I didn’t get an opportunity to recap Saturday's big win against the Hurricanes, but, man, what a win. I sure hope that's a sign that our offense may be rebounding. The five goals we scored was the most in a game since that 9-5 win against the Blues over a month ago (December 9th). The Avs had some good lines rolling last night – Tyler Arnason, Marek Svatos and Wojtek Wolski was one of the better 2nd lines we've played in some time. And there was in interesting new line created in the 3rd period last night – Jaroslav Hlinka, Cody McCormick and Cody McCleod. I don't know if we'll see that line repeat tonight, but I, for one, wouldn't mind a repeat.
Tonight it's the Avalanche against the Panthers. I've got the FSN Steve Goldstein and Denis Potvin. I'm a big fan of Denis Potvin the player. The color guy? Not so much. He's about one step above Terry Crisp on the Annoying As Hell Ladder.
One thing I noticed when looking at the shift chart of our last back-to-back road game (all the way back to last Wednesday), was that Quenneville was unusually consistent with the lines. For most of the game, he was rolling four lines, one after another, with very little deviation. I don't think I've seen such a clean looking shift chart all year from the team. In fact, the only real deviation was late in the game when he gave Cumiskey two shifts on defense (you probably recall how that worked out for us).
Theodore is getting the start for the 5th straight time. I wasn't all that thrilled with Theo's performance last night (that's what she said?), but I'm not at all surprised to see him in net again. Tomas Vokoun will be the guy at the other side of the rink.
20:00 Stastny, Hejduk and McLeod start the game for the 2nd straight game. This line had all of five shifts together last night before McLeod gave way to Andrew Brunette. Quenneville has done this a LOT lately with the 1st line – start someone on the left wing and then abandon the experiment by the 2nd period. I'm not quite sure how this would help Stastny get untracked.
19:11 McLeod has an early impact again – he and Nathan Horton have a quick fight at the end of their first shift. Double minors for roughing for each guy.
18:56 Wolski, Arnason and Svatos are up next. As I mentioned above, I liked this line a lot last night. We've joked a lot about Arnie's return of late, but he has had an impact.
17:47 Hlinka, McCormick and Lappy. Very similar to the McLeod, McCormick, Hlinka line from last night. This could be a good one.
16:53 Finally it's Guite, Brunette and…Stastny. The early double-shift means either Parker is playing or maybe Boychuk is dressed as a 7th D. I'll guess the latter.
16:40 And they score. Brunette just outworks two Panther's in front of the net. It's a great individual effort to carry the puck to the front of the net with a player draped all over him and then he's able to slide it under Vokoun for the early goal.
15:56 I guess wrong – Scott Parker is in the game.
15:37 Remember that paragraph above about consistent, unchanged lines? Scrap it. Here we've got Guite, McCormick and Hlinka. They get pinned into our zone big time.
13:54 Brunette is up with the Stastny line already. What was that this time? Three shifts?
13:28 Stastny is clipped by a high stick. Bouwmeester is the guy with the errant stick.
13:17 Potvin mentions that he expected Budaj tonight, especially since Theodore let in two questionable goals last night. My opinion of him as an analyst improves substantially.
12:29 Leopold is on the point, and looks good at it. Shocking.
11:46 The PP ends a little early. Svatos trips someone. At least there's no chance of giving up the game winning goal…
10:33 Former Avalanche Brett McLean is causing trouble in front of Theo on the Panther's PP.
9:39 Svatos ends up with the puck on his stick after stepping out of the box. He had a breakaway on Vokoun, but his shot went wide right.
9:17 Lappy and Montador drop the gloves right off the faceoff. That's the 4th fight by four different Colorado players in less than 24 hours. If you need ANY evidence that this team is tougher than it was last year, that's it right there.
7:12 Let's make that the 5th Avs fight. This one's a little different than the others, though. Right before this, Brett Clark catches Ollie Jokinen with a high stick. Jokinen flops to the ice as if he's been shot, but doesn't get the call. On the same shift, he's still pissed off about that, and gets an opportunity to hit Clark behind the net. He does, the two start jawing, and eventually square off in a short, relatively harmless scuffle.
