This marked the 100th game that Matt Duchene and Ryan O'Reilly have played in the Avs gear.
Before the game we learned that Craig Anderson will be starting the game after missing the 10 previous games with a leg injury, I was concerned about his leg. But knowing that Budaj was on the bench, just in case, was a good feeling. He did a good job, but after 10 games he needed a break too. Before the game there was also a short interview with Adam Foote, he said he is "slowly getting better", but coming back after 20 days is a little hard. Might be his age creeping through. The Avalanche are playing in their third jerseys tonight, while their overall record is pretty bad, this season the Blueberry record is pretty good. They are growing on me too.
The healthy scratches for the night are David Koci and Jonas Holøs. Why is Holøs not being given a shot?
As the game starts, I'm still a little worried about Andy's leg. I don't want him coming back until he is perfectly ready! But at the one minute mark Andy makes his first save of the night. It felt nice to not be down a goal within the first minute!
A thought that occurred to me while watching the third line of Winnik, O'Reilly and Mauldin was that Winnik and O'Reilly are quite strong when it comes to their defensive games, so I'm curious if they are often on the ice with the line pairing of Foote and Wilson. Anyone know?
Colorado gets the first power play, but cannot capitalize on it. Afterward, Yip takes a trip to the Sin Bin, and the Avs hold the Rangers off.
Foote is playing scrappy and tries to take on two Rangers players after the whistle. Canary's take on it is: "MY ICE, GET OFF OF IT!" Speaking of defensemen, I'm starting to notice O'Byrne a bit more as the games progress, and not only for negative things now!
At the end of the first, both teams are going to the locker-room having scored no goals.However, the second period brings on some Avalanche offence. First, David Jones gets a goal on Chris Stewart's play at 1:04 of the second. This duo is so fast and incredibly strong on the puck. Stewie is so quick that the Rangers defense was trying to hook him when he was breaking into the zone, and were shrugged off. Stewie took a shot on net, and Doctor Jones was there for the rebound. Avs are now up by one.
After this goal there was a scary moment. Matt Duchene was already down on his knees trying to get up, when he was cross-checked to the head by Ruslan Fedetanko. A play that went unpenalized. I think this will most likely be looked at by the league.
Duchene must have been angered by this hit, because he came back a different man. His first shift back on the ice, at 7:21 in the second, he is strong on the puck, takes a shot on net, and Kevin Porter gets it in. Avs now up by two.
Sean Avery then yammers away at Kevin Shattenkirk, who jaws right back.
Another penalty on the Avs, this time Greg Mauldin, who goes off for holding at 9:15 in the second.The Avs successfully kill this off as well, The guys have been playing so strongly on the PK lately, I'm not nearly as worried about it as I was early in the season.
At the 12:27 mark, Duchene decides that he is unsatisfied with an assist, and so he nets himself a little goal, that was screened. At this point Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist is pulled in favor of backup Martin Biron. The Avs are up 3-0.
Two and a half minutes later, at the 15:07 mark, Shattenkirk nets himself a goal with another assist to Duchene. The Avs are now winning 4-0. Not only are they winning, they are playing a terrific all-around game.
McLeod goes to the box for hooking at 16:59 of the second, but the Avs manage to kill it off nicely again.
O'Byrne goes off for holding at 19:51 of the second. The Avs kill off the first nine seconds and head into the second intermission up 4-0, but about to start the third down a man for 1:51 second. As the third starts, I've realized that I don't fear it as much as I did last season. For me that's a huge difference compared to last season. Last season I hated the third since no lead was safe. This year, I don't find that they crumble as much. The boys kill off the rest of the penalty nicely.
At the 4:58 mark there is yet another Avalanche goal; this one by Daniel Winnik, on a breakaway. As an aside about Winnik, last year in 74 games, he had 4 goals. This year in 19 games, he has 5 goals. Yay Winnik :). He has found a home with the Avalanche, and I'm sure you know who is happy about that.
However, one minute and five seconds later, Derek Stepan scores for the Rangers and dashes Andy's dream of having his comeback be a shutout. The score is now 5-1, which would prove to be the final score.
Jones goes off for tripping at 9:41 of the third, the weakest call of the bunch, in my opinion.
Then Brandon Prust, a Ranger forward, goes down in pain, from a collision with Duchene and Scott Hannan. Before the play can be stopped dead, Hannan is motioning to the refs and the training staff that the Prust is hurt. That showed real class on his part.
To end the game McLeod goes off for another ten with Avery for fighting in the crease at the 18:58 mark.
Some things you may have missed:
- Daniel Winnik had a team leading 5 shots on net tonight.
- Scott Hannan had the most ice time for the Avs at 24:20, while Marc Staal had the most for the Rangers at 25:48.
- Daniel Winnik had the most ice time among Colorado forwards, with 18:20, which is still less than every Avalanche defenseman.
- Paul Stastny and Ryan O'Reilly each won 67% of their face-offs.
The NHL.com three stars of the game were:
1. Matt Duchene
2. Craig Anderson
3. Scott Hannan
Next up: The Stars in Dallas on Saturday Night.