I'm watching the St Louis feed tonight, so it's John "Thank you, thank you, thank you" Kelly and Bernie Federko. Odd to think of the Avalanche looking up at the Blues in the standings…but perhaps it's correct; the Blues have had our number lately, including earlier this year.
It's Hannu Toivonen (who I affectionately call "the girl goalie" based on his profile photo) vs Joe Theodore. Speaking of profile photos, you'd think they could get an updated photo of Toivonen to display. You know, like one of him in something besides a Bruin's sweater. Toivonen, in my opinion, is a solid goalie.
20:00 As per the norm of late, the Stastny line starts the game.
18:50 The 2nd line has been shuffled (shocking, I know). It's Arnason, Brunette and Wolski.
18:07 Next up was Hensick and Svatos (good forecheck from Svatos). I couldn't tell who the 3rd forward on the line was.
17:39 The final line is a repeat of the 4th line from Friday – McCormick, Guite and Richardson. I'm guessing Hlinka was the winger on that 3rd line.
17:27 Boyes steals it from Finger and breaks in alone. Thankfully, it goes high.
16:25 Hannan joins Smyth on a rush. His shot is turned aside by Toivonen.
15:15 Kelly mentions that Sakic might start skating on Monday. Good news indeed. I wonder if the time off will end up helping Joe return to form.
14:25 Liles leads a rush with the 4th line. And I do mean leads – he gets to the net before the play does. On the play, Ryan Johnson gets called for a penalty.
14:04 The Blues have the top ranked PK now. Let's see, the Avs played the Sharks twice when they were the top ranked PK and Philadelphia was the 4th ranked team. Six games, 4 top 5 penalty kill teams
12:35 Hinote clears it ahead to Mayers. Mayers breaks in alone on Theodore, but Cumisky, from the FAR SIDE OF ICE, gets over to break up the play. "Who's that superfast guy who broke up the play", my wife asked. Then Mayers bowls over Theodore, knocking the net off its moorings. Then Smyth and Arnason break the other way, and Toivonen makes a great save on Arnason. Wild action at both ends.
10:29 Nice drop pass by Arnason to set up a good scoring chance.
9:47 Jay McClement beats Theodore with a one-timer on the short side. He was all alone, and Stempniak found with a cross-ice pass. McClement hasn't scored since…the last time they played the Avs. Sigh.
7:32 Toivonen gets a rather cheesy call for delay of game, putting the Avs back on the PP.
5:37 The PP ends with Colorado earning all of zero shots.
5:00 Stempniak has the exact same play as the McClement goal set up, but Cumiskey is there to break it up before it can get across.
4:24 Hejduk ties it. Ryan Smyth came in hard on the defenseman behind the net, stole the puck and dished it to a wide open Milan Hejduk in the slot. It's a 1-1 game. Nice hustle from Smyth to set that up.
2:28 I'm not sure that Stastny, Smyth and Hejduk have left the ice tonight. I don't recall seeing Hensick in a long time.
1:38 Penalty on the Avs for hooking. Cumiskey. The Blues spend a long time with the extra attacker to get the puck into the Avs zone for the PP faceoff, but end up going offsides.
1:14 The Blues are using 4 forwards on the PP. Why not – it works GREAT for the Avs…
0:00 The period ends 1-1. The Blues will have 21 seconds on the PP to start the 2nd.
20:00 Just noticed that Hejduk is wearing the A tonight in place of Ian Laperriere (out again). Has a defensemen worn an A since Blake left?
17:27 Arnason is out with Hlinka and Svatos (this is the line Hensick was centering earlier).
16:56 Stastny is behind the Colorado net helping out on defense.
16:31 Brady Boyes backhands one off the post
16:16 Toivonen makes a pad save on Smyth in front. Again, this first line seems to be logging a ton of minutes.
15:22 Mayers came in hard to hit Guite along the boards, but misses…flying by awkwardly.
15:19 Ryan Johnson gets called for hooking. Avs go on the PP for the 3rd time.
14:58 Liles from the point…glove save by Toivonen…rebound punched home by Hejduk! 3rd goal in two games for Hejduk. The Avs take a 2-1 lead.
14:46 There's Hensick out there out with Wolski and Brunette (Bruno has also been scarce tonight.)
14:16 Penalty shot coming up. McClement gets sprung on Theodore. Skrastins hauls down McClement on the way to the net. Luckily, Theodore may be the best breakaway goalie the Avs have ever had…McClement beats Theodore gloveside. Tie game. 2-2. McClement & Hejduk have two goals each.
13:44 I don't really know why, but Arnason and Hensick have seemed to swap wingers after the first shift.
12:52 Both teams exchange pretty 3 on 2 rushes that don't work out.