5:20 Potvin enlightens me with something I did not know – apparently, the Avs do not allow injured players to talk to the media (he's discussing Sakic and the fact that no one knows what effect this injury might have on any thoughts of retirement).
5:08 The Panthers tie it. They're on the PP. From the point, Bouwmeester one-times it from the point and it beats Theodore to the stick side. It's possible this one was deflected slightly, but, if it was, it was an almost undetectable change in angle and the puck still had to travel 50 some feet WHILE BOUNCING. That's not a goal an NHL goalie should be giving up.
4:28 Stephen Weiss enters the busy Panther's penalty box, with a call for holding. That dangerous Colorado PP is going back on the attack.
3:38 No sooner do I notice that Jeff Finger is playing the point…Finger ends the PP with a boarding call right in front of the ref. It's one of those plays where a player stops and turns towards the boards with the puck. The puck carrier Oliesz might as well have hung a HIT ME HARD sign on his back, as there's not much Finger can really do there BUT hit him into the boards. Potvin, who seems hellbent on making me like him tonight, totally defends Finger on the play. "That's not why that penalty is in place."
:05 Skrastins falls down while winding up for a mighty slapshot. Just what the game needed – a little levity.
It was an eventful period – 3 fights and numerous penalties. With all the penalties there wasn't much flow in the period, especially in the 2nd half. 38 penalty minutes in the first half.
During the intermission, they interview Steve Montador (who had fought with Lappy in the 1st). They asked if he tried to protect his black eye during the fight, and Montador essentially shrugged it off as "just a scratch". I love hockey players.
I am a big loser. My wife wrote that when I stepped away for a second, but I think I'll keep it in. Wait until she sees what I did with her homework!
19:48 We're shorthanded again. Hejduk is off for hooking. This is getting a little silly.
17:55 The Panther's were thisclose to scoring, with 3 good shots on the net. One was blocked by Theo, one went off the post, and one went wide. Theo was beaten on the last two. Lucky.
16:43 Hannan breaks up a 2 on 1 chance by the Panthers, and Theodore is there to stop the shot by the trailer.
10:49 Leopold gets run off the puck in his own zone. Haven't seen that from him lately, thank goodness.
9:48 The Panthers seem to have a sizeable hitting advantage in the 2nd period. They've pasted a bunch of our players.
8:42 Bouwmeester breaks up Wolski and Svatos 2 on 1, much like Hannan did a few minutes earlier.
8:37 I missed it, but I guess Bouwmeester got a delay of game on that play. Avs go back on the PP.
8:02 Leo and Clark on the point. Liles seems to be getting less PP time tonight
7:07 2-1. The Avs convert on the PP. Liles on the right point (!) crosses to Finger on the left point (!!). Finger one-times it. Vokoun makes the save but Svatos, with Montador draped on his back, gets to the puck first and backhands it in. It's the first PP goal in 8 freaking games. Geez.
5:01 David Booth ties the game. Horton has the puck behind the net, and Booth slides into the slot. Horton finds him, Booth fires it, Theodore makes a lazy stab at it, and we're sitting at 2-2. In case there was any question, this is not the top-of-his-game Theodore from earlier in the week we're seeing.
1:00 Old friend Brett McLean accidentally fires it over the glass to get delay of game. I hate this penalty and, it seems, so does Denis Potvin. I'm afraid I'm going to have to eat my words on Potvin – he's been excellent tonight.
:36 Clark and Leopold again were on the first unit PP.
20:00 Liles and Finger start the period with the 1st unit PP. I'm not really sure how I feel about Finger, but I'm willing to see how it pans out. It's not like they are going to get worse.
18:00 That Hlinka, McLeod and McCormick line (the McLinka Line?) is back together. I still don't understand why Q doesn't START with the lines that we all know he's going to finish with.
16:37 Parker makes his presence felt, dropping Salei hard to the ice and into the boards.
