I just finished watching last night's game (we got up early this morning to endure the sub-zero wind chill to get a Christmas tree). I won't do a full recap, but other's have you covered there (MHH, Avalanche Talk, and Jibblescribbits who attended in person).
I have to admit, I have a much rosier take on the game than my fellow circle-jerkers do. Yes, the Sharks outplayed the Avs. But, for the first time in weeks the Avs came up against a team playing at the top of their game and didn't fold. Unlike the Stars or Flames debacle, the Avs hung in there. The Sharks are a damn good team (I personally think they are the best team in the West) and were playing inspired hockey. The fact that the Avs were able to hang in there and have a chance to tie it late is encouraging. Maybe I'm just a glass-half-full-guy.
- I thought the Avalanche defense played a very solid game despite the loss. Hannan was physical for the 2nd straight game. Cumiskey, Liles, Finger, Sauer...good games from all. I would have had Clark on here too, but that play late in the 3rd when he completely dogged it and then took a boneheaded penalty was just ludicrously awful.
- Yes, the Sharks were more physical than the Avs. But the Avs didn't turtle. Guys like Guite and Sauer and Wolski were giving a little brotherly love back to the Sharks as well. I loved watching Sakic, Brunette and Wolski get involved in the after-whistle scrum (and Wolski with a roughing penalty? Nice!).
- Craig Rivet and Kyle McLaren both had 6 hits in the game...but also had some brutal turnovers. Rivet was largely to blame for the Avs first goal, and the 2nd goal went in off of McLaren's skate.
-As Shane mentioned in his recap, Drew Remenda is an extremely opinionated analyst. I find that he's tolerable when he does San Jose games. Not so when he's in the booth for Hockey Night in Canada games. That's when he adds a strong Canadian bias to his opinionated spiel, moving him solidly into the "unlistenable" category. Apparently, that's not a word. Sorry.
-TJ Hensick made his debut on the 3rd line as expected. As others have mentioned, he looked like he was a bit nervous.
-Sharks coach Ron Wilson didn't seem to have any hesitation about putting the Thornton line out there against our "checking" line.
-I will never, ever grow tired of watching Jeremy Roenick stand at the door of the penalty box whining about a penalty. For crying out loud, he hit Milan Hejduk in the face with his stick; what the fuck can he be complaining about? I am certain that when Roenick finally retires and makes the inevitable move to the box he will become a homer that would rival NESN's Andrew Brickley.
-Jaroslav Hlinka still looks good on that 2nd line.
-I'm no NHL coach, but it seems to me that when the Sharks were putting the muscle to us, it might have made sense to use Cody McCormick out there to throw some bodychecks back in the other direction. McCormick had just 8 shifts in the game, and just 2 the 2nd period when the Sharks had that big stretch of hits. Isn't that what he's in the lineup for?
Something I just noticed when doing shift charts - Kurt Sauer had just one shift in the 3rd. Huh???