How cool is this? It's an Avalanche game starting before 9 PM! I'm a happy camper. For the first time in a while, DirecTV's Center Ice is offering both feeds tonight. They still don't indicate which feed is on which channel, though, so I randomly was assigned to the FSN Ohio broadcast. Hello Jeff Rimer and Danny Gare.
Budaj vs Leclaire tonight. Leclaire is one of what seems to be a long string of goalies who always seems to play well against Colorado.
20:00 No surprise for the draw – Stastny, Hejduk and Smyth.
19:33 As expected Lappy is in the lineup tonight. He's out there now on the 2nd line with Arnason and Wolski.
18:44 The line almost scores. Arnason digs the puck off the wall and feeds Wolski. Wolski dishes to Laperriere who is tripped in front of the net (no call).
18:23 But, 20 seconds later Wojtek Wolski does get called for tripping.
17:15 Stastny and Hejduk advance shorthanded, and joining the play is…get this…Karlis Skrastins. Skrastins gets knocked down as he's shooting, ending the threat.
16:13 Smyth, Hensick and Svatos are the first EV line out after the penalty is killed off.
15:50 Budaj makes a good glove save.
15:35 Boll takes a bit of a run at John-Michael Liles after Liles clears a puck, and is immediately challenged by Cody McCormick. It's over too quickly, but McCormick does get some good shots in before the two fall to the ice.
14:37 This time out, Brunette is left wing on a line with Hensick and Laperriere.
13:47 And now it's Lappy, Arnason and Wolski again. Hlinka by the way, was out there with McCormick and Brunette before the McCormick fight, so those are our 12 forwards tonight. No Guite, No Richardson. Still a bit foggy on the lines…
13:27 Peter McNab's favorite player, Rick Nash, scores. Kris Beech skates into the zone. Clark fights him for the puck, and Hannan focuses too much on that battle and loses sight of the dangerous Nash. Beech dishes to Nash and Nash does a little spinorama move around Hannan and beats Budaj 5-hole. Avs are down 1-0. Other than Edmonton, I wonder when the last time we scored first was?
Commercial Break: Dude!
12:30 I see Brad Richardson on the ice, which makes me pause and count players again. After taking off my socks (I needed to get to 12), I figure it out. Smyth, Stastny, Hejduk, Wolski, Arnason, Laperriere, Hensick, Svatos, Brunette, Hlinka, Richardson, McCormick. That makes more sense. Guite is still a scratch.
12:24 Not surprisingly, Hitchcock has Peca out there against the Stastny line. Foote too.
10:44 Man, Cumiskey is F-A-S-T.
8:21 Liles returns the favor against Boll a bit, dropping him to the ice behind Budaj.
7:20 Wolski and Arnason put an awesome-looking give and go together. Arnason rips it off the post.
6:26 It's all Colorado right now.
6:16 Brunette dumps Chimera. I rewind and watch several times.
4:56 Somehow I missed this until tonight (or maybe it's new). Ryan Smyth seems to be wearing an A. I know Brunette is wearing one and I assume Lappy still has his. Has Smyth been given an A while Sakic is out? Now I have to see if Lappy still has his. I'll feel really silly if this has been like this all year.
3:18 Curtis Glencross puts pressure on Brett Clark at the Columbus blueline, and ends up forcing Clark all the way back to the Avs zone.
3:13 Well, I'm not crazy – Lappy still has his A. So, I guess Smyth is the 3rd assistant captain with Sakic out. I don't remember reading that memo.
Colorado played a good first period…but Columbus has the 1-0 lead.
Peter McNab joins Gare in the booth during the first intermission. Gare asks McNab about the Avs. "I think they are a team that feels they have underperformed." More candid than he would be on Altitude, I think.
19:15 Avs are going on the PP. Rick Nash for some unknown infraction.
18:44 Quenneville persists with the 4 forward thing on the PP.
18:14 Wolski, the point man, gives up the puck when Federov forechecks him when Wolski has to go back for the puck.
17:35 And Wolski scores. Clark to Hejduk. Hejduk shoots from the the left wing. It's blocked, but the rebound goes right to Wolski's stick in the opposite faceoff circle. Wolski one-times it past Leclair to tie the game.
