The time machine has been fired up, and the new-old Colorado Avalanche are revving for a playoff push. Last night, they beat the Calgary Flames in OT, 3-2 (of course - the last 4 Colorado games have been 3-2 games). Since I'm kind of short on time today, I'm going to do this recap in bullet-point style...
- Adam Foote joined the team, but missed most of the 1st period. He played 18 solid minutes, but wasn't yet inserted on the PK. That meant PK time for John-Michael Liles (2:45) and even a shift for Kyle Cumiskey. Liles played very well on the kill (again, I think his defensive ability is one of the best kept secrets in the NHL). Cumiskey did not, failing to cover Dustin Boyd on the Flames' first PP goal. Cumiskey was probably going to be caught in a numbers crunch anyway, but his last two disastrous games haven't helped his cause any.
- The Avalanche scored 2 PP goals for just the 3rd time in 35 days, and just the 7th time all year. It marked just the 2nd time they've done it against a NW division team. Both goals were huge. Milan Hejduk took an excellent drop pass from Paul Stastny and fired a beauty of a shot through Stastny's legs and inside the far post. Then, in OT, Ryan Smyth made a gorgeous pass to Stastny all alone beside the net. Stastny booted the puck on a similar play against Edmonton, and also earlier in this game, but converted this time to win the game. This line is showing signs of coming to life, which, as Martha says, is a good thing.
- Also looking good: Joe Sakic. He played 21:39 and seemed to get stronger as the game wore on. And he had several scoring chances even though his linemates - Wolski and Brunette - didn't look all that hot. I'm guessing when Forsberg returns (the Calgary announcers mentioned that may be tonight), he will play with Sakic and Brunette, with Wolski moving back to the Arnason line.
- There was a controversial call in OT that led to the game winning goal. Jarome Iginla tripped John-Michael Liles, but the Calgary fans (and Mike Keenan) were arguing for a dive call on Liles. I'm not really sure how I would have called that play, but after listening to the Calgary PBP guy calling for penalties on the Avs all night long, I was happy with the call.
- Dion "Cream Puff" Phaneuf continues to be a cowardly cheap-shot artist. He challenged Cody McLeod in the early part of the game, but when McLeod dropped his gloves, Cream Puff refused to answer the bell. Instead, he moved on to easier targets, with a disgusting hit from behind on Ben Guite near the boards. Then he needed Kristian Huselius to protect him from Kurt Sauer. I would respect Dion's play a lot more if he could man up a little more - he really emulate his captain Jarome Iginla more.
- One drawback of getting all the skilled players back: the Flames really pushed our guys around. Eric Goddard leveled Liles with a monster of a hit, and Robyn Regehr seemed deck Hejduk every time the two were on the ice together (which was often).
The Avalanche visit the Canucks tonight, the last of this key 5-game road trip (the team is 2-1-1 so far). With a win in regulation, the Avs would pull even with Vancouver. I assume Ruslan Salei will join the team tonight (with Foote having all that travel yesterday, will he play again tonight?). Again, the Calgary guys said Foppa might play tonight, although I thought originally he wasn't expected back until after this road trip.
Not a recap, but there's a new (to me, anyway) Avalanche blog worth checking out: The Dog and Pony Show.