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Avs fall to Blues in Stastny's return

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Calvin Pickard steals the Avalanche a point in a rather one-sided affair at Pepsi Center.

Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

I’m honored to be writing this guest recap because MHH has given me so much over the years and I’m very happy to have a chance to give back, even if it is just a few words.

There will be no scotch, no rants (maybe), and no systems. I’ll try to follow along with the in-game commentary, unless our old friend Video Lock Error shows up at my house.

Also, my son is at the game without me. If you saw an adorable little red-head that wasn’t Cody McLeod it might have been him. Well, that’s it for the preface, hopefully I will be writing a most joyous recap of an Avalanche victory over the hated Blues in just a few short hours.

1st period

At the start of the year I would have thought that Jake Allen would have usurped little tank by now. Turns out my predictions suck.

The first shift of the game sees Duchene’s line flying after a giveaway by Holden in the opening seconds Duchie’s line dominated the rest of the shift. I like this start.

Third line center Paul Stastny steps onto the ice and is met by a few boos which die down pretty quickly. I don’t see a reason to boo the guy, but whatever. Good thing he left to be a top center.

All four lines spend their first shift in the 'loos zone. Good start, even if the shot clock is not in the Avs favor. Right about this time the STL announcer says that Duchene is, "like a waterbug". I think it was a nice thing to say, but I’m not sure.

Four minutes in Hejda lays a nice little hip check only to step right into an inauspicious moving pick by Schwartz (I think) which lead to a decent 'loos scoring chance.

Six minutes in Mackinnon’s line has a great shift. Ryan O’Reilly worked hard to get the puck to Landeskog behind the net and the Captain stepped in front for a decent chance but he couldn’t get the puck over Allen’s pad. MacK drives through for a rebound chance, but he is denied as well.

For the next several minutes play was a bit back and forth. Highlights include a borderline hit by McLeod followed by a trademark MacKinnon move of crossing the blue line with speed only to pull up, spin, and throw a pass toward the slot. In his defense, he almost sprung ROR, but that move is such a waste of speed and we see it far too often.

On the same shift the ‘loos clear and MacK tries to come back in with speed but Barrett Jackman steps up with a great hit. After the whistle Landy has words with Jackman, but fortunately we don’t have to watch a pointless fight after a perfectly legal hit.

Curiously, after an icing call Roy keeps the 4th line on the ice instead of switching for the offensive zone face-off. OK. I guess he knows more than I do because it leads to a power play as Ryan Reaves goes off for tripping Barrie who was going to absolutely blow by him had he not.

PP #1 I was considering if Backes wears the face bubble just so he can smell his own breath when, Johnson slapper! 1-0 Avs. Good on Iginla to drive the net there. I’m not sure if he was as much a screen as he was a distraction, but fuck, who cares. Johnson says, ‘take that for trading me ya bastards!'

Shortly after the goal Hejda goes to the box for tripping Tarasenko. It wasn’t quite as awesome as Reaves’ trip though, do better Hejda.

PK #1 starts with Holden and Guenin as defenseman. OK. Shortly in there is a weird goal mouth scramble. Pickard is down and there are guys all over the crease. Somehow the puck pops out to Kevin Shattenkirk and he has all day to put it in. He might have been the only guy on the ice who knew where that puck was. Wonky. 1-1.

The ‘loos get another decent chance after the goal as Backes takes a ridiculous backwards pass from Steen from behind the goal, but Pickard stands tall. It kind of looked like Barrie was playing D by himself right there. Paging Nate Guenin, please come to the blue courtesy phone.

I see the ‘loos feed has credited Nate Guenin with the Avs' power play goal on their stupid ticker thing. Well trolled STL, well trolled.

At the end of the period Jackman goes for the body on Jerome Iginla but misses and sticks the leg out a bit to slow Iggy up. Iginla didn’t like it, so they have a go. Not the best fight I’ve ever seen, but some solid shots by Iggy. Also, man is he good at getting his opponent’s helmet off. It’s the little things.

