Military Appreciation Night started (on the ice) with a string of dump-ins, icings, and offsides as the Avalanche seemed to be starting late again. The visiting Hurricanes generated some one-and-done chances, but Colorado netminder Jean-Sebastien Giguere stood tall. A good shift by the T. J. Galiardi line was followed up shortly after be a great shift from the Paul Stastny line at about 7 minutes into the period. Toward the tail end of that shift, the Hurricanes pushed the tempo back the other way and a short shift saw everybody on the home team watching or chasing the other Stewart (Anthony) out of the corner. He found Tim Brent alone in the slot for the quick shot past Giguere for the 1-0 lead on Brent's 8th of the season.
Not long after, a freshly-over-the-wall Cody McLeod drove to the back of the Carolina net and tripped trade-rumor-target Tuomo Ruutu for the first PK sighting of the game. The Avs killed it off with some good work down low and some better work by Giggy on some sweet Carolina (BUH, BUH, BUUUM) plays. The Avalanche responded with a good shift from the Stastny line but nobody could finish. Not long after another good series by the Ryan O`Reilly line resulted in nil on the board, Stastny got called for a slash as he tried to generate something in the offensive zone. The 'Canes pressed hard but couldn't bury one past Giguere even though the Avalanche looked to be firmly entrenched in survive-the-period-mode.
Surprise!! A great forecheck by Peter Mueller and Gabriel Landeskog resulted in a typical why-pass-when-I-can-shoot shot from Landeskog who beat a somewhat-surprised Cam Ward with just over a minute left in the game. Another surprise!! The next shift down by the 'Canes resulted in scrambly d-zone entry work and Jan Hejda provided a quick screen for a Jiri Tlusty shot to beat Giguere. Carolina had regained the one-goal lead as the period came to an end. Lackluster play and two power plays resulted in the Avs getting outshot 12-6 in the first frame.
The second period started with some backpeddling and Giguere was called on early and often as the 'Canes were shooting from everywhere. Colorado finally got a good breakout from their own end and the Stastny line decided that would be a good time to put on a clinic. A passing and goalie undressing clinic that is. Hejduk-to-Jones-to-Stastny-to-Hejduk for the tying goal (for those scoring at home). That was a beautiful goal by the throwback line from the beginning of the season. Lots of sauce on that play.
Carolina answered with some decent pressure and rolling chances before a spectacular shift by the Jay McClement line around the 9 minute mark resulted in a Tyson Barrie shot that got redirected between Cam Ward's pillows but trickled juuuuuuuuuuust wide. Then the game shifted to a back-and-forth affair with chances at both ends, but lots of consistent pressure and good opportunities from the hometown Burgundy and Frostbite Blue. With just over 6 minutes left in the game, Mueller was the benefit of a giveaway behind the 'Canes' net. He threw the puck in front to Landeskog who tried to slip it in farside but missed.
A quick carry-in by Ruutu and a good net drive by all three Carolina forwards resulted in a bad bounce finding its way to Eric Staal's stick with just over 4 minutes left in the period. He didn't miss on the empty net as Giguere had slid to his right trying to follow the pass through traffic. That goal was just Staal's 14th of the season. Then, at almost exactly 1 minute left in the period some great hustle and work from David Jones behind the net got the Avalanche back even. Jones pulled the puck off the boards after carrying it deep and passed it to a streaking Stastny who put the puck on a string and tucked it past a sliding Ward for HIS 14th goal of the season. Colorado went into the 2nd intermission tied on the scoreboard but being badly outshot (33-21).
Much more balanced start to the third. Lots of neutral zone possession and both teams did a better job of standing up at their own blueline. The Avs get about a minute of strong possession in the 'Canes' zone after a set play off a faceoff resulted in Tyson Barrie flying into the zone and pushing the play below the circles. Treated to Hejduk playing D for a pinching Shane O`Brien toward the end of that same shift. Ward was forced to make a couple of tough saves through traffic.
A bad entry play by Hejda generated a 3-on-1 the other way but Giguere made a tough blocker save. Scary moment alert when a hustling Hejda tripped over a sprawled Ruutu and went into the boards awkwardly but appeared OK. O`Reilly had a golden oppertunity off of a turnover that was picked up and dished to him by Landeskog but he hit the post with a yawning net in front of him at about 9 minutes gone in the period. Not long after Ruutu drew a penalty as he got crowbared between the legs by Jones at the blueline.
At the start of the penalty kill, Radar goes on a steal-and-shooting spree like a crack head on Devil's Night but Ward stood (butterflied) tall. Radar then took his rage out on the bench door. Dude was nuclear pissed! The team responded because it looked like everybody seemed to have some jump as they wanted to bury a goal for him. Stastny and Jones were flying in the offensive zone and then Landeskog was driving the net while holding off a defender. Carolina answered with pressure of their own in the last few minutes of the period. Landeskog and O'Reilly nearly netted a winner with a strong net drive. Jan Hejda also handled his business by erasing a Tlusty rush at the other end. Both teams survived for the end of regulation point and the game went to overtime. The shot differential had closed a lilttle by that point, 40-31 in the Hurricanes' favor.
Giguere was forced to make a good save on a tipped shot about a minute into the 5-minute OT. Barrie drove in and got a good look at Ward on the next shift. Most of the extra frame had been in Carolina's favor. Some sphincter-clenching neutral zone 'play' with less than two minutes left in bonus time generated some more good possession time for the 'Canes before Ryan O'Reilly decided to end the game. He stripped Justin Faulk in the neutral zone, pushed the play into the Carolina zone, tee'd it up, and let slip the Dogs of War with a slapshot fueled by rage and frustration that beat Ward short side with less than TWO SECONDS TO GO IN OT!!!!!!!!!!!!
MHH Bestest Three Avs of the Night
- O'Reilly, was a boss in the third and OT
- Stastny, assist and the game-tying goal + 70% in the circle
- Landeskog, who I'm convinced is trying for a double-double in shots and hits every night
- Landeskog - O'Reilly - Mueller
- Jones - Stastny - Hejduk
- Galiardi - McClement -Winnik
- McLeod - van der Gulik - Kobasew
- Johnson - Quincey
- Hejda - O'Byrne
- Barrie - O'Brien
- Scratches: Hunwick, Wilson, Porter
- Carolina seemed to be shooting wide deliberately ALOT from the point to try to get Jiggy moving out of the net.
- Barrie seemed to struggle with the aggressive Hurricane forecheck and had a couple of rookie mistakes in his own end. He upped his offensive/skating game in the third and OT though.
- Jiggy was generating more rebounds than a drunk point guard.
NHL.com Recap & Highlights
The Avalanche travel to St. Louis for a tilt against the Blues tomorrow night @ 6:00 pm.