This game started out strong, had a weak middle, and a decent end. The game would have Luongo facing off against Craig Anderson. I guess Luongo hasn't been getting up with his newborn son because he seemed rested and at the top of his game.
Two minutes into the first and the Avalanche haven't let a goal in yet, in fact they are skating hard and playing well. The Avalanche have even kept the Canucks off of the shots sheet. Five minutes in and Wilson has a nice hit. It's great to see him hit again. He does such a wonderful job at it- and he kept hitting throughout this game. I hope it means a return of The Mack Truck, the Avalanche are in desperate need of some physicality.
First penalty of the game foes to the Avalanche- Ryan Wilson gets a trip to the Sin Bin for roughing, however, it's a matching penalty with Ryan Kesler (going off for diving) so the game goes to four on four hockey for two minutes. Oh, get used to reading that. There were a lot of penalties in this game.
Both teams exchange puck possession and shots, but nothing went in. Duchene had a good chance, but was poke-checked as he was entering the Vancouver zone. Vancouver gets possession of the puck and gets a shot on Anderson who makes the save.
Twenty-eight seconds after the 4 on 4 winds down, another penalty is called, this one on David Jones who goes off for hooking. It should be said that when the game started the Avalanche were last in the league in penalty killing at home. In 18 home games they have allowed 24 goals. The Avalanche kill off this penalty. Matt Duchene shows some grit and throws his body around finishing a nice check into the boards.
The Avalanche have a few good shifts halfway through the first, unfortunately the Canucks are matching the Avalanche offense with great defense and good goal tending, as such they don't get anything behind Luongo.
At the 12:37 mark the Avalanche get to go onto another power play, this time at the hands of Raffi Torres who gets to take a two minute breather for hooking. The best chance of this power play came from a Hejduk snapshot, but he wasn't able to make it count. The Avalanche got three shots on net during this power play.
At the 16:12 mark, Greg Mauldin draws another penalty, Bieska gets to go think about why hooking isn't always the best way to go, but yet again the Avs are unable to make him pay for it. The were unable to convert the power play into anything dangerous.
In fact, just as this power play ends, the Vancouver Canucks get a 2 on 1 and Alexandre Bolduc decides to shoot the puck instead of passing and he gets it five-hole on Anderson who lets in a goal that , I'm sure, he'd really like back. This was Bolduc's first NHL goal, not that it should be a surprise to any Avalanche fans.
The Avalanche have one last rush and try to even it up before heading to the locker room, but run out of time before they can make anything happen.
The Avs came out strong and controlled most of the first, they just couldn't put anything past Luongo, so going into the second the are down 1-0. It should be mentioned that during the first the held the Sedins shot-less.
The start of the second the teams exchange puck possession and shots but there is nothing too dangerous there. The Winnik Radar and Porter line draws another penalty, so our favorite man Keith Ballard goes off for hooking. This power play features Kevin Porter, which I found slightly unusual. Might be because of how many penalties there were and that the Avs have played a fair amount lately. Again, not much happens and the Avalanche remain behind by one.
The Vancouver Canucks get a good shot on net, and when Andy tries to make the save, he misses the puck, which hits the top of the net and he proceeded to knock the net off trying to make the save. No penalty was called on this play.The action, at this point, is back and forth with neither teams being able to put the puck past the goaltenders. Yip is throwing his body around and landing a few nice hits.
Colorado gets a good chance on a Winnik backhand, but again they couldn't get onto the scoreboard. The play goes to the Colorado zone and as Anderson freezes the puck, with 6:05 left in the second, there is a scuffle... that just won't end. Foote is right there, in fact he is the one that kind of started it. The scuffle won't end and Raffi Torres comes out of nowhere and joins the bodies so that Vancouver has 6 skaters on the ice in a shoving match. There are three penalties on the play: Foote - 2 minutes for roughing, Torres - 2 minutes for roughing, Bolduc - 2 minutes for roughing. The Avalanche were unable to hit the net, let alone the back of the net on this power play either. The score is still 1-0 for the Canucks.
At the 18:07 mark Hejduk goes off for tripping and so the Avalanche go onto a penalty kill. There was a scary second when Hunwick got a shot to the neck, he was stunned and in a bit of pain but, thankfully, seemed alright. During this penalty, Vancouver takes a penalty of thier own and have to send Ehrhoff to the box for tripping. It is 4 on 4 hockey for a little over 40 seconds... or at least it would have been but then Shattenkirk took a hooking penalty. As the period ends there is lots of pushing and shoving. Who is in the middle of it? Adam Foote, of course. In the second period there was 20 minutes worth of penalties called and no power play goals. Kessler and O'Byrne get matching penalties for this.
At the start of the third, there is 4 on 4 hockey for 1:11. Not much is done during this time, once this is over the Avalanche successfully kill a 33 second penalty. During the 33 seconds, the Canucks were unable to get a shot on Anderson.
Vancouver is applying lots of pressure, and the puck takes a funny bounce on one of the seems in the glass behind Anderson. Because of the bounce Hejduk misses is and Raymond is able to get there first and the Canucks are able to get the puck behind Anderson. The score is 2-0 for the Canucks.
With 13 minutes left in the third, the Avalanche got onto the power play on a Kessler high-stick. This is followed, you guessed it by an Avalanche penalty 55 seconds later. Hejduk goes to the box again. Leaving the game to yet another 4 on 4 for 55 seconds. Neither the Avalanche or the Canucks are able to get anything past the goalies on this 4 on 4 , or the resulting penalty kill.
With less than 10 minutes left in the third, Luongo is working hard to get his shutout. Finally with 6:25 left in the third, Paul Stastny is able to get one upstairs and behind Luongo. The referee waived it off as a no-goal, but they went upstairs and it was confirmed as a goal. The score is now 2-1. And although they tried hard and had a few good chances, this proved to be the final score. The Avalanche pulled Anderson with 1:18 left in the third and had a flurry of shots, and Luongo stopped them all. The Avalanche, have yet again, run out of time.
In my notes I have written the I keep noticing Wilson throwing his body around, he played a physical game and even tried his hand at some offense. I really enjoyed watching his game tonight.
Tomas Fleischmann - Paul Stastny - Brandon Yip
David Jones - Matt Duchene - Milan Hejduk
Daniel Winnik - Ryan O`Reilly - Kevin Porter
Greg Mauldin - Philippe Dupuis - T.J. Galiardi
John-Michael Liles - Ryan O`Byrne
Adam Foote - Matt Hunwick
Kevin Shattenkirk - Ryan Wilson
What you may have missed:
- John-Micheal Liles had the most ice time for the Avalanche with almost 23 minutes
- Daniel Winnik had the most shots on the net for the Avalanche with four
- Milan Hejduk led the Avalanche with the most penalty minutes with four
- The Avalanche are winless against Vancouver this year
With his goal, Paul Stastny became the 5th man to reach the 300 point mark while solely playing for the Avalanche franchise.
Sixteen penalties given in this game- and all three goals were even strength
My three Stars:
With an honorable mention to Ryan Wilson
Altitude's 3 Stars were:
Buffalo Sabres visiting the Colorado Avalanche January 4th