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Game Notes: Game 9, Avalanche at Oilers

1st Period

20:00 As predicted, the Oilers prepared a lengthy video tribute to Ryan Smyth. The Alberta native received a touching standing ovation before the game. Smyth's emotion was obvious as he stood on the ice before the opening faceoff.

19:58 Budaj vs Roloson tonight. Nice to see Quenneville sticking with Budaj.

19:16 Not only does the game feature two divisional rivals, but it also showcases two of the worst of the Reebyuck jersey redesigns. Both clubs took huge steps backwards on the fashion front.


17:53 Wyatt Smith seems to be still entrenched on the 3rd line. Tyler Arnason has had some good games against the Oilers, but he'll have his work cut out with Smith and Laperriere on his wings.

16:23 Cumiskey is in the game. Seven defensemen for the Avs (Altidude Mike Haynes says it's 7 forwards, but we know that's not correct).

15:53 First penalty of the night – Edmonton's Denis Grebeshkov. Grebeshkov is a former Manchester Monarch.

15:24 Reasoner almost scores shorthanded right off the bat. I don't believe the Avs have given up (or scored) a shorty this year.

14:30 One thing about Colorado – Edmonton games: lots of guys had multi-goal games in these meetings last year.

13:44 Tyler Arnason comes back for the puck and caught the Oilers sleeping, firing a long pass to Svatos at the blueline. Svatos had slipped behind both defensemen, and was all alone on Roloson. Roloson makes the big save to keep the game scoreless.

11:43 Hlinka is out on the right wing with Stastny and Smyth. With 11 F and 7 D, I imagine the lines will be a bit wonky all night.

10:29 Arnason makes a stellar play in the defensive zone, stealing the puck from Grebeshkov. At that point, there's for dark sweaters behind the puck, giving Arnason and Lappy a 2 on 1 break with just Tom Gilbert back. Arnason keeps it the whole way, fakes a pass, and then blasts it past Roloson t give the Avs a 1-0 lead. Amazingly, he maintains his look of bemused indifference through the entire post-goal celebration. I think if I were to start an Avalanche blog today, I’d use a name like or something.

8:02 Just seconds after Clark makes a good play to keep the puck in the offensive zone, he makes a bad one leading to a goal. The Oilers start out of the zone. Clark goes for the puck instead of putting his body on his guy (Cogliano). He misses badly and his late attempt to check Cogliano goes nowhere as well. Cogliano skates on in with Penner, 2 on 1 with just Leopold back. Cogliano drops a nice pass across a sliding Leopold to give Penner a wide open net to shoot on. 1-1. It's the 2nd straight goal that Clark has messed up on.

7:35 2-1! Right away, Jaroslave Hlinka collects a rebound from a Liles slapshot and deposits it past Roloson. It's Hlinka's first goal (nice job grabbing the puck for him, Ben Guite). The line on the ice – Arnason, Guite, Hlinka – is an odd one.

7:11 Arnason stickhandles in with 3 Oilers flailing at it. When he's on his game, he really looks amazing.

5:35 Sam Gagner becomes Finger food (Finger flattens Gagner behind the net). Welcome to the NHL, Sam.

5:07 You could see this developing for a little while – following the crushing hit from Finger, Matthew Roy and Ian Laperriere were involved in some pushing and shoving for some time. Lappy got a lot of licks in, even pausing to take of Roy's helmet. Lappy gives Roy a pat on the back when it's over.

5:03 The Oilers Jean-Francois Jaques runs at Finger to retaliate for the Gagner hit. Guite and Staiois are involved in the pushing and shoving as well. Jacques gets penalized. Two minutes for being a bozo.

4:35 Reasoner AGAIN gets a shorthanded breakaway to start the PP. Sakic gets back to strip the puck away before Reasoner can get a shot off.

3:17 The Avs have had very little going on either PP tonight.

2:29 Torres hits Sauer and bounces back like he's hit a brick wall.

2:15 Hlinka makes a nice play with the puck, holding it to wait for a breaking Hannan. The Avs are sending their defensemen to the net a lot this year. So far, they haven't had a ton of success with it.

1:32 Liles is sporting a badass looking beard.

1:17 3-1. The Avs win an offensive zone faceoff. There's a scramble in front of the net – it looks like Roloson has the puck under him, but it trickles in. Finger gets credit for the goal – he's the one who took the shot – although Wolski might have tapped it in front. If it holds up for Finger, how unlikely is it that Sauer and Finger would have the first 2 goals from defensemen this year.

