Well, that didn't work out so well.
The Avalanche did a really nice impersonation of the month of March tonight, limping into Detroit like a lamb and storming out like a lion. It was too much lamb and not enough lion, though, and the end result was a 3-1 loss to Detroit and a number 1 star for...nope, can't say it.
In the first half of the game, it was all Detroit. They outshot the Avalanche 23-13 in the first two periods, building a 3-goal lead by the 26-minute mark of the game. But Detroit didn't even seem to be trying all that hard. There were a lot of fancy passes that seemed to fall into the "because we can" category. [Name redacted] started the scoring off with a simple - but accurate - rifle shot from the right wing that Peter Budaj probably would like to have back. Jiri Hudler made it 2-0 just 30 seconds into the second period, when he broke in all alone coming out of the penalty box. Budaj made the save, but Hudler ended up with the puck behind the net and his blind centering pass deflected right off of Budaj's skate top shelf into the net. Dan Cleary made it 3-0 just a few minutes later with a backhander from almost the same spot as the first goal, set up by a pretty spin move from [name redacted].
At that point, I was a Patrick Roy failed statue of liberty away from shutting this off. It seemed like Detroit was just toying with the Avs, and Colorado had no answer. If not for a couple of timely saves by Budaj and a Johan Franzen missed breakaway chance in the 1st, the Detroit players could have probably all called it a night and headed back to the locker room for their celebratory early-bird buffet.
The Avs built up momentum though and played a solid 3rd period, bolstered by some solid physical play. The Avs scored on a 5-on-3 a bit past the 5-minute mark. Matt Duchene, who manned the point on the PP tonight, broke his stick but had the foresight to stick with it and kick the puck ahead to Paul Stastny before racing back to grab new lumber. Stastny dished to John-Michael Liles who skated around a bunch of red statues before finally drawing Jimmy Howard out of the net, giving him a clear lane for his 1st goal of the season. The big comeback ended there, however. The Avalanche had some chances, but couldn't get another one past Howard. It was a good third period, but the hole was just too deep.
Altitude is known for errors on the lines they list at the start of the game (they had O'Reilly on the wing tonight), but I am curious to know why they normally get the forward lines right (tonight's Radar flub excepted) but they usually off on the defensive pairings.
- Porter - Stastny - Stewart
- Jones - Duchene - Hejduk
- Yip - O'Reilly - Winnik
- McLeod - Dupuis - Mauldin
- Foote - Shattenkirk
- Liles - O'Byrne
- Hannan - Holos
- Shattenkirk was 2nd for the Avs in ice time behind Johnny Hot Pocket. The Avs have a lot of defensemen, but every night he plays I feel he's that much closer to staying up for good.
- I was going to comment on all the empty seats tonight, but the game was a sellout with a reported attendance of 20,066. I think I need to get my eyes checked.
- Ryan O'Byrne and Scott Hannan both had 4 hits for the Avs
- Uh, yes, Mike Haynes, we did know that Chris Stewart and Brad Stuart are not related. I can say that since I don't make mistakes.
The Avalanche host the Blues on Monday to kick off a busy week with 4 games in 6 days.