16:16 Nash makes a similar move to his first goal, spinning to put the puck on his backhand. Budaj is not at all ready for the shot, but does make the save.
13:47 Superb give and go to break Glencross to the net, but Budaj is in position to make the save. That's a Budaj save there – all about being in position.
13:30 Cumiskey trips up Fedorov to put the BJ's back on the PP
10:38 Dan Fritsche gets called for interference.
8:22 Liles gets a big hip check on Fritcshe at center ice, hard enough to send Fritcshe's helmet flying. It ends up breaking Nash in one on one, but was still a lot of fun to watch. Two good hits by Liles tonight. He's vastly improved in that area this year.
6:22 Fedorov makes another steal behind Budaj with a strong forecheck. This time, he picks the pocket of Finger.
3:20 Earlier in the game, they showed tape of Glencross saying that the team felt they could knock the Avs defensemen off the puck. They certainly are doing a good job of that tonight.
2:49 Leclair makes a BUNCH of good saves. After the puck gets stopped, Liles and Fritsche get involved in some heavy pushing. The linesemen separate them before anything gets started. To Liles' credit, he didn't seem to be shying away from the potential confrontation at all.
2:48 The play above is under review. The puck appears to trickle over the line before Foote clears it at the last minute. From the goal cam, it doesn't look like it's over the line, but from overhead, it looks like a goal…and it is! Colorado takes a 2-1 lead. I believe it was Wolski who last touched the puck for Colorado.
2:20 Stastny gets credit for the goal, and Liles and Fritsche get roughing penalties.
1:57 And they score again. Leclaire freaks out. Finger fires it at the net, and Leclaire is screened by Ryan Smyth. Screened is a generous term. He was rather draped all over Leclaier, although I personally don't think it was a penalty. No one in Columbus agrees with me, of course. 3-1 Colorado.
The Avs have outplayed the Blue Jackets tonight, but have needed two lucky breaks to take the lead. Colorado is up 3-1.
20:00 Fredrik Norrena replaces Leclaire to start the 3rd. The FSN guys are still harping on the Smyth non-call. Personally, I think we'd be farther up in the standings if Smyth did that more often this year.
14:48 Lots of heavy hits from both teams. Clean hits, but hard hits.
14:20 Fritsche has a golden chance, but it's blocked by Skrastins.
12:53 Nash scores on a wraparound. They've been pressuring in the period, and Nash gets a pretty wraparound where he uses his long reach to beat Budaj on the far side. That's an NHL 93 move right there. Ironically, Fedorov was the guy I generally used to make that play.
12:01 Finger gets called for an elbow on Chimera. Unfortunately, the FSN feed is breaking up, so I have no video for the PP at the craziest point in the game…
11:14 Video is back.
11:00 Budaj has been looking around for the puck a lot this period. He doesn't seem to have his normal composure.
10:34 And Joakim Lindstrom scores. Or, as the FSN guys put it, "Doctor Power Play comes through". Beech to Lindstrom in front for an easy tap in. The Blue Jackets tie it up. Quenneville calls a time out. In other news, that cannon is freaking annoying. 3-3, and the crowd is going wild.
9:47 Fedorov gets called for holding. Gare hates the call. Shocking.
8:27 Another scrum after the whistle. Foote shoves Stastny to the ice and then jumps on him. Not a penalty.
7:44 The Jackets kill off the Federov minor.
6:58 Budaj makes the save of the game, robbing Brule from a one-timer in the slot.
5:16 Zherdev makes it 4-3. That fucking cannon. Zherdev gets it in the slot, waits for Clark to drop to the ice, toe drags it around Clark's body, and beats Budaj.
4:35 I can barely spend a moment being depressed, as Hannan rifles one over the glove of Norronen. What a HUGE goal!
4:16 And the video goes out…and someone scores. I can hear the fucking cannon and Gare laughing, so I know it's Columbus. Fritsche, apparently, but I have no clue what happened. What a HUGER goal.
2:43 Budaj makes a glove save after a Zherdev breakaway.
:56 Empty net.
:45 I could not be enjoying this game any less.
:20 Foote just misses the empty net. It ends up being icing.
That's it. The deflating game is over. That's a coach killer there, folks…