Both teams came out of the gate flying in tonight. Both teams goaltenders made big saves early on as well including Craig Anderson on a partial breakaway. T.J. Galiardi and the Avalanche struck first though at the 3:22 mark of the first period. It was his 13th goal of the season. Ryan Wilson and Paul Stastny picked up the assists.
There was a scary moment early as Philipe Dupuis ran into Daniel Winnik at the Avs' offensive blueline. He was taken directly to the Avs' locker room. Hoping it's not anything too serious, we can't afford to have any more players on the injured list.
On a brighter note, it was announced that Kyle Cumiskey made the trip with the team and also took the morning skate. He could be coming back very soon. Hopefully there will be some good news regarding Peter Mueller next, and soon.
The line of Fleischmann-Duchene-Hejduk is showing a lot of promise right now and I couldn't be happier to see it. Tomas Fleischmann had a tremendous opportunity all alone in front of the net, but Dubnyk made a couple of tremendous saves to keep the score 1-0 for the Avalanche.
It wouldn't stay that way for long though. Off a tremendous feed from David Jones, Paul Stastny deposited his 14th goal of the season past the Edmonton goalie, Devan Dubnyk. 2-0 Avalanche.
Just a couple minutes later, the line I talked about a little earlier cashes in. Tomas Fleischmann is really making the most of Milan Hejduk coming back from injury. This time it's Fleischmann who, not only gets the goal, but made several Oilers look silly as he dangled around 2 or 3 defenders before Matt Duchene found him in the slot for his 10th goal of the season. 3-0 Avalanche after the first period.
The Avalanche came out with the same fire that they ended the first period with and it showed. Paul Stastny drew a tripping penalty early on but couldn't cash in against the 30th ranked penalty kill of the Oilers.
The Avs got caught in their own zone a little bit and Greg Mauldin was called for tripping. The Oilers were able to get a few good chances, but didn't cash in. The Avs were even able to get a 2 on 1 break while shorthanded, but David Jones had the puck just barely roll off his stick and wide.
It seemed as the second period went on, the Avs started to let off the gas pedal a little bit. Just when I was starting to think that, Taylor Hall scored as he was left all alone on the door step. It was his 12th goal of the season. 3-1 Avalanche.
Then just when the injury situation couldn't become any worse for the Avs, John Michael Liles decided to try and play goalie again, this time though he forgot he wasn't wearing a goalie helmet and took one right in the face.
Towards the end of the second, something must have clicked in the Avs' heads because they dialed up the pressure. Then, somehow, against all things that are good and right in the world, Oiler tough guy Zack Stortini bowled over Craig Anderson, but somehow Paul Stastny was the one who came away with the penalty. Just to make sure the Oilers were given every opportunity to come back in this game, Ryan O'Byrne was given a minor for cross-checking just as the time on Stastny's penalty expired.
I had a lot of questions heading into the third period of this one. Was the carry over penalty going to get the Oilers right back into this game? Was John-Michael Liles or Philipe Dupuis going to be able to make it back into the game? What more magic can the Hejduk-Duchene-Flash line muster up?
Well, Liles was able to make it back into the game, the Oilers definitely made a game of it with Ales Hemsky cutting across the middle and sending a tremendous shot past Anderson to pull them within one goal.
Just a few minutes later the collapse was complete. With both defensemen following the puck carrier behind the net, Andrew Cogliano was left all by his lonesome in front of Anderson and had no trouble whatsoever burying his 4th goal of the season.
Following a timeout where Joe Sacco ripped his team a new one, they came out with some life for a few minutes, but went back to letting the Oilers walk all over and around them. They somehow managed to get the game to overtime and get at least one point.
The Avs must've gotten some kinda talking to before the OT started because they came out with some jump. After everything that had been let go by the refs, I honestly was shocked to see that penalty called, especially in overtime. Unfortunately the Avs weren't able to take advantage of the chance as the Oilers were able to kill off the power play.
Just when things couldn't get any more ridiculous, Daniel Winnik gets nailed for a slash with just 1:40 to go in the game. If you told me there was a lonelier guy in Edmonton than Winnik during that power play, I'd call you a liar. Now I'm a goalie and obviously don't serve my own penalties, but I can only imagine the helpless feeling of watching your team clean up for your mistake, especially with the game on the line. Thankfully the Avs penalty kill showed up on the road in Edmonton and was able to kill the penalty. Time for a shootout.
The Avalanche and Oilers have contradicting records in the shootout, I'll let you guess who has the better record in the shootout.
Derek's Three Stars:
3rd Star: Craig Anderson, 32 Saves (Best Avs player after the 1st period)
2nd Star: Ales Hemsky, 1G, 1A
1st Star: Paul Stastny, 1G, 1A