There are generally only two ways a team will come out after the kind of...well, beating the Avs received on Tuesday against the Canucks. The Avs chose to come out and play incredibly physical and extremely smart defensively. One other thing that I am noticing, and am really happy about, is how much T.J. Galiardi has picked up his game over the past week or so. Altitude analyst Mark Rycroft even showed a couple examples of how he was throwing his body around and making himself, and the Avs, a much more difficult team to play against.
Another player who stood out during the first period for his defensive play was Milan Hejduk. It seemed every time the Calgary Flames were getting some sustained pressure in the Avs zone, it was business as usual for The Captain.
Had it not been for the puck just barely rolling off of Matt Duchene's stick toward the end of the first period, this would be a 1-0 game.
Heading into the second period the Avs had to kill off about a minute of Daniel Winnik's "cross-checking" penalty. With just 3 seconds remaining on Winnik's penalty, Jan Hejda was given a double-minor for high sticking Jerome Iginla in the mouth. Not too sure about the reasoning for the double-minor though as it didn't appear that any blood had been drawn. Nevertheless it was business as usual for the Avs penalty killing how has been playing outstanding over the past several games.
During the send period there wasn't much action to speak of, unless your a Minnesota Wild fan that is. Then all of a sudden a great keep in at the point by Jan Hejda, he sends a pass to Matt Duchene who wheels into the slot and lets a hard wrist shot go. The shot appeared to glance off a defensemen's breezers or shin pad and past Miikka Kiprusoff for his 10th goal of the season and give the Avs a 1-0 lead with just under 5 minutes to play in the second.
After a tremendous offensive chance where Ryan O'Reilly sent a hard wrist shot off the cross bar, Galiardi was called for high-sticking Mikael Backlund. It would be the Avs second double-minor for high-sticking in the game. Unfortunately the Avs weren't able to kill off the double minor. Even worse it came with 14 seconds remaining on the first minor so the Avs would still have another two minutes of penalty to kill off. Unfortunately the Avs weren't able to kill off that penalty either.
The first power play goal was scored off a shot by Lee Stempniak, but to me, the key to the goal was the screen Curtis Glenncross set in front of Jean-Sebastien Giguere. Even more disturbing to me is the fact that Jan Hejda, even with all of his size, is playing like a certain type of cat. I'm pretty sure you know what I mean. It is just unacceptable to me, especially as an assistant coach now, to have my defensemen play that soft in front of our own net.
Soft play in front of the net is what led to the second goal on the power play as Curtis Glenncross was just allowed to stand in front of the net and send a shot into the top corner passed Giguere. And just like that the Avs were down 2-1.
Now as a goalie, I honestly have no idea what it feels like to sit in the penalty box and watch as goals are scored against your team while you sit, and as they say in the movie Slap Shot, and feel shame in the penalty box. It seems like an old hockey cliche that if you want to get back at the other team, then do it on the scoreboard. And that's exactly what T.J. Galiardi did. Continuing to play some of his best games, T.J. Galiardi took advantage of a poor change by the Flames and sent a wrist shot right thru the wickets of Kiprusoff and tied the game at 2 just over two minutes after the Flames had taken the lead.
I really have nothing to describe the Flames 3rd goal of the game. All I will say is who in the name of all that is holy, do you send four out of five of your players in the zone, after one player? I know it was Jerome Iginla, but come on. If you want to break it down even further, you could point to Ryan O'Reilly taking one of the Flames players "ticket" as he blew by O'Reilly in the natural zone. That was the play, to me that really got the play going for Flames to gain entry into the Avs defensive zone. Either way, Iginla sent a great pass to Olli Jokinen who didn't miss, even though Giguere gave him practically nothing to shoot at.
The Avs did all they could at the end of the game, but still managed to come up short.
It should be noted that the Flames were somehow given 8 power plays in this game. Yes, EIGHT.
- 1 T.J. Galiardi continues to play some of his best hockey. He had another goal tonight.
- 2 Matt Duchene, scored his 10th goal of the season
- 3 Jean-Sebastien Giguere, Gave the Avs a chance to win the game. Unfortunately his D gave him no help.
- 1 Hejduk-O'Reilly-Landeskog
- 2 Yip-Duchene-Galiardi
- 3 Winnik-McClement-Kobasew
- 4 Hunnwick-McLeod-Jones
- 1 Johnson-Elliott
- 2 O'Brien-Quincey
- 3 Hejda-O'Byrne
- 1 Avs have to shake off this tough loss and get ready for Edmonton tomorrow night.
- 2 It is beyond me how there can be such a disparity in the amount of power plays given to each team. I will never use the refs as an excuse, but it can definitely take a team out of a rhythm, and wear certain players out faster when certain guys are constantly killing penalties.
- 3 The Avs MUST play stronger and much more physical in front of their own net. You are not going to win in the NHL if you continue to allow players to stand in front of your net and screen your goalie, and or bury garbage goals.
NHL.com Recap & Highlights
After tonight's game the Avs will hop on a plane and fly to Edmonton to take on the Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Jordan Eberle and the rest of the Edmonton Oilers tomorrow night. It should be noted that Taylor Hall is still out with a shoulder injury he sustained in his last game against the Avalanche.