With several Avs players making their return to the Pepsi Center again tonight, the stage was set for them to dominate the burgundy and blue. Brian Elliott was definitely primed to have a big game against his former club, coming into the game with an impressive 13-2 record, 1.43 GAA, and .958 save percentage.
The Avalanche wasted no time in getting on the board though as Matt Hunwick sent a low, hard, shot on net that Paul Stastny deflected toward the net. Fortunately it went in off of a St. Louis defenseman's skate. Stefan Elliott is continuing his stellar play as he earned the secondary assist on the play.
The Avalanche appeared ready to "start the game on time" as Avs Head Coach Joe Sacco likes to say, as the Avs scored less than a minute and a half later. Brian Elliott slightly mishandled the dump in and Cody McLeod was right there to bury it for a 2-0 lead just over 5 minutes into the game.
WIth the Blues coming in on a 2 on 1, Daniel Winnik was forced to take a hooking penalty on Patrik Burgland. It was one of those penalties most would say you have to take to prevent a quality scoring chance. Just before the penalty expired, Ryan O'Byrne was called for slashing to give the Blues a short 2 man advantage. The Avs managed to not only kill off both penalties, but got a pretty good scoring opportunity as Daniel Winnik was coming out of the box he got the puck to TJ Galiardi who had a mini-breakaway but sent the puck just wide.
My vote for least called penalty in the NHL has to be for violating rule 53 which states, "A player shall not throw a stick or any other object in any zone. Matt Duchene learned this the hard way as he was given a 2 minute minor for throwing the stick. Fortunately the Avs PK stepped up big again and killed the penalty and went 3 for 3 in the first period.
Whatever the Avs coaches are saying to the Avs to get them ready to go right when the puck drops is working. Daniel Winnik had a near perfect deflection towards the Blues net, but came up empty as it clanked harmlessly off of the post.
Just a few minutes later the Blues were on a 2 on 1 when Shane O'Brien committed one of the bigger sins a defenseman can commit. Giguere was ready and square to David Backes, until O'Brien decided to "help" out Jiggy by attempting to block the shot, all he did though was tip the puck into his own net. If you want to know how goalies feel when defensemen decide to help them out, just go back and watch Jean-Sebastian Giguere's reaction after the goal went in.
As I eluded to in the beginning of this recap, there were several former Avs in uniform tonight for the Blues, one of them is named Chris Stewart. Unfortunately there was a Chris "GD" Stewart sighting as he tied the game up at 2 goals apiece.
With just over 8 minutes to play in the second period, another former Avs player Kevin Shattenkirk was called for hooking Shane O'Brien. Unfortunately the Avs weren't able to cash in on the PP opportunity, but did seem to get some momentum back by getting a few quality scoring chances.
Just after the penalty was ended, the Avs were on coming in on a rush were Jay McClement sent a centering pass that hit a Blues defenseman. As he was sliding on his stomach, he slid into the net which appeared to be coming off of it's mooring just prior to the puck going in. However after a lengthy review it was determined the puck crossed the line prior to the St. Louis player dislodged the net. It was Jay McClement's 6th goal of the season that put the Avs up 3-2.
The Avs were heading into the 3rd period with carry over penalty time from the second period. Unfortunately the Avs were not able to cash in on their chance. Then just as the Blues killed off that penalty, Gabriel Landeskog was whistled for tripping Scott Nichol. Fortunately the Blues really didn't get any quality scoring chances on the power play.
The rest of the 3rd period was played with a lot of good chances for both teams. However, as he has done so many times this season, Jiggy gave the team a chance to win and that's exactly what they did.
MHH Avalanche 3 Stars of the Night
- 1 Jean-Sebastien Giguere, No need for an explanation here, simply gives his team a chance to win every night he is in between the pipes.
- 2 Jay McClement, Scored the GWG.
- 3 Cody McLeod, Any time the Highlander scores a goal he will ALWAYS be one of my stars of the game.
- 1 Landeskog-O'Reilly-Hejduk
- 2 Duchene-Stastny-Winnik
- 3 Van der Gulik-McClement-Galiardi
- 4 McLeod-Malone-Porter
- 1 Johnson-O'Brien
- 2 Hejda-O'Byrne
- 3 Elliott-Hunwick
- 1 Brad Malone is playing really great right now and just narrowly missed getting his first NHL goal.
- 2 Jean-Sebastien GIguere's play right now is off the charts. I almost feel that signing him was this team's biggest off-season move.
- 3 The Avs set a new franchise record with their 7th straight home victory.
NHL.com Recap & Highlights
After getting man handled in San Jose, the Tampa Bay Lightning will be making their only visit to the Mile High City this year.