Just over two minutes in the game, Cody McLeod picked up where the rivalry left off as he slammed Niklas Kronwall into the boards in the scariest of ways. Kronwall had to be taken off the ice on the stretcher, and McLeod got five minutes for boarding and a game misconduct, and rightfully so. He'll get a phone call on that, and I'll be surprised if he doesn't get minimum of 5 games for it. Fortunately, Kronwall gave the thumbs up to the crowd on his way out. He ended up staying at the Pepsi Center, but he reportedly suffered a concussion and lacerations.
Crazily, it was four on four for two minutes as Jonathan Eriksson got a two minute penalty for grabbing McLeod. As the wings developed some pressure on the play, Ryan Wilson took a hooking penalty. As AJ said, "Move your feet, don't get beat." Wilson didn't and did. Wings ended up with a 1:30 for 5 on 3. Avalanche killer Johan the Ass Franzen scored with a minute left in the 5 on 4. Seconds later, Todd Bertuzzi took a
surprising slashing penalty, giving the Avs their first PP after a minute of four on four. The PP helped the team settle down from the McLeod incident, but they still came up short, keeping the score 1-0 wings.
Avs get the first full power play as Wilson drew a xx on Stephen Weiss. Despite some good movement, shots ended up high and wide instead of in the back of the net. The kill gave the Wings energy, and Pavel Datsyuk put the bad guys up by two. Matt Duchene got nailed in the corner and spent the rest of the shift limping around. He made it back out a few shifts later, however, and was flying around like nothin' happened, even using his speed to get a breakaway. Sadly, Jakub Kindl slashed the shit out of his hands in what the refs determined was "good defense," ending in a toe save by wings 'tender Jonas Gustavsson.
The team overcame the deer-in-the-headlights, what-is-happening-right-now feeling created by the McLeod hit with some solid, these-are-the-guys-we-know play to finish out the period.
A frenzy of Avs in front of the wings' net forced Bertuzzi to take a holding penalty just forty seconds into the middle frame, setting up the perfect opportunity for the home team to set the tone. The boys did just that, cutting lead in half with a beauty of a shot by Erik Johnson. He carried the puck the full two-hundred feet, split the D and hit twine top shelf. Semyon Varlamov got the assist. And Kyle Quincey got slapped all over the face by a big speeding Johnson.
The Avs got hemmed in the zone with Varly needing to make a few good saves when, with a clearing attempt, Jaime McGuinn (who had been a boss all night) nailed Daniel Alfredsson right in the face with a hard clearing attempt. He headed straight to the locker room for medical attention, but he came back out shortly thereafter.
Cory Sarich got into an unexpected fight as Grandpa Miller took exception to a clean, hard hit by number 16. Avs went on the PP, though, because Justin Abdelkader decided crosschedking is the new cool thing to do. Gabriel Landeskog made him pay as he finally got one. With the penalty winding down, he scooped up a beautiful face off win by Paulybadnuts Stastny and sent a wrister right over Gustavsson's blocker, embarrassing him with the softest of soft goals. Game tied at two.
John "The Legend" Mitchell put the wings on the PP, tripping up Alfredsson. The most interesting thing about that penalty kill, though, was Alex Tanguay looking lost and trying to find a center to pass the puck to.
Second period ended tied at two with the ice tilted to the Avalanche side of the fence.
MacKinnon...holy shit. Using his speed through center ice, wings D thought they could manhandle the rookie off the puck. Nope. Mac decided to go through them showing the sick skills this guy has. Unfortunately, some serious holding and interference prevented a goal. What seemed a trend as the game continued, there was no call on the play.
Tangs headed to the penalty box for hooking after another missed call by the refs, this time when Duchene was tripped at the blueline. The PK started off looking tired and passive but some strong heads up play by Varly kept the wings off the board. With 25 seconds left in the penalty, however, Ass did it again with a wrister over Varly's glove. The play for the Avs broke down after wings started as another missed call forced Mitchell to go to the bench for a new stick since his was broken in half with a big ole slash. Of course, if Andre Benoit had his man, the shot doesn't get on net. 3-2 wings.
Avs maintained serious control in the wings' zone, buzzing around the net, and got some good looks. One of the better ones was by McGuinn, who was forcing his way toward the crease. He was hauled down right in front of the ref and yet did not get the call. Again.
Starting at the ten-minute mark, the wings took over the game. Blocking a shot, Landy took one to the leg and limped off the ice and to the locker room. He didn't return. Sigh. Both Johnson and Benoit decided that sliding on the ice is the best kind of defense, putting out the welcome mat for Datsyuk. He didn't blow the chance, giving detroit a 4-2 lead. The goal sapped all of the Avs' energy--both players and fans--and it became a game of just getting out alive. It was far too reminiscent of last season. Despite an avalanche of shots in the final minute, the boys couldn't bury the biscuit.
MHH Three Anti-Stars
1. Cody McLeod - his stupidity killed the Avs mojo for most of the first period.
2. Andre Benoit - bad positioning, stomach defense, and no-show on the power play made him Ball Sack instead of Balls.
3. Ryan O'Reilly - what the hell was
O'Reilly - Duchene - Downie
Landeskog - Stastny -Tanguay
McGinn - MacKinnon - Parenteau
Bordeleau - Mitchell - McLeod
- Healthy Scratches: Holden, Barrie, Cliche
1. fuck Ass
2. Avs had more hits, more face off wins and more shots (holding the wings to only 28), but fewer goals
3. MacKinnon is a mad man, already looking like the kind of player who can single-handedly take over a game
4. McLeod played 39 seconds tonight
Buffalo Sabers hit Denver for a 5:00 pm tilt.