:42 Staios levels Guite in the offensive zone.

:27 Arnason gets another shot on the net and the look on his face says…nothing, of course.

Arnason gets interviewed at the intermission, and almost cracks a smile. Twice.

2nd Period

20:00 It looks like the goal has been switched from Finger to Wolski.

19:55 It looks like the defensive pairings were generally stable in the 1st – Hannan & Sauer and Finger & Liles seemed to stay together consistently. Clark & Leopold were usually matched together, although I saw Cumiskey out for Leopold at least once.

18:19 Leopold gets decked by Penner at the blueline.

18:05 And then has the puck taken away from him behind the net.

16:37 Wow – the Oilers are 5-20-1 since they traded Smyth away. Of course, one of those 5 wins was against us. Not that I'm bitter.

15:17 Big save from Budaj

12:40 Roloson glove save on Smyth. The puck was going wide, but Roloson makes a flashy save anyway.

11:53 Budaj makes an almost identical save at the other end. More flash than substance. I love it.

11:19 This is an extremely ugly period so far. Very little flow.

10:49 Cumiskey makes a good defensive play to take the puck away from and Oiler. Then he gives the puck away…only to get it back right away and then leads the rush up the ice. He's a lot of fun to watch.

10:31 Reasoner trips Arnason to put the Avs ontheir 3rd power play. Might I suggest getting Smyth back to the net? He's been gravitating back towards the perimeter in the last few games.

9:41 Liles blocks a shorthanded shot from the Oilers. Edmonton has had the best chances on the Avs PP tonight.

6:50 Lots of hits out there recently, many initiated by the Oilers.

2:46 Arnason is just ridiculous tonight. This time, he makes a beautiful centering pass to Wyatt Smith. Smith can't convert.

1:32 First Edmonton PP of the game. Wolski for hooking.

3rd Period

16:49 This game has slowed down to a crawl. The Avs have shifted to a defensive posture. In the past, that meant just hang back, close your eyes and pray. Tonight, they actually are playing strong defense.

15:07 Maybe I spoke two soon: two icing calls in the last minute or so.

10:37 Wow, this game has become incredibly dull. There's been some chances, but Budaj has been strong. In between the chances – lots of dump-ins and icing.

9:18 Penner gets Leopold again.

9:15 3-2. After the hit, Gagner picks up the puck along the boards, and dishes it out front to Tom Gilbert. All 5 Avalanche players get caught on the puck side of the net. Not one is on the backside where Gilbert is. The crowd is re-energized.

7:25 The Avs have had 3 consecutive shits where they've spent a lot of time in the offensive zone. That's exactly what they need to do to close this out. In other games, I might be worried, but I have a lot of confidence tonight.

6:35 Smyth steals the puck and breaks in. The puck is poked away at the last minute.

5:15 The Avs have really kept the pressure on.

4:26 Raffi Torres has a wrecking ball of a shift. I still dislike him tremendously, but that was an awesome shift. Also a superb dive right at the end after Hannan touched him lightly. (no call)

3:30 Sakic has two big steals in the last few minutes.

2:54 Hannan has been playing great defense tonight. I really like the Sauer – Hannan combo.

2:14 Lappy blocks a big shot from Staios.

2:12 He gets the puck stuck in his equipment, apparently resulting in a long search from the linesmen to find the puck in his clothes. THAT elicits a smile from Arnie.

2:07 Hemsky hooks Hannan. Hey guys, WATCH OUT FOR REASONER.

1:50 Arnason gets time on the first PP

:51 The refs even up the call, taking Hannan off for holding. 4 on 4 now, with, presumably, the Oilers about to pull Rollie to make it a 5 on 4.

:17 Clark scores an empty netter to seal the victory. There's that 2nd goal from a defenseman this year.

Great win for the Avs. They let off the gas a little too much, but were able to turn the burners back on at the end to keep the puck away from the Oilers. Great game from Budaj.



Since the NHL has changed their format around a bit for the score sheets (gee, thanks Tapeleg), the line report might be late tomorrow. I do have the shift chart up, though. Notice that Jordan Leopold didn't play in the last 10 minutes or so of the game. In fact, his last shift was the one that ended with the 2nd Edmonton goal, about 11 minutes in. He got shoved down on that play, and on a couple of shifts previous; not sure if the absence was injury related or coaches decision.