26 seconds. That's all it took for the Winnipeg Jets to take a lead over the Colorado Avalanche with a dirty goal that bounced off Erik Johnson's skate. The goal was given to Blake Wheeler, though he mostly was the recipient of a favorable bounce.
Exactly two minutes later, a swarm of Jets in the crease forced the Avs to take a penalty with Johnson sitting for holding. Nearly a minute and a half later, Nate Guenin was the victim of an unfortunate puck flip and grabbed the delay of game penalty, giving the Jets a 38-second five-on-three. I've said it a million times, but I'm going to say it again: puck over the glass should be treated exactly the same as icing. It's stupid to grant a power play for something that can not only be inadvertent, but the result, as it was this time, of a fluky bounce.
It was the delay of game that cost the Avs a second goal against. As much as Haynes and McNab want to sell it as "bodies down low," Semyon Varlamov had a clear look on that and just didn't handle the pad save well. Anyone else think he looks shaky lately?
Sigh. Something happened during the TV time out apparently because the Avs were given a bench minor, which Nate MacKinnon served. Six minutes of penalties in seven minutes of game time. Lol. This team's propensity to take penalties is, in my opinion, the biggest reason they're struggling right now. Fortunately, Colorado was able to kill this one off.
Continuing with the bad luck, Gabe Landeskog lost an edge, took a hard tumble into the boards and limped off the ice, clearly in a lot of pain. Thankfully, he didn't leave the bench and ended up coming back out on the ice, hinting that things aren't as bad as one would fear.
Matt Duchene broke his scoring drought by banking the puck around the defender and sniping one home after a nifty little move cutting through the defender. HYPOTENUSE MOTHER FUCKER. 2-1 Jets.
Avs got the best shift of the night for either team as they maintained control in the offensive zone for a good 1.5 minutes. However, STOP SHOOTING WIDE, AVALANCHE. There's this thing. It's called a net. There's this big dude crouched in front of it. He's leaving some holes open. THAT IS WHERE THE PUCK SHOULD BE HEADED.
The first period was all Winnipeg for 15 minutes. Then it was all Avs for 5 minutes. Would the momentum continue into the second? Only time would tell.
With nearly five minutes of nap time to start the second, the Avs got their first power play of the night on a high sticking that occurred in much the same way as John Mitchell's slashing penalty the other night: wrong stick, ref. It really didn't matter as Colorado just couldn't get shit going, and the seconds ticked away with only a handful of shots on net.
After another siesta, Landeskog drew a tripping penalty on Olli You're Jokinen. While the boys got a lot more going on that bid, Jets' Ondrej Pavelec and high shots robbed the team of the equalizer. Sadly, the offensive pressure was killed by the penalty the Avs drew just seconds after their PP ended. Landy was called for
playing good defense tripping.
This time around, it was Winnipeg that couldn't get something going on the PP. The kill gave the Avs some mojo, and strong work around the net paid off. Duchene did a little reverse behind the net, dished the puck out to Ryan O`Reilly, who slipped one between three Peggers and a goalie to tie things up. In true Slap Fight fashion, they celebrated the goal by
glaring at each other and skating to the bench rocking a bear hug.
In what seems like forever, the team we came to know and love in the first month of the season returned for a while to close out the second. It was gorgeous, especially when the speed of Duchene and MacKinnon combined to create magic. 9 seconds left. Dutchy picked off a pass in the defensive zone and slid a saucer up to MacKinnon. MacK turned on the burners and blew past Wheeler on the inside of the board. Much to the surprise and chagrin of the Winnipeg bench, Duchene had caught up to the play just in time for 29 to chip a cross-crease pass. Flying towards the net, backhanded the puck past a stunned Pavelec. 2 seconds left. The Warp Speed Line netted three goals in the second to give the Avs the lead at the mid-frame buzzer.
It was the Jets that came out ready for the third, forcing the Avs to chase their tails quite a bit. At 11:58, Cory Sarich's stick got tangled up in Wheeler's legs, once again putting Winnipeg on the power play. Unfortunately, this gave the Jets the chance they needed to tie things up as Wheeler poked a rebound home.
With just over seven left in the game, Varly flashed some skills and cashed in on some luck to keep the swarming Jets from taking the lead. It all started on what was going to be an O'Reilly breakaway, but he was tripped up, giving the bad guys some space and time to get something going. Was that trip penalty worthy? You tell me.
A penalty was called a bit later, but it was Landeskog going to the box after a big hit on Stuart. Who cares that Stuart saw the hit coming and purposefully turned away? I guess Gabe could've stopped, but I'm tired of guys getting calls by putting themselves in a vulnerable position. Stuart should have braced himself for the hit.
A good kill by the boys preserved the tie, though, so the teams entered the final four minutes still looking for the winner. Refreshingly, both teams were not satisfied with just hanging on for the extra point, and some exciting chances developed at both ends of the ice. Alas, overtime was still where we ended up.
The extra five minutes didn't help in solving the puzzle of who would win this game, and the teams took it to the shoot out. This was the second time this season that the Avs went to the skills competition with O'Reilly getting the winner against Minnesota.
The Jets went first with Devin Setoguchi starting things out. Andrew Ladd would get the nod for Winnipeg's second round. But Roy's decision to go with Duchene and PA Parenteau was too much because Varly was perfect, so perfect that he headed to the bench after the second save, confident his boys would pull out the W.
MHH Three Stars
1. Matt Duchene - 2g, 1a
2. Nathan MacKinnon - 1a, 5 shots, 4 hits
3. Ryan O'Reilly - 1g, 1a
- Nick Holden led the entire team in ice time at 23:14.
- Avs had 12 minutes in penalties. TWELVE.
- Varlamov is perfect in shoot outs this season and leads the league in career numbers for goalies who have manned the net in 10 or more shoot outs
Highlights - Duchene Being...well, Duchene
Saturday night in Denver against the Minnesota Wild.
Semyon Varlamov had a clear look on that and just didn't handle the pad save well. Anyone else think he looks shaky lately?
Every time I bitch about someone playing poorly, the guy makes me look foolish by the end of the game. Finding it funny now.