Dissin' the circuit - you say 'why, what this is !'
'cause you rock like a kid
I gotta do it right
This is no kid
- Urban Dance Squad, No Kid
The Colorado Avalanche overcame a sluggish start and a bad goal to extend their winning streak to 3 games. The Avs spoiled the Canadiens home opener 3-2 and continue to hold their improbable perch on top of the Western Conference standings. Bring on those Red Wings.
The Avs didn't look all that hot coming out of the gate. The Canadiens are a fast team and the Avalanche looked a little tired at the start. The Habs outshot the Avs 11-6 in the first, thanks in part to having 3 powerplays. They converted on one when TJ Galiardi overcommitted to one side leaving Roman Hamrlik all alone on the far side of the net. Hamrlik buried Tomas Plekanac's cross-ice pass to put the Avs down 1-0 for just the second time this season. Thankfully, Craig Anderson's stellar play closed the door for the rest of the period and after the first the Habs had just that 1-0 lead.
The 2nd period has been the Avs' period this year as they'd scored 12 of their 21 goals in the middle frame this year. The Avalanche appeared to find their legs in the 2nd period and the decided Montreal tilt went away. And by the time Kyle Cumiskey was finished, it was tilted the other way. Kid Cumiskey played a GREAT game tonight. Paired with Adam Foote after a shuffling of the defensive pairings, he appeared more comfortable jumping into the play offensively. At 13:39 he calmly circled with the puck behind the Montreal net before finding Milan Hejduk in front. Hejduk's shot was kind of weak sauce, but it found a Montreal skate and went in past Carey Price to knot the game up at 1. It looked like that was how the period would end, but with time winding down in the 2nd Cumiskey rushed in and fired a bad angle shot in from the far corner. It took a funky bounce and found it's way in to give the Avs a 2-1 lead.
The Avalanche did a good job holding off the Canadiens in the 3rd, but got a bad break (or two) that lead to the tying goal. About 8 minutes in, the puck got fired into the Avalanche zone and possibly bounced off the netting above the glass. If it did, the refs didn't see it and play continued as Andrei Kostitsyn made a nifty move behind the net to break free with the puck. As he was coming out, Max Pacioretty (who?) blatantly slashed Kyle Quincey's stick away from him and before Quincey could react Kostitsyn had found Plekanec in the slot to tie the game. The Avs protested vehemently (I thought Matt Duchene was going to get called for the hook he put on the refs) but there was no reversing the goal.
To be honest, I though the refs might have made it up to the Avs. I think the Avs got away with a couple in the 3rd period (including two Foote tripping penalties). That shouldn't take away from what happened at the 13:47 mark when Cody McLeod absolutely demolished Scott Gomez in the corner. McLeod drew the ire of Gomez and a 2nd Canadien player, and still managed to get the puck out to David Jones who found Ryan O'Reilly all alone in front of Price. Radar's first shot was stopped, but he was able to reach out and wrap the rebound past a sprawling Price. It was, of course, O'Reilly's first NHL goal - and a game winner at that. The Canadiens put some pressure on, including a late PP from a stupid, stupid retaliatory penalty by Darcy Tucker, but Anderson made the lead hold up.
So, no, Matt Duchene did not get his goal tonight although he played well yet again. Tonight belonged to a couple of other kids - Kid Cumiskey and Radar O'Reilly. It's great to be an Avalanche fan right now!
John-Michael Liles missed the game with that shoulder injury that will keep him on the shelf for a couple of weeks. Ryan Wilson played in his place, pairing with Brett Clark. Clark replaced Liles on the point for the 1st unit of the powerplay, although Wojtek Wolski was back there instead for one of the powerplays.
Chris Stewart and TJ Hensick were healthy scratches again.
- Wolski - Stastny - Hejduk (The Royalty Line)
- Tucker - Duchene - Svatos
- McLeod - O'Reilly - Jones
- Koci - Galiardi - Hendricks
- Quncey - Hannan
- Cumiskey - Foote
- Wilson - Clark
- Matt Hendricks was held without a shot. He entered the game tied with Wojtek Wolski for the team lead (13).
- Cumiskey had a season high 18:11 of ice time
- Marek Svatos was -1 and has not had a positive +/- in any game yet this year
I'm pretty sure you ALL know who we're playing on Saturday, right?