This game was hyped as a playoff type game and from the time the puck dropped the playoff intensity was palpable. Unfortunately, a few unlucky bounces gave the Phoenix Coyotes an early lead that they would not relinquish. The loss puts a major dent in the Avs' post season hopes.
First Period: For the second game in a row the Avs allowed an early goal. A failed clearing attempt 3 1/2 minutes in ended up in the back of the Avalanche net as a centering pass trickled behind Varlamov and was poked through as a pile of players crashed onto Varly, knocking him into the net. No review. 1-0 Phoenix. Raffi Torres with an ugly playoff type goal.
Stastny had a great chance a minute later on a cross-crease feed from David Jones, but the big oaf that is the Coyotes netminder, Mike Smith, flung his mass of flesh across to make the save. The Avs received their first powerplay in 16 months after a flurry of Colorado chances and almost capitalized but Smith made a nice toe/kick save on McGinn to keep the home team ahead.
thought acted like they scored a powerplay goal with 5 minutes left in the first, but video review confirmed the call on the ice: no goal. The Avs killed the penalty for their 12th kill in a row, but a minute later, Shane O'Brien failed to control a 3-on-2 pass from Gabriel Landeskog and it turned into a 4-on-1 the other way for Phoenix. Chipchura corralled the puck just out of Varlamov's reach and scored to make it 2-0. Frustrating period as the Avs seemed to have more and better chances (2 Phoenix PPs not withstanding), but sulked off to locker room down 2-0.
Second period: The middle frame was all Avs until 3:05 left when Torres got his 2nd goal of the game after Phoenix's first remotely decent shift all period. Varly made the first save and the puck shot out and across the ice to a wide open Torres who was supplied with an open net. 3-0 Yotes.
Third Period: The Avs made a valiant effort in the third, but it would prove to be too little too late. Ryan O`Reilly broke out of his goal scoring streak to cut the Phoenix lead to 3-1 as he came out from behind the net and beat Smith cleanly with a perfect shot to the far side. The Avs struck again with 5 1/2 to play as Jamie McGinn's point shot got double deflected by Jones and then Stastny past Smith to make it 3-2. The Avs pulled Varlamov with a minute and a half left and the refs called matching minors seconds later, resulting in a 4-on-4. With the Colorado netminder pulled again, it turned into a 5-on-4 for the Avs. The boys threw everything at the Coyote net, but Smith turned it all aside to hold on for the win. The Coyotes jump from 9th place to third, and the Avs fall to 8th. If LA gets a point tonight, the Avs fall out of the top 8.
MHH Best Three Avs of the Night
- Ryan O`Reilly 1 goal, 7 shots, 3 hits, +1, won 57% face offs
- Jamie McGinn, 1 assist, 9 shots
Paul Stastny, 1 goal, 5 shots, +1, won 53% face offs
- Landeskog - O'Reilly - Downie
- McGinn - Stastny - Jones
- Mueller - Duchene - Hejduk
- McLeod - McClement - Olver
- Barrie - O'Brien
- Hejda- O`Byrne
- Hunwick - Wilson
- After that second Phoenix goal, you got the feeling that no matter what the Avs did tonight, they weren't going to get many bounces, many breaks, or many points. It was just one of those games: the Avs make one mistake, the puck ends up in the back of their net. Phoenix makes a mistake, the Avs hit a post. Avs out shot PHX 41-25.
- Get well soon Erik Johnson. Your team needs you.
- The McGinn-Stastny-Jones was again the Avs best line tonight. McGinn had a bevy of chances all night. Thanks Shermie!
NHL.com Recap & Highlights
The push for the playoffs continues as the Avalanche host the Daniel Sedin-less (Diving Concussion) Canucks Saturday March 24th for an 8pm puck drop. Colorado is 0-3-1 against Vancouver this season.