It was a good game for a while. That counts for something right? Of course not. In the end, the Avs came up short (again) and Peter Budaj lost his 3rd attempt at 100 career wins. At this rate, it's going to be a while.
The Avs didn't exactly come out firing on all cylinders. The Wild controlled the early play. Martin Havlat missed a wide open net a few minutes in, but didn't miss when he got another one at the 7:04 mark. The Avs were down 1-0 and had about as much fire as the world's worst Boy Scout in a rainstorm. But, the Avs 3rd line of Cody McLeod, Ryan O'Reilly and Daniel Winnik responded with some nice energy (bonus points to Matt Hunwick for a leaping play at the point to keep the play alive) and it helped even up the momentum for the rest of the period.
The Avs were much better in the 2nd period (kind of like the Avs of old) and Kevin Porter knotted things up about 6 minutes in (although play continued for about 3 more minutes until a whistle gave the refs a chance to review the obvious goal. Come on, the thing hit off the goal cam in the back of the net. Ten minutes later, with Brent Burns in the box for interference, Paul Stastny poked a rebound to give the Avalanche a 2-1 lead. Yes, a lead. If you don't know what one of this is, go ask your dad.
You're probably familiar with this one though. Ryan Wilson takes a penalty late in the 2nd for closing his hand on the puck (smart!) and some upstart named Andrew Brunette bats down a puck out of midair to tie the game. Wasn't he supposed to miss the game with the flu or something? It was a deflating goal...but not the most deflating of the night. (Spoiler Alert).
The Avs went back into hibernation in the 3rd. First, the offensive juggernaut of John Madden, Chuck Kobasew and Matt Cullen (who have collectively played for 12 NHL teams) got together on a play that made our defense look silly. Probably because our defense is silly. Before any of us could sacrifice a chicken to the god of offense, Milan Hejduk took an ill-advised penalty. Except he never got a chance to serve it, as the whole team stopped playing before the whistle, allowing the Wild to just saunter in and score the big deflater.
The was little chance that the Avs would come back, but any chance of that evaporated with 3 to go when Peter Budaj was called for roughing on Guillaume Latendresse. Budaj may have been frustrated by terrible play of the team in front of him, or the fact that Latendresse basically attacked Budaj. Either way, that was it for the comeback. The Avs got a late powerplay, but Kyle Ironhead Brodziak scored an empty netter (shorty to boot) to ice the game. For the final faceoff, Joe Sacco sent out David Koci and Cody McLeod. Shockingly, McLeod started a little scrum at the closing horn with an unnecessary late hit and the refs needed to keep a still hot Budaj from joining the quickly deflating fray. It was nice to see a little fire from the team. Small suggestion for next time, though: maybe get that going a little earlier than the last shift of the game?
- Porter, Stastny, Jones
- McClement, Duchene, Hejduk
- McLeod, O'Reilly, Winnik
- Koci, Dupuis, Yip
- Liles, O'Byrne
- Wilson, Johnson
- Hunwick, Wilson
- Erik Johnson was on the ice for 6 of the 7 goals tonight.
- I mentioned the Wild curse in the preview. Tonight's victim? John-Michael Liles, who left early with a leg injury. Stastny also took a puck off the head and the foot, but finished the game. He's probably having his spleen removed right now.
- David Jones, Milan Hejduk, Jay McClement and Brandon Yip are all listed in the scoresheet as having played in the game. I did not see any physical evidence of this, however.
The Avs try to make it 17 out of 18 against Anaheim on Friday