Even a not-so-typical ending - Matt Hendricks winning the game 11 players deep into the shutout - couldn't swing the status of this hockey game. It was a textbook Avalanche game, and I don't mean that in a positive way.
As usual, the Avalanche came out of the starting gate firing on all cylinders. The Avs dominated the early play and jumped out to a quick 2-0 lead. Both goals were by December's Rookie of the Month, Matt Duchene. On the first, he stole the puck and then worked with Matt Hendricks on a give-and-go and on the 2nd he banged home Brandon Yip's rebound before swinging on the crossbar trapeze style.
After that, the momentum pendulum evened out. Both teams scored in the second, with Brandon Yip blasting one past Patrick Lalime less than a minute after Drew Stafford had cut the lead to 2-1.
The Avalanche opened the 3rd period with a 2-goal lead, and you know how this plays out. The Avalanche shifted from proactive to reactive and watched as the Sabres clawed back into it. The Avs' were outshot 15-4 in the period. In other words, same old, same old. Tomas Vanek cut the lead to 3-2 about 9 minutes in and then Jochen Hecht scored the inevitable tying goal (especially bitter as I predicted a 3-2 Avalanche win). The Avalanche would go on to win in a shootout, but the inevitability of giving up a 3rd period lead is as frustrating as it is inexplicable.
It looks like most of the readers have moved on from the Budaj v Anderson camp fight and graduated to trying to hook up with each other, so I'm a little hesitant to point out that Craig Anderson hasn't looked all that dominating lately. He's allowed 3 goals in 6 of his last 7 games. Yes, he's facing a boatload of shots, but he's starting to look a lot more ordinary lately. He showed us in October that he can carry a team on his shoulders, and we could use more of that right now. The Avs' power play certainly isn't going to win any games (another goose egg tonight), and giving up 3 a game isn't quite going to be enough.