ended 2-0.
The similarities to October end in the third as the Avs go well over half the turd period without a single shot on goal. They go the first seven without a single shot attempt at all. Odd man rush after odd man rush. Varly stands tall, keeping his suddenly puck-averse team in striking distance.
How has the glass-slapper not been ejected or at least asked to knock it off yet? Everyone watching on TV can tell who it is. It has to be annoying everyone around him.
Nathan MacKinnon would draw a penalty, and the Avs would keep getting their chances, and keep not getting goals out of it. And now the Avs are back to neutral zone struggles again, hardly able to CLEAR THE FUCKING PUCK let alone get any zone time of their own. They have no idea how to handle the forecheck Claude Julien's team is throwing at them.
Roy pulls Varlamov super early, as of course is tradition. This is normally a very smart move, though five minutes in a game in which the team simply cannot get through the neutral zone is kind of pushing it. Benoit and Stastny would make saves on one scary sequence after Chara missed the empty net.
The red line doesn't seem so far away when it's Zdeno Chara shooting from it.
With 2:12 to go Roy finally takes his timeout. The Avs have mustered 4 SOG in the period. As the Avs sustain possession with less than a minute to go, Andrej Meszaros just casually pushes the net off intentionally. Which, in the last 2 minutes, should be a penalty shot for delay of game. Naturally there was no such call coming. Also no Avalanche goals.
For two periods every puck hit Chad Johnson. In the third, not enough pucks got through to him. The Avs drop their first shutout of the season.
Lines were something like
11 9 90
92 26 29
55 25 4
58 24 42
Holden played all up and down the pairings though.
MHH 3 Avs of the Game
1. Semyon Varlamov kept this thing from getting really out of hand in the third.
2. Gabriel Landeskog led the team with 5 shots.
3. Whoever punches that guy in the burgundy third behind Varly right in the face for slapping the glass all night. You are the hero Denver deserves.
Post of the Night and a million stick taps
go to ExiledAmongYou for posting a link to this fine bit of research into when is the optimal time to pull the goalie. I have been looking for it for at least a year. THANK YOU SIR. FUCKIN SAVED.
The Avs get a well deserved few days off before they head to Nashville on Tuesday to face the Predators.