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Game 73 Recap: Avalanche 4, Kings 3

Great game and the Avs pick up two much needed points.

The first started pretty tight with a lit of back and forth play. The line of Matt Hendricks, Ryan O'Reilly and Kevin Porter was very good early for the Avs and they scored the first goal of the game. Hendricks swung around the net and centered it to a driving O'Reilly and it bounced off Jack Johnson's foot and between Jonathan Quick's legs. After that, the Kings responded and Drew Doughty almost scored but Peter Mueller dived across the crease to knock it away. This kid is really f'ing good right now. Unfortunetly, the next goal beloged to Anze Kopitar. This was just a really great play. Wayne Simmonds put it on net and Kopitar got contol of the rebound and back handed it over a sprawling Craig Anderson. Two minutes later Brad Richardson speared Scott Hannan in the face setting off a reaction that would leave the Avs on the power play for roughly the rest of the period. Milan Hejduk scored the first with a rocket from the top of the circle off a nice feed from Mueller. The Avs maintained pressure and got several good scoring chances that were thwarted by Quick or bounces. Then in the waning minutes Peter Stastny put in another power play goal. Quick was pulled (though I thought he was playing well) and Erik Ersberg came in relief. The Avs ended the period with 18 shots. Nearly what they had all last game.  

The second period was one of the better defensive efforts I've seen in a while for the Avs. Kopitar had the only really good chance through most of the period, streaking in alone he made Anderson commit but couldn't get the shot away fast enough and hit the side of the net. Other than that the Avs had the Kings pretty much stymied until Cody McLeod took an unlucky boarding penalty. The Avs powerplay was a little more aggressive than usual which is a great call against a power play as good as the King's. With a little help from Andy, the Avs killed it off. But the power play seemed to charge up the Kings who generated some good offensive pressure in the last minute. Scott Hannan then tripped up Dustin Brown with 5 seconds left in the period.

I knew that early power play was going to be trouble! Drew Doughty, who is awesome by the way, scores off a point shot with plenty of traffic in front of Anderson. But, surprisingly, the Avs didn't try and close up defensivley. They didn't resort to constant dumps out of the zone but instead tried to keep possesion and it led to some great back and forth action. In fact, everything looked to be going quite well until Brett Clark took a penalty for holding. L.A. called a timeout and Alexander Frolov tied up the game with a power play goal.

In OT, the Kings were all over the Avalanche and the Avs, in fact, didn't manage to put a shot on net. Anderson and luck saved them though, and the game went to a shootout. Peter Mueller and Chris Stewart scored for the Avs while Anderson stopped Kopitar and the post stopped Ryan Smyth for the win. So both games end in OT with the score of 4-3 and both teams pick up three points. Not exactly the senario hoped for, but I'm sure it really pissed off Flames fans, so that is a plus.

Dustin's Threeish Stars of the Game

Hendricks/Porter/O'Reilly - this line scored the first goal and were great defensively. I think that that assist was also Porter's first NHL point!

Anze Kopitar - he was very, very good all night. I think the Avs are lucky he only scored once.

Peter Mueller - 2 assists and a goal in the shootout. He has been excellent since coming from Pheonix, he has to be close to 17 points with the Avs, which is how much he had in the 40 or 50 games he played in Pheonix.

Minus of the Game - no minus tonight. I thought both teams played very well. This was a fun game to watch.