The Avalanche left most of their stars at home, but still managed to beat Dallas 6-3. The Avs dressed just 11 forwards and one - Mark Rycroft - left the game just 8 minutes in. That left the team with just 3 lines for the rest of the night - 3 lines of guys not named Sakic and Stastny.
It didn't matter. Down 3-2 early in the 3rd, the Avs scored 4 unanswered goals (including a Cody McLeod empty-netter) to blow past the Stars. Eric Healey and TJ Hensick each had 3 points, while Jarslav Hlinka had 2 assists. All three of those forwards (who played together tonight) have been making strong bids to make the team. On the defensive front, John-Michael Liles had 3 assists, while Jordan Leopold had 2 points - one being a powerplay goal. Peter Budaj and Michael Wall shared goaltending duties, and both seemed to play well.
The game was a bit nasty, with 96 penalty minutes, 2 ejections, and numerous fights. Mark Rycroft and Krys Barch started things off 8 minutes in (Rycroft left the game after the fight). Barch and Ian Laperriere got together next, followed soon after by a tussle between Brad Winchester and Cody McLeod. Scott Parker finally joined the action midway through the third, tangling with that Barch fellow again. And then it got interesting (from the RMN):
With five minutes remaining, Laperriere said, [Todd] Fedoruk told him before a faceoff he planned to fight defenseman Kurt Sauer, who is 6-4 and 220 pounds but hardly is a fighter.
"(Fedoruk) said, ‘I have to do something, I haven’t done anything. I have to go after somebody,’" Laperriere said. "Well, he won’t go past me."
Laperriere wasn’t penalized after the altercation, but he was given the heave-ho during the Avalanche’s ensuing power play for high-sticking and cross-checking Stars forward Jussi Jokinen.
"I thought it was a stupid move by Fedoruk," Laperriere said. "I told their bench, ‘The next time I’m out there, I’ll do something stupid.’ It was a clean, stupid thing, I guess."
Man, I love Lappy. And I detest Jussi Jokinen. I would have loved to see that.
One final bit of good news - the Avs won the faceoff battle! The team was at 56%, thanks to Tyler Arnason at 73%(!) and Wyatt Smith at 70%. You don't see that every day.
The lines are very screwy, thanks to the 7 D, the Rycroft injury, and all the penalties.
The two main lines seemed to be mostly:
- Hlinka - Healey - Hensick
- Woslki - Arnason - Laperriere
That left McLeod, Smith, Parker and Guite to shift around.
On D you had
- Sauer - Leopold
- Liles - Finger
- Skrastins - Boychuk
I noticed a few instances of 3 D on the ice at the same time (Skrastins - Boychuk and Cumiskey, usually). I'm assuming Boychuk was seeing some time at forward, but without having seen the game, I'm only speculating.