November 18, 2007
After all my whining, I was able to find the game on Center Ice. It'd the FSN crew (again), Dan Terhaar and Mike Greenlay. As I've mentioned before, I'm quite fond of this crew. Greenlay is very insightful, and both are generally able to maintain a neutral keel.
Mikko Koivu is out, thanks to a sleazy slash from Matthias Ohlund. Koivu kills the Avs, so that should work out well for us. Marian Gaborik is back, though, so the injury news isn't all favorable.
Peter Budaj, who hasn't played since last Sunday (against the Wild) vs Josh Harding.
20:00 Opening faceoff is…Stastny, Hejduk and, yes, Ryan Smyth. I am happy!
19:30 Liles snuck in towards the goal for a scoring chance. He crashes hard, though, and goes off gingerly.
18:50 The Sakic line comes out – Sakic, Brunette and Wolski. These two lines are perfect/
18:17 Gaborik and the Wild get a 3 on 2 breakaway, but don't manage a shot. Gaborik turns it over…breaking Sakic and Wolski get a 2 on 1 the other way.
17:53 Kyle Cumiskey gets his pocket picked by Peteri Nummelin behind the net.
17:22 And we've got a Brad Richardson sighting – Richardson is out with Arnason and Svatos. I am simply loving the lines tonight. 4th line is Guite, Smith and Hlinka. Perfect.
17:03 Minnesota goes on the powerplay – Smith for hooking.
16:52 Avs PK have killed 20 seconds of the penalty –so they are already doing better than their last 2 games.
16:32 Gaborik is left alone next to Budaj. Budaj goes down, Gaborik waits for a perfect shot…and never finds it. Gaborik has had 2 excellent chances already tonight, but hasn't been able to pull the trigger.
15:10 Guite and I think Brad Richardson get a scoring chance shorthanded.
14:34 Smyth is out with Sakic, and Liles is back on the ice. Perhaps they just got out of sync due to the kill.
12:03 Veilleux makes a play similar to Gaborik – holding the puck forever waiting for Budaj to commit early, and ending up with nothing. They've seen Budaj twice now, but I can't imagine that they've seen something to make them think he's going to make an early move like that.
10:22 Minnesota has been gathering momentum in the last two or three minutes. Lots of puck possession and sustained pressure.
8:51 Richardson makes a great play, leaping around a Wild defender at the blueline, leading to a Liles point shot. Welcome back, Richie.
6:23 Smyth has been out there regularly with Stastny other than that one shift after the PK.
5:01 Richardson forces a turnover with an aggressive forecheck. He's looking solid tonight.
4:18 Voros scores to make it 1-0. You can back up this play about 15 seconds to see its genesis. The Wild dump it in on the right side boards. Liles is the first to the puck, pressured by James Sheppard. The one big weakness in Liles' game is handling the puck with pressure in his zone; he's a surprisingly good defender if he's one on one against a puck carrier, but when he's got the biscuit, he loses all composure. He tries to chip this one out, but it bounces right off of Sheppard. The Wild get possession, work hard along the boards with it, Foy is able to walk in front to take one shot and, eventually, Voros is able to punch it past Burdaj to give the Wild an early lead.
3:10 Gaborik to Belanger to crossbar. The Avs dodge a bullet, as that was almost 2-0. As this period progresses, the Avs are looking more and more like the Avs on Friday. I'm starting to regret finding the broadcast.
1:14 Johnsson goes to the box for holding. A great opportunity for the Avs to salvage the first period.
0:00 Colorado gets several good chances on the PP, but can't push it home. Much like I wrote on Friday, the Avs are really lucky to be just down a goal. Hopefully, unlike on Friday, they can build on that in the 2nd period.
18:15 Jeff Finger leads the rush with a big shot, and Arnason gets a juicy rebound.
17:20 Both teams have had a bunch of early chances so far. Kind of a carbon copy of the 1st period in that it's starting out even with a lot of chances both ways. I hope it doesn't progress…er, digress, the same way.
16:28 I need to stop doing that. Foy scores to make it 2-0. He breaks in on the RW boards and has Voros breaking to the net. He fires it at Budaj. Budaj attempts to deflect it away from the path of
Voros, but ends up having the puck get past him and into the net. A goal that Budaj would like to have back, very much like the 2nd goal that Theo gave up on Friday. There are so many parallels to that game, it isn't funny.
13:44 3 on 2 for the Wild. Budaj makes the save. Barely.
13:28 This 3rd line for Colorado has nothing to show for their effort yet, but they've been great. This time Arnason steals the puck on the forecheck.
11:48 Liles, under pressure from Veilleux, clears the puck to…a guy wearing red. Sigh.
9:18 Parrish "hooks" Jeff Finger. Really, Finger fell while Parrish was skating with him. Not a dive, just a bad call.
8:22 My word. The puck spends about an hour in front of the Wild net with every Avalanche player taking a swipe at it. No one can get it past Harding. Lots and lots of chances there.
4:52 Arnason breaks in alone on Harding. Harding stones him
4:45 Veilleux breaks in alone the other way. Budaj does not stone him. 3-0 Minnesota. That sucked to watch.
4:03 This didn't. Hejduk circles behind the net. One the way up the side boards, he backhands an innocent looking puck to the net, and it finds it way in. To say it was an odd angle is an understatement – Hejduk was a foot behind the goal line when he let the shot go. It catches Harding by surprise, and the lead is cut to 3-1.
2:44 The wheels are falling off the bus. Rolston feeds Burns breaking to the net. Burns one-times it past Budaj. 4-1 Minnesota. The Avs have been outscored 10-2 in the last 5 periods. Maybe it's good that I'll miss the next two games.
2:01 To their credit, the Avs are working hard – probably harder than they've been working all night.
:17 Smith takes a shot from about the same place that Hejduk did. Brunette tried one a little earlier. Guys, it was a fluky goal – you haven’t discovered his secret weakness. Meanwhile, Voros and Finger jaw after the whistle. They fought last Sunday (briefly) and, as I discovered later, they have a history of, um, unfriendliness in the AHL as well.
0:00 Guite has hit just about everyone wearing red in the last 20 seconds or so. The Avs still have a HUGe mountain to climb if they want to escape with a point tonight. They could start by trying to practice a little puck possession.
18:26 Nummelin pokes the puck away from Scott Hannan. Hannan recovers, thankfully, as there was no one else between Nummelin and the Budaj.
17:19 Voros and Finger battle behind the net. Finger shoves Voros several times, but has a hard time moving him off the puck.
15:22 Dominic Moors gets called for hooking.
13:54 Cumiskey falls down in the offensive zone, which sends a Wild player the other way. He's fun to watch, but he has to stop doing that.
13:13 Stastny's centering chance just misses finding Ryan Smyth in front.
12:28 Cumiskey, pinching for the 3rd or 4th time this period, loses the puck for at least the 3rd time. He stays on his feet, though. Again, fun to watch…but frustrating to see him make mistakes when he's trying too hard. I love the creativity, but he might be more successful if he dialed it down a little bit.
11:14 It's 1-0 in shots this period (Minnesota has the one). The Avs have no shots despite having a PP.
10:20 Foster interferes with Andrew Brunette, sending him hard to the ice. The Avs get two more minutes to showcase their futile road PP.
9:45 Hejduk (from that same spot he scored on early) tries to center to Smyth, but Harding robs him with a great stab of the glove.
5:30 Guite to the box for something.
0:00 It's over. The game, the stay in first place, my confidence in the team. It's gone.