9:59 Hlinka in the corner feeds a beautiful centering pass to Stastny breaking to the net. Gorgeous pass. Hannan made good play to keep the puck in the zone to set up that play.
8:32 Wolski extends it to 4-2. Wolski cycles to Bruno behind the net. Brunette comes out for a wraparound attempt but gets closed off. Instead, he dishes to Wolski who has moved to the front of the net. Andy Murray calls a timeout to yell at his team. These Avalanche-Blues games seem to take this track more often than not – close for a long time and then one team breaks it open quickly. Usually it's the other way around, though.
6:54 Hlinka almost scores. There's a big battle in front of Toivonen and no one can find the puck. It ultimately gets kicked in, but after a whistle.
6:23 Another mad scramble, and Brunette grabs the loose puck and rings it off the post. You hope all these near misses don't end up biting the team in the ass. Still a lot of hockey to play.
5:22 Stastny and Hejduk on a 2-1. Stastny has it on the left wing and finds Hejduk on the right wing. Hejduk doesn't have a lot of room to do anything, and Toivonen makes the save. Smyth, trailing on the play, can't pick up the rebound. But Clark, also trailing on the play, is able to jam it home. 5-2 Colorado! That has to be it for Toivonen, right?
4:47 I guess not.
2:33 Smyth scores on a wraparound. 6-2 Colorado. These goals aren't really Toivonen's fault – the Blue's D is hanging him out to dry.
0:00 Well, that was quite the period.
20:00 #40 Marek S is in net now. Not that Marek. It's Marek Schwarz for the Blues, replacing Toivonen to start the period.
19:36 Geez. Doug Weight scores on a rebound before most of the fans are settled into their seats after the intermission. Weight was parked in the paint, and Skrastins is…um, hanging on to Weight's back.
18:36 Oh Geez. Perron scores. He gets the puck behind the net and no one touches him as he circles out and fires it past Theodore. I'm hearing cannons. The Avs haven't even past the St Louis blueline yet. Just a 2-goal game now. Crud.
18:24 Richardson hits Stempniak hard into the boards just as the play is being whistled down. Kelly thinks it's Hlinka, but it's Richie. Stempniak takes exception and the two get together briefly to exchange words.
17:11 Perhaps it's my imagination, but Theo looks rather down out there. This could get ugly.
17:01 Interestingly, Murray puts Toivonen back in, now that the Blues are within striking distance.
16:13 McClement: 2 minutes for boarding.
16:00 Oh my – there are two defensemen on the ice on the powerplay! Liles is on the right, Clark is on the left.
14:53 They stay out for the 2nd unit as well (Hensick, Brunette and Wolski)
12:23 For the 3rd time tonight, the Avs come from behind the net on the backhand and get a goal. This time, Smyth feeds Stastny for a relatively easy goal. This line has about 37 points tonight. (I think it's either 11 or 12). 7-4 Colorado. Hejduk has 5 points.
11:46 The Blues are on the PP. I didn't catch the penalty.
11:16 Johnson shoots wide (we've seen that a lot lately) and Kariya rings the rebound off the post.
10:55 According to Kelly, Andy Murray estimates that 70% of NHL teams use 4 forwards on the PP. I'll bet 100% of them do it better than Colorado does.
9:50 This game has slowed right down.
8:35 McKee goes off for boarding Arnason.
8:09 Liles and Clark again. I wonder if this is just for defensive purposes.
7:44 Toss the hats, folks. Hejduk scores from the slot, banging it off of both posts. Hejduk has a hat trick and a 6 point night (career high). Toivonen gets pulled (again) and goes right to the dressing room. Once again, the 6 guys in front of him really let him down today. 14 points for the Stastny line (6 for Hejduk, 5 for Stastny, 3 for Smyth).
7:19 More PP goodness. Erik Johnson off for holding.
6:35 Cumiskey is out there with Liles this time. I’d love to see him shoot at some point.
5:43 Wolski gets his 2nd, making it 9-4. The Avs have 3 PP goals (first time this year). 3 guys have 2 goals tonight. What an offensive onslaught.
2:33 Skrastins gives the Blues a late PP, going off for hooking. He's probably the only player for the Avs tonight that I can single out as having had a bad game.
1:54 Wolski shorthanded goes for the hat trick. Schwarz makes the save and makes an even better save on Hlinka's rebound shot.
:40 Stempniak scores to make it 9-5. Theodore hasn't looked very good in the 3rd period tonight. I wouldn’t quite put him in the "bad game" category, but I wouldn't call his effort tonight a great one. He'll no doubt get his 3rd straight start because he got the win.
0:00 And that's it. Quite a wild one for the franchise's 1,000th victory.