What a season it has been. And it's not over yet. Heading into today's game, the Avs could not improve their playoff position. They were locked into that number 8 seed. Still to be determined is who they Avs will be playing.
In some what of a surprise move, the Kings chose to start Erik Ersberg in net. No doubt that Craig Anderson was going to get the start as Colorado is starting the tune up for the postseason. Right out of the gate both goaltenders made stellar saves on chances keeping the game scoreless. Probably the biggest one was by Ersberg as Milan Hejduk split the defense while the Avs and came in on a mini breakaway.
It's been said here all year. How about the play of the Young Guns? While Ryan Stoa may not have been an original member, he is starting to find his scoring touch at the perfect time of the year. Milan Hejduk sent a nifty turn around pass that Stoa fired on net. Showing great hockey sense, he followed his shot and smacked the loose puck between the pads of Ersberg. 1-0 Avalanche.
There were several good chances throughout the rest of the first period with both goaltenders making key saves. If there is one thing that Craig Anderson could improve on one thing during the summer, I would say that it would be his puck "handling" skills. He give the Burgundy Army a heart attack as he gave the puck away at the side of the net only to dive back in front and stop the shot.
As the second period got underway, the teams came out very cautious. The Kings picked up the pressure first and forced John Michael Liles to take a bad tripping call behind the net. Fortunately the Kings were not able to take advantage of the power play.
Shortly after that the Avs killed that penalty off, the Kings were whistled for too many men on the ice. Coloraod's power play didn't even have a chance to setup in the offensive zone. Not sure what's going on, but this team's play with the man advantage is not good right now. Is Peter Mueller really that much of a catalyst for this team's power play? If so, we need him back in a hurry. The rest of the second passed with out much. This was setting up to be a sprint to the finish.
The third period started and both teams came out with a little more jump in the previous two and were getting good chances throughout the period. Toward the end though, it seemed like the Avalanche trying to protect their one goal lead. As we all know, when the Avs try and do that, the game never ends they way we all want.
With just over 4 minutes to go, Matt Greene let a bomb of a slap shot go from the point that was tipped past a screened Craig Anderson by Jarrett Stoll. Momentum was now with the Kings. Game tied 1-1.
There just didn't seem to be any desire to want to win this game for the Avs. With the game heading to overtime, the Kings took the play to the Avs. There effort was rewarded just over a minute and a half into the OT period. With Scott Hannan playing defense in front, and I use he term defense very loosely, Dustin Brown banged in his own rebound to seal the win for the Kings.
All things considered this was a tremendous season for our beloved Avalanche. I know that they certainly exceeded my expectations for this season, and it's not over yet! Are you ready for the Avalanche Experience, playoff style?
Derek's Threeof the Game:
3rd Star: Ryan Stoa (2nd career goal)
2nd Star: Erik Ersberg (31 saves)
1st Star: Dustin Brown (GWG)
Keep it here at Mile High Hockey throughout the Avalanche's playoff run for all of the latest news and updates.