The Vancouver Canucks wasted very little time in showing why they are the second best team in the Western Conference tonight as David Booth scored on a very beautiful backhand just 13 seconds into the game. I really thought the Avs defense did just about everything they could on this play. O'Byrne and Hejda had the forwards in front of them. O'Byrne even buried Booth as he was taking the backhand shot that found it's way past Giguere.
For the rest of the period, in which the Canucks out shot the Avs 10-7, Giguere stood tall for the Avs. Especially after having their confidence shaken with that early goal against.
Unfortunately though it appears as if the injury bug is starting to rear it's ugly head. Heading into the game the Avs were without the oft injured Peter Mueller who was out with a "torso injury". To make matters worse, Jean-Sebastien Giguere and T.J. Galiardi left during the 1st period. Giguere left with what the team is calling a groin injury and Galiardi is left with a shoulder injury.
The first period wasn't all bad for the Avs however. With just under 10 seconds to play the Avs had a quick two on one develop between Jay McClement and Kevin Porter where Roberto Luongo barely was able to pin the puck underneath his right pad and keep the Canucks on top 1-0 heading into the first intermission.
Coming out of the first intermission, it was going to be absolutely vital for the Avs to come out flying right out of the gate and get some pucks on Luongo. Overall the Avs did end up out shooting Vancouver 13-10 during the 2nd period.
Overall the Avalanche won the second period, not only because they scored the only goal, but because in general they thoroughly outplayed the Canucks.
The Avs got on the scoreboard just over halfway through the period when Milan Hejduk found Erik Johnson, who had drifted down to from his point position and was all alone to fire a wrist shot into an open net. Milan Hejduk and David Jones picked up the assists on Johnson's 3rd goal of the season.
Perhaps one of the biggest plays for the Avs in the second period was Varly's stop on David Booth's breakaway with just over 5 minutes to play to preserve the 1-1 tie for Colorado.
The one thing a referee or linesman never wants to do is affect the game in any way. Unfortunately linesman Steve Miller wasn't able to get out of the way of a clearing attempt by the Avs. The puck ended up on Cody Hodgson's stick and he was able to find Jannik Hansen who was wide open and fired a hard one-timer past Semyon Varlamov who had no chance on the shot.
I personally find it amazing that linesmen and referees don't get into the way more often, especially with how fast the game is played in today's NHL. It was definitely a bad bounce for the Avs and I'm sure no one feels worse about the way the play than Steve Miller.
The Canucks would seal the game with an empty net goal by Alexandre Burrows with just over a minute to play in the game.
MHH Avalanche 3 Stars of the Night
- 1 Erik Johnson, 1G (Scored a goal in his second game in a row)
- 2 Gabriel Landeskog, (Led the entire team in ice time with 23:34 and in shots with 5)
- 3 Semyon Varlamov, (Played extremely well in relief of Giguere, stopped 20 of 21 shots)
- 1 Landeskog-O'Reilly-Porter
- 2 Hejduk-Stastny-Jones
- 3 Galiardi-McClement-Winnik
- 4 McLeod-Van der Guilik
- 1 Hejda-O'Byrne
- 2 Barrie-O'Brien
- 3 Quincey-Johnson
- 1 The injury bug is starting to show up and I am NOT a fan.
- 2 For a goalie struggling with his confidence right now, the effort by Varlamov in net tonight cannot go unnoticed. I personally think he is turning the corner on the slump/funk that he's been in of late.
- 3 Erik Johnson appears to be finding his scoring touch again. With forwards starting to go down with injuries, scoring from the defensive corps will be vital if the Avs want to make a run at the 8th and final playoff spot.
NHL.com Recap & Highlights
The Avs travel to Edmonton on Friday to try improve their absolutely horrendous record against the Northwest Division.