Tonight the boys take on Winnipeg, which handed the Avs a brutal 6-2 defeat just last week. I had the honor of covering that contest, so let’s hope for better at the Can. The Jets, 13-4-5 in their last 22 games, are without Evander Kane, and the Avs are without a lot of people.
Colorado gets an early power play after Gabriel Landeskog sells a trip by Dustin Byfuglien. They do a decent job keeping the puck in the zone; Barrie gets a drive from the blue line, then prevents a shorthanded breakout by the Jets. The chance goes begging, and the PP woes continue.
The Avs get a few looks at the net following the power play, including a chance for Landeskog. Winnpieg responds with a couple chances and Calvin Pickard makes a nice save on Bryan Little. Alex Tanguay has his breakaway chance deflected by a diving Adam Pardy. Duchene is then robbed by Ondrej Pavelec, but does draw a penalty on the play and the Avs get a power play with 10:30 left in the period.
The announcers note that the Jets take the most penalties in the league; a nice anecdote if the opposition could take advantage of the opportunity. Colorado is obviously not that team at the moment, and the power play chance is highlighted by one decent chance, and horrible disorganization on the unit.
Winnipeg gets a power play chance, but the stellar Avs PK doesn’t break a sweat in killing it off. Entering the game, Colorado ranked second in power play save percentage (92.81) with a PDO of 105.3. Of course.
Pickard makes a nice glove save on Adam Lowry with about three minutes left in the period. The 12 one-goal losses lead the league box state comes up. Holden takes a hooking penalty *drink* ("only" his 12th minor of the season, feels like more) and Winnipeg gets a power play bridging the first and second periods. The Jets can’t do anything with the first 25 seconds of the power play, and we head to the locker room scoreless after one. Pretty decent effort I guess five-on-five, seems about even at this point. The hints of speed are there.
The Jets have 1:25 left on the power play, and eventually score to take a 1-0 lead. Pickard makes a few nice saves, but gets no help from his defense as Andrew Ladd stands in front of the net without a bother and pokes home a rebound. 1-0 Jets with 18:39 left in the second.
Jets almost get a second as 14 just misses an open net on a rebound chance. Pavelec then makes two saves on Nathan MacKinnon, who uses his speed to create space.
Fear not Avs fans, because Colorado quickly gets an equalizing goal. Playmaking machine Jan Hejda makes a great pass over to Duchene, who slams it into the empty net. Nice vision from Hejda after the initial pass by Tanguay, O’Reilly was back on defense to allow the Czech to get forward. 1-1 with 16:05 left in the second.
It’s end to end stuff for the next few minutes, with Pavelec and Pickard making saves. At about the halfway point of the game, the Avs have allowed 17 shots, which is right on track with their average for the season L.
The Jets are flying around and making Pickard work. Off a faceoff, Ladd and Landeskog go at it and the crowd goes wild. Yay. Shockingly, the fight does little to change proceedings, as the Jets cycle the puck. We do get McNabb fighting memories, so if that’s your thing, then cool. McLeod then takes a minor, and Winnipeg heads back to the man advantage with less than seven minutes left in the period.
The Jets get a golden chance right off the bat, but Blake Wheeler’s chance is stopped by Pickard. Winnipeg does score soon after though; Mark Scheifele’s pass is deflected by Hejda and into the path of Paul Postma, who knocks it home. A slightly fortunate bounce I guess, but the pass across would have been tapped in as well. 2-1 with 5:20 left in the period.
Action settled down for a few minutes, and all of a sudden Danny Briere gets a breakaway chance that he fluffs wide. With 34 seconds left in the period, Scheifele takes a stick to the face by Tanguay, and the Jets will have a power play spanning the second and third periods. 2-1 to Winnipeg after 40.
The Jets dominated most of the period and could have been up by a few more. Why is this team so lifeless right now?
The Jets get some power play time to begin things, but the Avs kill it off with about 18:30 left. Colorado gets some decent pressure with MacKinnon and O’Reilly working with the puck.
Colorado turns the puck over *shot* and Scheifele buries it into the top corner after a gorgeous feed by Mathieu Perreault. 3-1 Jets with 15:28 left in the game. Very ugly after the Avs had just had a decent shift or two.
A few minutes after the goal, Mackinnon draws a penalty and the Avs get a chance to get back into the game. They barely threaten, but Postma takes a penalty right after the Jets get back to full strength. Landeskog gets a decent chance on this power play that doesn’t go in and Winnipeg kills off the back-to-back penalties.
GOAL. The Avs finally bury one. Jarome Iginla finishes off a beautiful move for the Avs. Hejda dishes to Duchene, Duchene to Tanguay and Tanguay to Iginla for the goal. Go figure, a team put together a couple nice passes and it resulted in a good chance at the net. 3-2 Winnipeg with 7:05 left. That felt like the first sighting of the game for Iggy, very quiet.
There is a little energy in the place now as Tyson Barrie races through the defense and tries to score. Winnipeg does get a two-on-one that Wheeler sort of blows. Five minutes left now and the Avs are starting to buzz a bit.
GOAL. Simple as you’ll see, Landeskog with the shot from outside that Pavelec saves with his blocker, but only into the path of the onrushing O’Reilly. O’Reilly beat Ladd to the puck in front and its 3-3 with 2:42 left.
Pickard makes a save on Mark Stuart with time running out. The announcers sell it as a fantastic save, so I guess I’ll take their word for it. The final 15 seconds tick off the clock and we are headed to overtime.
Action is fast and furious as Landeskog and then Wheeler get good looks at the net. Pickard makes a great save on a breakaway by Ladd and then the rebound by I think by Little, who has been brutal tonight. Byfuglien then drives one that’s saved. MacKinnon blazes up the left side for a two-on-one, his pass is deflected to Duchene but Pavelec makes the easy save.
The thrilling overtime comes to a close, and we are headed to a shootout.
MacKinnon goes first, and rips a wrister top shelf after some slick wrist work. 1-0 Avs.
Perreault goes for Winnipeg, but Pickard makes the save low.
Duchene up for Colorado, and he goes upstairs as well for the goal making it 2-0 Colorado.
Pickard makes the save on Wheeler, and the Avs come away with a wild 4-3 shootout win.
Third star: Gabriel Landeskog (Assist, fight, did captainy things)
Second star: Matt Duchene (Goal scorer, looked slightly threatening with the puck)
First star: Calvin Pickard (30 saves, left out to dry on all three goals really, played better than his numbers would indicate)
Really happy for Pickard, because he was probably the best player on the ice for the Avalanche and he deserved a better fate than what appeared coming in the third period. Another laboring performance as nothing appeared easy for the skaters, though. The Avs second best for much of the game. Turnovers, no flow whatsoever by the forwards until the final stretch, where things started to click a little bit. The Jets were 2-for-4 on the man advantage while Colorado went 0-for-4.
Next up for the Avs (10-13-6) is a home tilt with St. Louis.