Game 5: Avalanche vs. Senators
Good evening ladies and gentlemen, what is it that you desire? Oh, another Six Whores recap? Well I can provide that.
DRINKING UPDATE: I have this bottle of Scapa that really isn’t very good. Since Varly is hurt and the not very good Berra is starting, I might as well drink something that is not very good.
Also, in case you missed it, Varly hurt his penis muscle and Berra is starting. Since Berra is so bad, the Avs actually conceded 3 goals to get it over with. Odd, I know, but I think it’s logical.
OH!!! OH!!! But Mitchell is back, which is nice. He was sorely missed in the playoffs and if his conditioning is there, it lets Roy stack the top two lines again. Not like the Avs could score anyway. Right? AMIRITE?????
TANGENT 1: I cut my finger on something and it hurts.
TANGENT 2: I am watching the Rangers MSG feed before our game and I swear to god the announcers actually believe Nash will put in 50-60 goals. There’s not even a hint of him not being able to maintain this pace.
Period 1 (Again):
The Avs started the game with the Swedish Sandwich line of O’Reilly between Landeskog and Everberg. On defense, Johnson was paired with Holden. Good for Holden. Roy appears to be testing out his ceiling and early on in the season and early on in his career this is a good idea.
TANGENT 3: WHAT THE FUCK IS UP WITH MIKE HAYNES’ HAIR???? Dude had a rooooooouuuuugh night in Ottawa.
A minute and half into the game Berra was so bad he let up a goal. Oh wait, no, sorry. The Avs scored. After a nice steal by Briere at the Ottawa blue line, he deftly fed MacKinnon who slid the puck between the defenseman’s legs right to Tanguay who sniped the far left corner over Anderson. 1-0 Avs.
At the 17:30 mark, Karlsson pinged a wrist shot off the cross bar and then Berra got just run over and Berra may have been hurt. Berra was taking a minute to close his eyes and calm himself, but Berra is out of the game. The Avs needed to call on Calvin Pickard. [EDITORS NOTE: Well this certainly ruins my fucking trolling narrative for the game]
It took about 3 second for Senator’s to get a shot and bring Pickard in game. He stopped it and we were off in this, well, whatever we are calling it.
After a painful shift for MacKinnon when he blocked a high shot, the Avs broke out into a two on one with Barrie leading the rush. Barrie rushed down and went for the pass but the Senator’s defenseman was able to break it up nicely.
TANGENT 4: Papa Murphy’: Love at 425 degrees. Otherwise known as the temperature at which skin melts.
At the 11:17 mark, it appears Talbot was called for a weak holding the stick penalty.
PK1: The first minute of the Avs PK Was great as they kept clearing. 1 minute left in the PK and the AVS 2nd unit came out now with Mitchell and Everberg. Ottawa dumped the puck and Hejda was able to win the battle and clear it weakly up the boards. Mitchell streamed and chipped the puck around Karlsson and skated down the puck. Mitchell outraced Karlsson and found himself on a breakaway. He made a slight head fake and took a wrist shot off the far left post but it ricocheted off the post off Anderson’s back and into the net; a beautiful shorthanded goal. 2-0 Avs.
Oh you were still on the PP Ottawa? I didn’t notice. PK over.
Well, I look like an iditot. Off an defensive zone faceoff, Ottawa took a shot on Pickard which deflected straight up in the air and landed behind Pickard. Everyone chased it down, but Ottawa got there first. 2-1 Avs.
The following play saw Hejda take a holding penalty and the Avs were back to the PK.
PK2: Karlsson took a rocket of a one timer with Mark Stone in front of Pickard, but Pickard made a beauty of a glove save. Ottawa had some great movement but Pickard and the Avs very aggressive PK was there.
The Avs followed the PK with a great shift by the Duchene line. However, once the puck came into the neutral zone, Duchene went for the puck, Michalek dove like a Sedin twin and Duchene was headed to the box for the Avs 3rd PK.
PK 3: The Avs did a great job on this PK and Ottawa couldn’t even get a shot. Tanguay and McLeod had a great shift and pinned Ottawa for a good 10 seconds; Guenin even jumped in and a got shot of TAnguary’s steal. PK over.
Duchene’s line came out and had another dominating shift. Some great possession by Johnson and eventually Duchene’s absurd stopping and starting drew a penalty. Avs, finally, to the power play.