15:45 Horton takes down Hejduk at center ice with no puck anywhere nearby. He goes off for interference. I personally thought they missed an interference call against Stastny a few seconds earlier, when someone got in his way in front of the net. This one was certainly more cut and dry than the other one.
15:00 Dvork and McLean go in 2 on 1. McLean tries to force it through Theodore's feet, but can't jam it home. Meanwhile, Svatos gets called for – you guessed it – tripping. Marek, they don't miss those, you know.
12:42 A big hit by the Avs, and I was pretty sure before I looked that it would be the McLinka line on the ice. Codyslav?
11:49 Brunette scores. Brunette is camped in front when Hejduk shoots it from a sharp angle. Vokoun makes the save, but Bruno is there to bang home the rebound. Colorado takes a 3-2 lead.
10:36 There's pushing and shoving in front of the Florida net after a whistle. Want to guess what line is out there?
10:22 Parker gets called for roughing. After seeing the replay, I don’t have the foggiest idea why a penalty was called.
9:52 Jokinen rings it off the post. McLean almost gets to the rebound, but one of the defensemen knock it away at the last moment.
8:33 Theodore gets lit by another 50' slapshot. Jokinen beats Theodore to the stick side. No deflection on this one, just a clean shot all the way through. It's a good shot, but one Theodore needs to stop. 3-3, and all three given up were weak, in my opinion, but the two PP goals were especially ludicrous.
7:59 Horton goes off for interference again.
7:52 Clark and Leo on the point again.
7:16 The puck was in the paint and screaming for Brunette, but it got swept away before he could collect his hat trick.
6:11 One thing about the PP tonight – there's been a lot of sustained play in the zone. The point men have done a solid job keeping the puck in and the play rolling.
2:20 Svatos completes a shift without tripping anyone. I know, the guys been carrying our team and I'm acting like a total prick. Sorry.
1:36 The Stastny line has had a ton of chances here in the 3rd. So close.
1:29 Theo almost blows it – he comes way out to retrieve a puck, but his sloppy clearing attempt is taken over at center ice. Someone fires it on the empty net, but it goes wide.
:27 And he does it AGAIN. Stop handling the puck, Jose. Please. Theo turns it over to Weiss in front of the net, and Weiss misses a wide open net.
Theodore just aged me by about 3 years, but the period ends in a tie. We're going to OT.
In the last 24 hours, I've watched two hockey games and two and a half football games. The team I've been rooting for has won every game, and all have been close (Patriots, Avs, Chargers and Giants). If the Avs can pull this one out, it becomes the perfect sporting weekend.
4:52 Not surprisingly, Stastny and Brunette are the first pair of forwards in the 4 on 4. I wonder if the Codys will get out together.
4:44 After a frozen puck, Stastny stays out but is joined by Hejduk.
4:05 Wolski and Svatos are another logical pairing, and, sure enough, here they are.
3:41 Hlinka and Hejduk. Hannan gets a good shot in the slot (good feed by Hlinka). David Booth ets his stick on the shot to deflect it high.
3:02 Who the fuck is this David Booth guy? He's peppering Theodore with shots in the OT.
2:59 Stastny and Wolski out together. Stastny tries to find Liles with a long headman pass, but it's a bit behind JML.
2:39 Arny out now with Svatos.
1:55 Arnason skated towards the net, but turned and headed to the bench when it was clear he'd have to make contact with someone to get there. That's the Arnason I remember.
1:21 Hejduk and Hlinka again. Panthers go offside, negating about 17 more scoring chances by that Booth fellow.
1:02 Stastny and Bruno again. This time the Avs go offsides.
:39 Svatos and Wolski. Svatos almost gets a funky deflection.
No one scores in OT – we're headed to the shootout.
Florida will shoot first. Nathan Horton…a rather pedestrian looking top shelf attempt goes wide.
Svatos next…slides to the backhand but couldn't convert.
Weiss…he also goes to the backhand but, like Svatos, ran out of real estate.
Wolski…he goes to the backhand but can't collect it.
Jokinen…he also goes wide. Not one of these attempts have been on net yet.
Hejduk…he feathers it low to the far side to win the game, and to give me a fantastic sports weekend.