Honestly, I have no idea where to begin.
This game had a little bit of everything. The Avalanche gave up 44 shots, 33 in the first two periods. Florida's Stephen Weiss had hat trick before the game was half over (and the crowd of about 217 people rewarded him by tossing maybe 4 hats onto the ice). Craig Anderson wasn't particularly crisp, although, again, he faced 44 shots tonight. The Avalanche didn't play defense tonight but, 29 games into the season, they finally decided to do something about their goalie getting run into constantly; every time there was a whistle, Adam Foote and / or Ryan Wilson punched somebody.
The Avs fell down 2-0. Then they made it 2-1. Then they fell down 3-1. Then they made it 3-2. Then they fell down 4-2. Then they cut it to 4-3. Then they fell down 5-3 and the game was over. They pulled Anderson...and made it 5-4. And then, they completely ruined the SAT numerical pattern question by scoring again to tie the game with 16 seconds left. Yep, after playing like ass for 59 minutes, the Avalanche turned it on and scored two goals in the final minute.
In overtime, each team traded some shots and it went back and forth until 4:18 when all hell broke loose. Keith Ballard made a great play to blow by Brett Clark and rushed hard to the net. Craig Anderson made the save...and then got hit hard by Ballard. Anderson went down hard and ended up leaving the game, making him the second goalie Ballard has knocked from a game this week (couldn't resist). Ballard got pummeled by Adam Foote. Peter Budaj - who should have started to begin with - came in cold and had about 42 seconds to warm up for the shootout. He was excellent, stopping the first 4 shootout attempts. Unfortunately, the Avalanche couldn't score at all and the Panthers ultimately won the game on Weiss' shootout winner.
Matt Duchene and Chris Stewart continue to be the bees' knees on offense. Duchene had another 2 goals, and each of them had 3 points on the night. Stewart might have had more, but he was effectively tossed from the game for instigating a fight with Bryan Allen when he mistakenly thought that Allen had leveled Duchene. I've wanted to see Stewie get more physical all year; that was a poor time to do it. Interestingly, before Stewart was tossed the two finally found a suitable left wing to complement their skills: Paul Stastny. Stastny played left wing with Duchene and Stewart in the 3rd period and ended up with 4 points.
So, here are the big questions going into tomorrow.
First and foremost, is Craig Anderson okay? And what about Brett Clark, who went to the locker room late in OT? Can any forwards other than Stastny, Duchene or Stewart score? The Avs had 5 goals, and the only forward besides those three with a point was TJ Galiardi. Wojtek Wolski had 6 shots...but no points. What happened to the defense that held Tampa off the scoreboard on Monday? When was the last time someone had 4 points and wasn't named one of the 3 stars, as was the case with Stastny tonight? And is Peter Budaj the first goalie to lose a game without facing a shot on net? Is there anyone who's lost a game with less than 42 seconds of playing time? I'd like the answer to all these on my desk first thing tomorrow, okay?