PP1: The Avs 1st unit came out with Landeskog, MacKinnon, O’Reilly, Johnson, and Tanguay. After and initial chance the Avs won a face off. MacKinnon and O’Reilly played the old keep-away and eventually O’Reilly passed below the goal line to MacKinnon who amazingly found Landeksog in the slot who chipped it over Andersons left shoulder due to an Ottawa stick deflecting it. 3-1 Avs.
TANGENT 4: This is looking more like the Avs I know. [EDITOR’S NOTE: L]
BUUUUUUUT then Biere got called for a penalty. NUMBER FOUR!!!!!! Another holding the stick penalty.
PK4: The Avs broke up the first 30 seconds of the PP with some nice neutral zone coverage (and a Karlsson giveaway). Period over but 30 seconds remain on the penalty kill.
Period Summary: Umm, that was interesting. The Avs played great to start. Scored a nice goal on some good board work. Then Berra gets run and the Avs run off 4 fucking penalties. It’s hard to judge but honestly it was a great period. The Avs looked like the Avs. Fast through the neutral zone, offensively scary every time, and I like how smothering the Avs defense was.
Systems Update: Hmmmmm. Good penalty kills!! Even a goal!! The Avs played their system fine, but only 10 minutes were played 5v5. The power play looked much better and Landeskog was able to get on the board. It’s hard to judge their systems but I did like how the Avs defense and back-checkers gave Ottawa no space to star their cycle.
PP4.5: Ottawa started on the power play, it was then over.
And just like that MacKinnon was up with O’Reilly and Landeskog. The 3rd line became Mitchell, Tanguay, and Briere. This was something we expected. This allowed Roy to roll out a much more standard line of McLoed, Talbot, and Everberg. I am all about those lines. That is a much more dominant 4th line. [EDITOR’S NOTE: I look like an idiot now]
Then McLoed and Borororroweski fought, kinda. Things happened. Penalties were assessed. I drank more. Ottawa also got an extra penalty. Avs get another power play!
PP2: The Avs first unit had some very good movement but Anderson never had to do too much. The Duchene unit then came out and had even better movement but a lot of it was on the perimeter. In the waning second Barrie fed Iginla who rifled a shot that Anderson couldn’t corral but it was cleared. PP over.
Then the Avs took another penalty for delay of game/puck over glass. Number 5!!!! Stupid Guenindorf.
PK5: Well it took until number 5, but Ottawa was able to score. Karlsson took a shot and Pickard went grab it but the puck deflected downward to Legwand in front and Legwand was able to score. 3-2 Avs.
The Avs 4th line came out and after nice forecheck, Talbot was able to draw a penalty. Great game changing play for the Avs. Then McLoed and Neil fought. Neil got the better of him, but more importantly is this upcoming power play.
PP3: Roy started again with his MacKinnon group. Duchene’s group followed suit and Barrie skated low and beautifully fed McGinn but he rang it off the post. Some nice chances, but nothing doin’.
With under 8 minutes left, it felt like this period was just flying by. The MacKinnon line stole the puck at the Senators blue line and O’Reilly skated around the entire zone, behind the net, fed MacKinnon in the slot and MacK ripped the shot off the post. Another fucking post. (Editor’s note: Ugh].
The Duchene line then went into overdrive. The absolute dominated the Senators, but couldn’t get one past Anderson. Then Johnson had the puck jump on him and saw the Senators on a breakaway but Pickard made a nice pad save.
The Avs 3rd line (a real one with Mitchell) came out and dominated down low. The Avs were able to keep the domination going with an on-the-fly shift to get MacKinnon’s line out. Anderson had to make a handful of saves, but it was still 3 to 2.
After a broken neutral zone play, Pickard absolutely made the save of the game. The Senators managed to gain control in the neutral zone and slowly break into the Avs zone. One cross ice pass from left to right opened up the Avs defense and the Senators, instead of shooting, moved it back to the far left slot where a Ryan was wide open, having beaten Holden, and had a wide open net. He tipped it toward the net, but Pickard sprawled with his left leg and absolutely robbed Bobby Ryan. The Senators followed that play with almost two minutes of equal domination but eventually the play stopped and the Avs could take a breath.
With 30 seconds left, McGinn stole the puck in the offensive zone and took a shot. He then swatted at the puck in Anderson glove. As Karlsson followed him, McGinn apologized in what was an interesting scene of gentlemanliness.
