If you went to bed early, you missed the only exciting part of the game: the final 3 minutes. Up until then, it was a Grade A snoozer, with each team getting just 23 shots on net. Colorado dominated (or Columbus was flat) for the first 50 minutes of the game. The Jackets finally woke up in the final half of the 3rd, but couldn't quite complete the comeback.
Here's some highlights of the game...
15:25 Some guy from Columbus named Marc Methot (?) takes a run at Marek Svatos with elbows higher than a disco dancer. Svatos deftly ducks out of the way.
14:52 Brett Clark, maybe the most underrated D in hockey (note to self: get ready for the feedback on this one), makes a great play at the Columbus blueline, calmly circling back to avoid a defender, while keeping the play onside. The Avs don't score on the play, but do get a scoring chance. Clark is so good at handling the puck, and I think the Avs would benefit from him carrying it more.
11:56 Jeff Finger runs Jason Chimera into the boards. Hard. Chimera chases Finger down, and the two fight. Chimera wins it pretty easily, but that doesn't stop Finger from joining Mark Rycroft as the only Avalanche without a nose made of mincemeat to have a fighting major this year. Chimera gets an extra 2+10 for instigating.
7:51 Ron Hainsey for holding (against Rycroft). Turns out, this is the last penalty that Columbus would take on the night.
7:19 On the powerplay, Milan Hejduk drops it back to John-Michael Liles. Lile's takes a shot, which gets deflected through Fredrik Norrena's pads by Andrew Brunette camped in front of the paint. Colorado leads 1-0.
4:43 Jeff Finger levels someone inside the Columbus zone. That kind of hitting is refreshing to see.
2:41 Ken Klee gets called for a hold on Rick Nash. Columbus fails to convert on this one, on the way to an 0-4 night.
Maybe one of the most boring periods of hockey. For anyone not named Jeff Finger, that is. 12 shots total - 9 for Colorado, 3 for Columbus. Zzzzzz.
16:34 Curtis Glencross hits the crossbar on a shot.
2:15 Paul Stastny has a great scoring chance, but shoots wide of an open net. Stastny has been beyond terrific this year, but he seems to miss these kinds of shots quite often.
2:07 Stastny redeems himself. After the above play, Jeff Finger keeps the puck in at the blueline, passes it to Milan Hejduk, who gets it to Stastny in front of the net. This time, Stastny converts. Colorado leads 2-0, and Finger gets his first NHL point.
18:40 This one already is more interesting than the last one. Rusty Klesla gets a hard hit on Joe Sakic in the corner. The normally unflappable Sakic was decidedly, um, flapped. He took a chop at Klesla's skates after the hit, and had a bit more to say after the whistle. The teams all met at center ice to exchange recipes, and things calmed down almost immediately.
17:36 Ken Klee gets called for hooking, one of 3 Avalanche minors in the 3rd period. Colorado seems to have been taking an inordinate number of penalties in the final period lately.
15:43 Are they really playing Wilson-Phillips on the PA system? Seriously?
15:38 Today's recap is otherwise completely empty of Ossi Vaananen criticism. I'll break from that here to illustrate one thing I don't like about Vaananen's game. Just a few seconds before, Budaj freezes the puck, and, after the whistle, Manny Malhotra slams Vaananen to the ice. Ossi's response is to...get up. Hell, he can't even be bothered to cast a mean look in Malhotra's direction. Over the last two seasons, I've seen players too close to an Avalanche goalie after the whistle with Vaananen on the ice, and often (not always), Ossi just stands there. Meanwhile, on the next faceoff, there's a quick shot and another frozen puck. This time it's Sauer on the ice, and - I think - Chimera in the crease. Sauer hacks at Chimera. They don't fight - it doesn't have to go to that extreme. Sauer was just letting the other team know they can't take liberties in the crease like that, and that was it. Ossi Vaananen has to put the effort in to make that same message, and he doesn't do it often enough.
13:10 Richardson and Hejduk get a 2 on 1 breakout - Richardson looks explosively fast on the play. Richardson shoots (I think pass was a better option there) and misses, but it's a nice play nonetheless.
10:32 Rick Nash gets dumped by Ken Klee. Clean hit, but Nash is pissed after the play (probably at himself more than anything). Nash has struggled lately, which has Peter McNab depressed.
9:46 Geoff Platt falls with the puck inside the blueline, giving the Avs a 3 on 1 chance. Brett McLean makes a good pass to Marek Svatos by the goal crease, but Norrena makes a great read to stop it.
8:00 Paul Stastny gets called for hooking.
7:08 And Brett Clark for interference. Avs are 2 men short, and 2 key penalty killers are in the box (and another on IR). Kurt Sauer and Ken Klee start out along with normal 5 on 3 killer Joe Sakic. Columbus looks awful on the powerplay; it's much easier to kill penalties when the other team doesn't move.
2:09 Mark Rycroft makes it 3-0. Ben Guite steals the puck behind the Blue Jacket goal and passes it back to Rycroft. Rycroft gets his 2nd goal in as many games. Surely, this one is over.
1:56 Rick Nash makes it interesting, deflecting Hainsey's shot past Peter Budaj.
28.5 And Nash makes it interestinger, scoring another goal to make it 3-2. The Jackets get one more chance as time is expiring, but can't quite convert. Colorado wins. It shouldn't have been this close, but it's a win.
I don't have my spreadsheet with me today to tally the stats. Brad May was traded, so Ben Guite gets back in the lineup, centering the 4th line. Also, Wolski and Richardson swap places on the first and second lines, a move that makes a lot of sense to me.
- Sakic, Wolski, Brunette
- Stastny, Richardson, Hejduk
- Arnason, McLean, Svatos
- Guite, Rycroft, Laperriere
- Clark, Sauer
- Klee, Vaananen
- Liles, Finger
- The #1 guy in ice time - for both teams - was Kurt Sauer.