The Canucks jumped out to a 1-0 lead about half way through the first period on a delayed penalty as Bieksa redirected the puck up and over Anderson's left shoulder. It was the second infraction called against the Avs in the young period, and obviously the Avalanche did not receive DDC's memo about keeping Vancouver at even strength. The Avs did their part earning two first period powerplays, but never got the offense rolling. The Avs' only dangerous shift came courtesy the 4th line before the Canucks scored. In "silver-lining" news, Foote had to be helped off the ice with about 30 seconds in the period after a weird hit. Leg injury. He did not return. Can you say Holos! Unfortunately, it'll probably be Quincey. So much for that silver lining......
The second period started with Peter Budaj taking over in goal. The Vancouver feed said Andy tweaked something (his groin) in the pregame skate, and that was the likely reason for the change in goal. The Canuck's building hates Craig Anderson. Andy may start getting superstitious with two injuries in two pregame skates in British Columbia - I blame Beachie, but only because I'm superstitious.
McLeod took another bad penalty just over 2 minutes in (he had 3 baddies in the game), but Super Liles negated the man-advantage by yet again jumping up into the play and getting tripped as he took the puck hard toward the net. That nifty play from JML led to a short, yet effective, Avalanche PP where some D to D magic led to a John-Michael Liles one-timer, knotting things up at 1-1. Shattenkirk and Hejduk with the helpers, but it was the Liles show.
Budaj did his best to keep things even, but the evil twins connected on a pretty/annoying play as Henrik sent the puck to a seemingly harmless spot, but his freaky bro directed the pass past Budaj. Before the game the Canucks reunited last season's deadly Sedin-Sedin-Burrows line in hopes to help break the team out of their 4 game slide, it paid off on that play, as it would later. Overall, unless the Avs were on the PP, they could not get going anything going in the 2nd. The Canucks were relentless all period long, carrying the play, and keeping the visitors out of sync. The Avs were lucky to get to the locker room down just a goal.
In the third, a long review of a Kesler shot that hit the post and went straight up in the air and then off of Budaj and in the net, resulted in an eventual 2 goal Vancouver lead. It was ruled no goal on the ice, because it looked like it was hit in with a high stick. However, video review ruled that Tambellini never touched the puck and it was a good goal. I call bullshit. Tambellini didn't hit the puck because he smacked Budaj's face instead, which knocked Budaj's helmet into the puck and the puck into the net. I guess you can lumberjack high-stick the goaltender - when he is standing upright. Makes sense.
The Avs answered back quickly though on a 3 man net crashing party by Yip, Duchene and Liles. The smash mouth goal went to Duchene. Liles and Duchene played great all game. Liles was working hard on his stomach in the Vancouver crease when the red light reluctantly lit, and Duchene had good jump all game. I see another big second half of the season from Dutchie.
But the aforementioned trio of Sedins and Burrows quashed all the happiness out of our Thanksgiving eve when another pretty passing play led to an Alex Burrows goal with just over 6 minutes to go. No chance for Budaj. 4-2 Canucks. The Avs got a late powerplay and pulled Budaj with over 3 minutes to go, but to no avail. I like that Sacco went for it, but it was too little too late. The Avs didn't bring the urgency they needed. They had moments of desperation, but they never really seemed to get it together for any kind of consistency. With first place on the line, I expected more from our boys. They weren't awful, but they were rarely great.
Jones - Stastny - Stewart
Porter - Duchene - Hejduk
Winnik - O'Reilly - Yip
McLeod - Dupuis - Mauldin
Foote - Wilson
Hannan - Shattenkirk
Liles - O'Byrne
- Budaj had some amazing sliding saves and continues to give his team a chance, but the goal off his helmet won the game. Man, if only we werent so lucky.
- I don't know what it is, but the Canucks just seem to suck the life out of the Avalanche (I guess that means the Canucks suck). This isn't the same Avs team that just won 4 in a row.
Next Up - Drop the Turkey!
No rest for the weary. The Avalanche continue their brief Western Canada road trip Thursday against the last place Edmonton Oilers at 7pm MST. Edmonton is 2-6-2 in their last ten games, just 2-5-1 at home this season, and suffers from the worst goal differential in the entire league at -33. If you have to play back-to-backs on the road, Edmonton isn't a bad place to finish up (well, let's hope it isn't anyway). The Oil are still hurting from a 5-0 drubbing on Tuesday at the hands of the rising Coyotes, so this game could be a recipe for Thanksgiving disaster...
Note: this is the only NHL game on the American Thanksgiving. The Avs have 6 Yankees who will be missing out on home-cooked holiday grub: Anderson (Illinois), Liles (Indiana), Shattenkirk (Connecticut), Porter (Michigan), Mueller (Minny), Mauldin (Massachusetts).