It seems as though the Colorado Avalanche think a hockey game is naturally 65 minutes long instead of 60, because they've been playing for overtime pretty consistently. The good news is that they've been winning in overtime (and the shootout), but the bad news is they're giving their opponents a point each time. But whatev. A win is a win and every two points is precious.
Last night, all seemed lost. Or, I should say, all sounded lost, because I was stuck listening to a delayed radio feed and couldn't actually watch the game. Some genius in Toronto decided that the NHL Network counts as a national television station and therefore the Center Ice feed (both TV and online) was blacked out. The NHL Network is available in less than 10 million homes across the U.S. To understand how pathetic that is, consider that there are more than 7 million households in the New York City television market alone. But I digress.
Last night, all seemed lost. After playing the Canucks to a stalemate, a crazy scrum in front of the Avalanche net ended with a review by the officials and a goal awarded to the 'Nucks with under two minutes left to play. Coach Q pulled Theodore and sent out an extra attacker (who wouldn't?). Usually this common play doesn't work, but this time the extra traffic in the Vancouver zone was enough to distract Roberto Luongo just long enough for Joe Fucking Sakic to flip a backhand shot top shelf and tie it with just under 15 seconds left to play. All of sudden it was Christmas morning.
The OT period was uneventful, and the game went to a shootout.
Let's just say the shootout went pretty well. In case you're at home keeping score, the following three players are money: Joe F. Sakic, Marek Svatos, and Jose "Pimp Cane" Theodore. Hot damn. The Avs won a game that seemed completely lost, 3-2.
I also have to apologize to John-Michael Liles. On the 19th, I said he was "crap," which, at the time, was absolutely true. But since then he's improved considerably, scoring four assists in five games, not to mention a key shootout goal against Phoenix, like he's supposed to. John, if you're reading this, my bad, dude. My bad.
It got a little scary in the second period when Adam Foote took a slap shot to the funny bone and left the ice for a while, but he returned in the third period and looked no worse for wear (or, at least he did according to the radio guys). If he'd gone out so soon with an injury I'm not sure I would have been around to type this today.
Ruslan Salei seemed to fit right in, playing 23 minutes, taking two shots and making two hits (third on the team behind Lappy and Guite), not to mention scoring an assist on Sakic's heroic third period goal. One of his hits was a huge leveling of Markus Naslund near the goal.
Foote played 23 minutes and Scott Hannan again led in ice time with 28.
The Avalanche now return home to Denver, ending the five-game road trip with a record of 3-1-1 and now sitting pretty in the eighth Western Conference playoff spot. They're tied in points with Nashville but have more wins. Hopefully the Avs can improve their play at home and keep the winning streak alive---this time of year it's pretty much a necessity.
Stars of the Game:
- Pimp Cane (29sv, .935)
- Long Robot (24sv, .923)
- Joe "Burden To The Team" Sakic (1g, 0a)