The Avalanche came from behind again, but this time the Flames didn't get a point from the loss, as Colorado rolled over them 4-1. The Flame-Outs are now 0-1-2 on the season against their hated rivals from Denver.
Once again, strong goaltending on the part of Jose Theodore made the big difference, but also some superb work by every Avs defenseman. They all played very well throughout the night. Colorado seemed to be channeling the Red Wings for most of the game, as they controlled the puck on every end of the ice, controlled the passing lanes and the end boards. The Avs outshot the Flames 36-24.
Offensively, Wojtek Wolski, Milan Hejduk and Paul Stastny had the biggest impact, with three goals and five assists among them. The Duke now appears to have regained his swagger from before his back injury and Son Of Stastny has reconnected with his beloved Czech linemate. Wolski, first rumored to have moved to the first line, retained his position on the second and benefited greatly from it. He had a goal and two assists, both of them in the third period and both helping Stastny to score.
The real surprise of the game was the strength of a new line combination consisting of Ian Laperriere, Andrew Brunette and Tyler Arnason. Despite only Bruno scoring a point (the first Avalanche goal in the first period), the line really seemed to click and was able to control the puck easily. They had some great scoring chances.
The highlight of the night was Ben Guite's HUGE hit on Dion Phaneuf, who left his feet and fell hard to the ice. He appeared shaken but stayed in the game. The Flame-Outs appeared to act tough early on and then cowered away the rest of the game. Phaneuf especially was much quieter than usual. And in the one fight of the night, Lappy easily beat the hell out of Eric Nystrom in the second period.
All-in-all, a great win by the Avs and another critical two points in the race for the Northwest Division title.
On a slightly-related note, thanks to Jibblescribbits and Mike @ BBnR for the superb game commentary that quickly devolved into totally inappropriate image-posting. Hilarity ensued. Oh, and it's not recommended you read through the thread while at work or in the company of your girlfriend/wife/mother. Just sayin'.
The next game for the Avalanche is another divisional match against Edmonton, once again at home in the Pepsi Center on Wednesday.
Stars of the Game:
- Wojtek Wolski (1g, 2a)
- Paul Stastny (2g, 0a)
- Milan Hejduk (0g, 3a)