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Game 25 Recap: The Quest for .500 Comes Up Short

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The Avs play a good game against the Canadiens but shitty calls and a shortened bench proved too much.

I NO HAZ .500
I NO HAZ .500
Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

Game 25 Recap:  The Quest for the Holy .500

Hi everyone! Ready to watch Sgarbossa? Why not because he’s back baby! All kinds of back in the lineup. Let’s all sit down and watch Sgarbossa.

Okay? Okay.

Period 1:

The MacKinnon line started which saw some hectic play but Duchene’s line came out and Duchene took the puck low and just missed O’Reilly in front.

SGARBOSSA ALMOST SCORED!!!!! Well, sort of. Okay, not really. He just had a long-range wrist shot. Okay fine it was an easy save whatever

TANGENT 1: SGARMOTHERFUCKINGBOSSA!!!

TANGENT 2: Vincour plays well and physically.  I wonder if he ever sees the AHL again this year.

MacKinnon then took two obvious penalties but wasn’t called on either. Okay then refs. Let em play. [EDITOR’S NOTE: That sure evened out because the Avs were robbed on some non-calls]

Duchene’s line had some nice, well really fucking great, speed but Montreal played them tight and took the puck away before Duchene could get anything dangerous going.

MacKinnon’s came out with under 14 minutes left. They wont he face off and MacKinnon set up Landeskog right in front, but Price robbed him. Barrie then fought hard on the board to come away with the puck and Iginla eventually fed MacKinnon but he couldn’t beat Price again.

After a nice shift by the Sgarbossa line, Montreal scrambled and sprung a 3 on 2. Holden and Hejda kind of misplayed it, though it’s a tough call, and Sekac beat Pickard under his arm. 1-0 Montreal.

The Duchene line then saw some wonky bounces and a bad clear result in an icing. Montreal wasn’t able to use it thought.

The next 4 minutes saw frantic hockey if there ever was some. Montreal was able to find repetitive counter attacks that really wore out the Avs defense. There were a few stupid plays but really nothing too threatening.

And shit, Landeskog made a rare mistake. The Avs were trying to break it out and Landeskog tried to beat MaxPac in his own zone, but Max stripped in and had a breakaway on Pickard but Pickard was there to close the 5-hole. Phew. Bad Landy. Bad.

After a dangerous shift by the Canadiens and another great save by Pickard on MaxPac, the Avs, with under a minute left, were absolutely buzzing. The MacKinnon line stormed the Montreal defense. MacKinnon was able to find all kinds of space, circled around the net, and had time but almost had to much space. Then Johnson pinched and almost scored low. He then fed the puck in front but Montreal collapsed. Montreal then chipped the puck out of the zone.

Out came the SGARBOSSA line. Sgarbossa dumped the punch in and went to chase it down. He managed to stall the puck of Price’s stick and the puck came to the near corner. Briere went to dig it out. Montreal had control but Briere was able to steal in the low circle and skated in on Price with no one around except Talbot and Sgarbossa. He skated toward the hashmarks and beat Price near side. 1-1.

Period over. Though it was great to tie it, what really matters is that SGARBOSSA GOT A POINT MOTHERFUCKERS!!!!!!!!

Systems Summary: All in all it was a good period.  The Avs defense got caught running around twice, maybe three times, but did a great job keeping the Montreal forward to the outside.  The breakouts were a little weaker, but the Avs were getting speed coming out and clearly working on doing on. 

Regarding Montreal, you can see why they win so much. They are one of, if not, the best counter attack teams. Anytime the Avs forwards collapsed low on the opposing net, Montreal managed to spring a rush. The other interesting thing they do is a pseudo dump-in where the forward chip the puck off the boards from the neutral zone so it dies halfway into the Avs zone. It is creating all kinds of mid-zone forechecking mayhem. Roy will need to adjust that because Montreal uses it beautifully.

Period 2:

The Duchene line started the period and saw what looked like O’Reilly tweaking something. No injuries though. The Avs took the puck behind their net and started a smooth breakout by Johnson deftly launched Duchene into the Montreal zone. He had to stretch but was able to get to the puck and fight off the Montreal defender. He kept the puck in the corner and passed to Tanguay behind the net who quickly found O’Reilly on the near side who snuck the puck over Price’s shoulder onl 35 seconds into the period. 2-1 Avs.

The Duchene line came back out after two quick 3rd and 4th line shift to see even more pressure.

The MacKinnon line came out and saw two wacky bounces fuck them over, but a crossbar saved the day and the puck bounced off of it. What a bizarre fucking shift.

The Smith line came out and after what seemed like nice passing, Smith had it stripped. Pickard was able to make a nice save but Smith had to take a penalty on Eller.