Following that shift saw, what I consider, the reason Stuart is valuable. The Senators tried to spring their cherry picking forward and both Stuart and the Ottawa forward jumped for the puck. Stuart lost his stick in the process but that did not matter. He forced his way and forced the puck behind the net. Still without a stick he was shoving players around and controlling possession even with out having the puck. Good on him, he’ll get there.
Period Summary: What a weird fucking game. The Avs, I think, outplayed the Senators. There were times of pure domination form the Avs top 3 lines but had lapses which led to allowing Ottawa back into it. The turning point of the period was the stupid Guenindorf delay of game. He’s got to be better than that. Overall, the Avs put up a lot of good, quality shots. Anderson had to stand tall and he did.
Systems Update: I still liked what I saw form the Avs defense and back-checkers but I really like how all four lines were able to roll the same system. They were using their defense to spring MacKinnon, Duchene, and Mitchell with speed out of their own zone, through the neutral zone, and into the Ottawa zone. That is one of the cruxes if not the major lynchpin of the Avs’ overall system.
DRINKING UPDATE 3 or something: I drink a lot when games move fast.
TANGENT 7-ish: Fuck, I have no idea what to expect. At this point, Pickard might get a hattrick. [EDITOR’S NOTE: Pickard had something to do with 3’s happen]
The period started off with a bang with MacKinnon hunting for that goal skating through the zone. Anderson got shoulder on it though.
The Avs had full control of play until Guenin decided to be Guenin and make a weak weak chip into the Ottawa sticks. The Avs had to scramble to get control again. The Avs then had a stupid giveaway right in front of Pickard, but eventually Barrie ended up getting hauled down by Zbinejad (sp? Sure).
PP4: MacKinnon’s unit came out first but even with some good entry, the Avs could not generate anything. It took Duchene’s unit to at least get a shot on net, but eventually their time ran out too.
The Avs had some good pressure with MacKinnon’s line, but as O’Reilly tried to get to fancy, he lost the puck. Ottawa dumped it in and though Barrie was there, Holden ended up getting called for boarding on the second fore-checker. The Avs were back to the PK in what was by far the biggest PK of the game.
PK6: Ottawa got into the zone off a funny dump in that had a massive rebound come out to Ottawa, but after some movement, Stuart was skating it out but the Ottawa player dove, got the puck, but took down Stuart. That new rule came into play.
4v4: Well that was not fun. Bobby Ryan caught Pickard cheating. Ottawa took it into the zone and Bobby Ryan was fed the puck at the blue line, he cut back, and threw it toward Pickard who wasn’t quite down yet and was beat 5-hole. 3-3.
The Avs then had a minuscule remaining PP but nothing came of it.
The game began to scramble itself into an omelet and eventually after multiple turnovers Ottawa fed McArthur in front and tipped it by Pickard. 4-3 Ottawa. The Avs defense completely melted down.
7 minutes left and the Avs needed to find a way back in this game. And Talbot then got shoved/ran into Anderson and got called for goalie interference.
PK7: Ottawa had some good chances, but Pickard didn’t need a stop anything at all. The Avs killed it and there was 4 minutes left to tie this game.
With less than 3 minutes left, the Avs tried to stretch out the neutral zone to break down the Ottawa collapsing zone. Neither stretch passes worked.
2 minutes left and Pickard is off the ice. The Avs tried to move the puck through the zone, ended up losing it, and Neil was able to shovel the puck down the ice and hit the far corner. Tough break for the Avs. 5-3 Ottawa.
Third Whore: Calvin Pickard. For what he had to go through, well done by him. He has a future I think. He let up 4 goals, but the Avs defense collapsed.
Second Whore: Mitchell. He played absolutely stellar all game and earned his first goal on the beauty of a shorthanded goal.
First Whore: MacKinnon. He played the best game of this season and finally was able to find speed.
Summary: Simply put, the Avs system collapsed in the 3rd. I don’t know if this is the players being happy with a lead or Roy not pushing them. Regardless, that is twice in a row this has happened and we can all be pissed off and shit but the fact is this team is looking better. They had a slow start and I think now with Mitchell back, Roy is able to run his top 6 the way he wants. Mitchell makes a huge difference.
To be frank, this was a weird game. Weird games happen. There were weird bounces, there were phantom calls and then of course calls on both sides that went nowhere. I still believe the Avs have a sense of hubris to them. They know they can score. They need to sort of reset and realize it won’t be as easy this year. I believe Roy will fix it.
My bigger concern is Berra. The Avs need him.
Anyway, Montreal on Saturday. Hopefully Berra is healthy.