Period over. A fairly even first 20 minutes ends tied 1-1.

2nd period

Before the start of the second period the ‘loos feed shows a picture of Kevin Shattenkirk. Man Kevin, trust me, just shave it off dude. You are too young to sport the Walter Matthau look.

The second starts with the suspicious line of 45-9-40. Ok. Not too far in Holden gets beat out of the corner after seeming to have pretty solid position. Fortunately Pickard makes the save and after the whistle Holden draws a roughing call on Steen, somewhat lol worthy, but good on Nick.

PP2 Holden starts on the point. Ok. Wait, is that Max Talbot with Duchene and Tanguay? What universe is this? The line combo almost works however as Talbot gets position in front, but Allen makes the save. Wait, now it’s 92-90-48? I hope Nathan MacKinnon gets the message. Some decent zone time and O’Reilly is rewarded by hitting the post from the slot, but no damage done.

After the power play we get a weird 4th line vs. 4th line shift. Bodies bang. Turnovers happen. The clock ticks.

Next shift sees Alex Steen alone in front with Pickard making a great save. Hey, Barrie and Guenin, why is Steen alone in front?

With 15:40 left in the second Briere goes down. I didn’t see a replay of what happened, but play was stopped and Danny B seemed a little pissed as he skated by the ‘loos bench.

Shortly after the Avs are given another power play as Steen inexplicably gives Redmond (I think) a little shot from behind well away from the play. Some sloppy play from both teams sees Barrie drop pass it out of his own zone, followed by Jackman dishing up a fat turnover to Duchene. But there is no damage done either way.

After the VCR dies Alex Pietrangelo scores on a long wrist shot that was maybe/maybe not tipped by Backes. The set-up came from Tanguay who really whiffed badly on the clearing attempt. Unforced error. 2-1 ‘loos with shots on goal standing at 18-9 in their favor.

More defensive zone time and thanks to another set pick by the ‘loos Talbot gets called for sticking his knee out on Tarasenko. Not a great play by Talbot, but it wasn’t really done with malice.

PK #2 Lindstrom tries for the seemingly ubiquitous "ex Avs player" goal as he walks in front, but Pickard stands tall. Stastny gets a chance shortly thereafter, but again Pickard makes the save. The remainder of the penalty kill sees some pretty decent defense by McLeod and O’Reilly and one last great save by Pickard on Lehtera in front.

Back at full strength we see some shadowy play after the whistle as Cole throws a little slew foot on Daniel Briere. It wasn’t necessarily dangerous, but it was shitty.

From this point on (with the power of hindsight and looking back at my notes…) the ice starts to tilt pretty heavily against the Avalanche. Shots are 24-9 for the ‘loos and 14-3 in the second period.

With about six minutes left EJ shoots the puck out of the rink. Not a good penalty to take. Of course, it’s not a good penalty in principle, really.

PK #3 starts with Redmond on the ice. I’m starting to sense a theme. It seems like Roy is spreading around the ice time a little, or he’s shnockered. Probably the former though. This penalty kill wasn’t so smooth. The "birthday boy" Tarasenko gets a chance by himself in front, but Pickard makes another great save. Then, the Avs make a terrible line change and it ends up as a 4 on 1, but somehow the puck stays out. Penalty killed. Shakily killed, but killed nonetheless.

Under three to go and MacKinnon again gets the puck driving 1 on 1 with speed, but he pulls up and fires a long wrister into Allen’s chest because, of course he does.

Shortly after that though the "pull up" move finally works as MacK gains the zone and pulls up and finds Johnson cutting in. EJ shows patience, waits for the screen and puts it home. 2-2 game. I’m starting to think Erik Johnson doesn’t like the St. Loois ‘loos.

With time running out in the second Patrick Berglund is called for hooking Nate Guenin. Berglund argues the call, but in reality, that shit could have been called twice. Shut it.

PP #4 Not much doing at the start of the power play, period ends with the shots being 17-5 in favor of the ‘loos. I hope Patty has some magic for the third (spoiler, he does not. But Pickard does).

