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Recap: Ducks 3, Avalanche 2 (SO)

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Well, I will say this about Joel Quenneville: he's consistent. His team has consistently shown that trying to protect a 1-goal lead with, say, a third of the game left to be played is futile. And yet, he soldiers on. Anyone who didn't know the Avs would go into their shell with a 2-1 lead hasn't been paying attention to the team this year. And anyone who didn't know the team would not be able to hold that lead...well, let's just say there aren't very many of you out there, other than our coach.

The Avalanche did a lot of things right in the first 40 minutes of the game, especially on the offensive side of the coin. The Avs outshot the Ducks 21-10 through the first two periods, and the team's hard work led to goals by Jeff Finger (a one-timer set up nicely by TJ Hensick) and Andrew Brunette (a rebound from a John-Michael Liles point shot). While the Avs weren't playing all that well defensively (more on that in a bit), the Ducks were having a tough finding the net, and Colorado's mini-scoring outburst (two goals!) had them up 2-1 at the second intermission.

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You know how this plays out, even if you didn't stay up for it. The Avs turtled in the 3rd period, trying desperately to cling to the 2-1 lead. Only 3 NHL teams have more losses in one-goal games, so it's not exactly news that the team couldn't stay in front. While some teams make a living in these sorts of situations, this team isn't one of them. Most teams seem to protect a lead by clogging the neutral zone with bodies. The Avalanche instead kept four guys back in their zone, essentially just waiting for the Ducks to come in and take their shots. For a team that struggles with clearing attempts (and let's face it, neither Peter Budaj or Jose Theodore are exactly Martin Brodeur between the pipes), this strategy just seems...idiotic. Shockingly, the Ducks scored when the Avs failed to clear (when 8'11" Chris Pronger knocked the puck out of midair and fired it on net). The lead was gone, and the best the Avs could muster was a point for losing in the shootout.

While the Avs held the Ducks to 22 shots, they had some issues defensively. Scott Hannan seemed hellbent on making me look like a fool for yesterday's article and turned in one of his worst defensive performances in weeks. Kurt Sauer and Jeff Finger (wearing a face shield because of an eye injury) both had strong games, but, in general, the low shot total was more due to the Ducks either missing the net or fanning on glorious scoring chances. All six penalties taken by the team were by the D - 3 by Hannan. This game could have easily been much worse.

{{notes}}

I didn't take publishable notes for the game last night, and I think that trend is going to continue. Unless there's a huge outcry, I'm going to take a break from the game notes / live blog thing except for special occasions.

{{lines}}

I will, however, probably do a little post like this at the start of the game showing the lines. As I mentioned last night, every single line and defensive pairing was changed for the game. Karlis Skrastins and Jaroslav Hlinka - who played probably his worst NHL game on Monday - were scratched in favor of Kyle Cumiskey and Scott Parker.

{{quick}}


  • Not normally a shot blocker, Kurt Sauer had 5 blocks to lead both teams. The 5 matched a season high set just 5 games ago against Vancouver.

  • With a 53.8% faceoff percentage, the Avs won the battle of the draw for the 3rd time in the last 20 games.

  • Budaj is now 6-3-4 in his last 13 starts.


{{next}}

The Avs travel to Pheonix to take on the Coyotes on Friday.

{{other}}

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