PK1: The Avs first unit was able to maintain the Canadian but with less than 10 left on the power play the Avs left the back door open and Galchenyuk beautifully fed Markov across the crease for a virtually empty net goal. 2-2.

With under 10 minutes left Duchene broke past all the Montreal players, pulled it back and went far post. It hit off the post and off the near post and settled under Price. Amazingly, no goal. Wow. Just wow.

The Avs began to look for space in the neutral zone and Johnson had the puck role to send MaxPac again in on Pickard, but Pickard had him again.

The Avs then had a 2 on 1, but the Subban made a great diving play to break up Duchene’s pass.

The next shift saw Montreal storm in with speed the but the Avs were eventually able to get control and pull a Montreal counter-attack on Montreal after a nice outlet pass by Guenin. The Avs somehow got a 4 on 1 headed into the Canadiens zone with a line of Sgarbossa, Briere, Talbot and Barrie. The puck eventually got passed to Barrie and it looked like the Avs were going to blow this shit, but Barrie shot/pass bounced off something or someone or something, who the fuck knows, but the puck went in. 3-2 Avs. [EDITOR’S NOTE: That was a nice outlet-pass by Guenin, which means Cole owes us an article.]

The Duchene line came out a few minutes later and played pure possession or keep away with the Montreal defenders. McNabb humorously noted the Guenin pinched and made a behind the net pass to the other defenseman in Barrie. I love this offensive defensive shit.

Montreal took control of the play after an icing and eventually Subban fired an absolute rocket from the point after Talbot broke his stick. 3-3.

MacKinnon then someone stole the puck on the dump in (we would see it if they showed us) but then Montreal was out again on a counter attack. Galchenyuk skated right in front but Pickard made a beauty of a leg save.

For the remaining 3 minutes, the game became so hectic and fun to watch it was hard to recap.

With under 50 second left, Tanguay got called on an absolutely bullshit call. Markov was pushing Tanguay into Price who went down like a card castle. Fuck that.

PK2: Montreal couldn’t get much going and the period was over.

System Summary: Good. Just good hockey. The Avs played a good period. They gave up more shots than Montreal did, but I like what I saw. They were trying to find space and making sure to come back on the Montreal countered. That was one of the more entertaining periods of hockey I have seen in a long time.

Period 3:

PK2 (cont.): Montreal was able to gain possession but a nice O’Reilly stick broke up any chance. PK over. PHEWx2.

The Avs had some good chances, but O’Reilly had the puck roll off his stick and give the Canadiens two beautiful chances, but Pickard made two spectacular saves. Possibly game saving.

And finally the Canadiens were called on a penalty. Eller tripped Redmond heading into his corner and thankfully Redmond was okay.

PP1: The Avs had a great break into the zone and O’Reilly fed Duchene heading to the front and Duchene was absolutely manhandled but no call. Total bullshit. That’s god damn joke. The MacKinnon unit came out next (which saw him truck some dude). The Avs had chances but everything was blocked.

The Canadiens then pinned the Avs after a non-change but the Avs were able to keep pressure to the outside and eventually cleared the puck out to get a change.

INJRUY TIME OUT WHILE THE REF WAS INJURED.

And we’re back.

Montreal eventually broke in with under 7 left on a 2 on 1 but the Avs came back to break it up.

Then the Avs got another unlucky break as MaxPac broke in a 2 on 1. The Avs defenseman went down to block but the pass, but Max beat Pickard up high. 4-3 Montreal.

The Avs tried to get some pressure but Montreal was just chipping it out. After a Johnson pinch Montreal had another 2 on 1. The play stopped after Redmond and the Montreal player ran into Pickard.

With under 3 minutes left, Johnson took the puck from his own zone and skated through the entire team to get a good shot in on Price. And Pickard is out with 2:42 left.

The Avs got into the zone to see Price make two amazing saves first on Landeskog then on Iginla.

With 1:35 Pickard was back in the net.

The Avs had some good chances with the extra man but couldn’t put anything home and that was it.

The Avs continue to get screwed on their chances and the refs absolutely blew it for them tonight. However, they are the ones who blew this with some terrible turnovers. The Canadiens are good and extremely healthy team whereas the Avs were eventually running 2 lines for the 3rd. It is actually a pretty good performance given the injuries and your star players all playing around 18 minutes.

Regardless, that is a good game and the Avs are playing much better. If they play like this for the remainder of the season, I think they can manage to get 70 more points and push for the playoff spot.

Three Whores:

3rd Whore: Johnson.

2nd Whore: Barrie.

1st Whore: Duchene.

Next up: Calgary on Thursday. The quest for .500 continues.