3rd Period

There’s a brawl in the stands apparently. I hope it is far away from my child. Grow up shitsacks. The power play continues, but you wouldn’t know it. The ‘loos kill all entry like a chaperone at prom. VCR= dead.

Got a text, the fight wasn’t near my son, but he got a good view as it was right below them. It sounded bad. Again, grow up shitsacks.

My notes are becoming more sparse and garbbled, but apparently sometime right around now a Berglund shot sneaks through Pickard, but Erik Johnson is there and makes the save. He had a good night to put it mildly. My notes only say, "Thank you Calvin" over and over for the next six pages.

Here’s some food for thought…. Is the ‘loos line of Ott, Lapierre, and Reaves the biggest douche line in hockey? If not by reputation then by weight? I wonder.

There’s more hockey going on, but it really doesn’t involve the Avs, except for Pickard. Then Backes takes a run at Duchene and the Avs go back on the power play. And for all the tilted ice the Avs are still tied.

PP#5 begins with a forward line of 48-9-29. Ok. But it ends all too soon as Danny Briere feels that the ‘loos players stick is nice and he won’t give it back. VCR= still dead. The STL feed says the Avs are -5 on the season in 4 on 4 play. I wonder if that will be an issue later. Hmmmm….

This 4 on 4 results in the Avs playing "everybody touches the puck in the neutral zone" before O’Reilly gets a good chance which is blocked. But then some really scary stuff happens in front of Pickard and the Avs kill the short penalty time against.

Near the middle of the third the Avs get a couple good chances as Briere sets up Redmond (Shoot. The. Puck. Quicker.) and then Landy and MacKinnon have a quick 2 on 1 where MacK misses on the shot, but finds himself in front of the net with the puck again, but can’t score. The kid is trying, I feel for him.

The Avs go back to the power play halfway through the third as Ryan Reaves douches his way through the crease and brushes Pickard. Was it a soft-ish call? Yes. Did Reaves have to skate through there? No. So suck it.

PP #6 starts with decent puck (and player) movement in the offensive zone. Some shots, but no damage and nothing really threatening. Daniel Briere is suddenly the second unit power play quarterback and he looks ok doing it, but nothing really happens. VCR= dead.

Shortly after the power play Hejda has to take his man down as he was being beaten to the front of the net. Tarasenko made a good play. The penalty may have been a little soft, but Hejda was beaten and that is getting called every time.

PK #5 (I skipped #4 because it was short) was a solid kill. Next to 0 zone time for the ‘loos and solid work near the end of the game for the Avs’ PKers.

After the kill the ‘loos have another good chance as Berglund is ALONE IN FRONT OF THE NET and bats the puck out of mid air. But Pickard makes another save like it’s no big deal.

My notes go from bad to worse here as I was watching more than writing at the end of the game. This shit is hard, yo. Mad props to the recap staff here at MHH.

Some Avs pressure, time out ‘loos, whistle, whistle, clench, overtime. I was scared when Stastny was on the ice in the final minute. I’m man enough to admit that. I was waiting for the dagger, but it didn’t come.

The Avs (or more accurately, Erik Johnson and Calvin Pickard) stole a point here.

Overtime

O.T. starts with a line-up of 9-29-2-22. CLENCH! The play is back and forth a little until Holden takes out Backes with a nice hit and suddenly everyone seems to be standing around as Jaden Schwartz skates in and throws a shot on Pickard. Fortunately, it’s Pickard.

Then the 4 on 4 tire fire lit up, and T.J. Oshie ended it as he skated through the middle of the ice and threw a weird off-of-the-back-foot floater on net. Maybe it was the off-speed shot, but it snuck by and the ‘loos take the extra point. Sucks for Picks. He’s the reason we got one point.

Three stars:

1. Erik Johnson (2g, timely save, solid play)

2. Calvin Pickard (easily could have been first star)

3. Paul Stastny (for doing fucking NOTHING in his 12 minutes as third line center)

Thoughts: This recap is long and choppy enough already. No thoughts.