The Colorado Avalanche delivered a spectacular home performance Tuesday night with the no-way-they-aren't-embarrassed curb-stomping of the St. Louis Blues. That victory gives some fleeting hope to a playoff run as the team's improved play leading into the Christmas break has them within striking distance of a Wildcard spot. The game culminated in a vintage goal by Jarome Iginla that I got particularly excited about.
This one started in the defensive zone after Iginla had chipped a puck into the nearside circle as Chris Butler (#25) was putting pressure on him with a defensive pinch down the wall. Tyson Barrie had just rolled away from an attempted Dmitrij Jaskin (#23) check in the corner, raced to the idle puck, and then had Patrik Berglund (#21) and Paul Stastny (#26) bracketing him. I've annotated Nate Guenin and Semyon Varlamov for completeness' sake but they aren't involved at all. (None of the Blues are really either as it turns out...) Just off-screen are Alex Tanguay and John Mitchell while Ian Cole (#28) played some center-field in the neutral zone.
Barrie actually waited to draw Berglund and Stastny to him a little bit in order to open up an outlet to Tanguay out at the blueline.
Tanguay and his completely natural vision (not surgically enhanced in any way, and in fact hampered by the plastic visor!!) spotted Mitchell who had gotten into a good position relative to Cole who could likely feel a disturbance in the Force as he begins to drop deeper into the Blues' end of the ice. This was after taking a weird tour of the neutral zone where it appears that he somehow tried to cover both Tanguay and Mitchell even though there were separated by like 4,582 meters.* Needless to say he did neither and opened up a passing lane big enough to hold a herd-wide reindeer orgy.
Tanguay whipped the puck up and across to Mitchell who had just enough of an angle to force Cole to be honest as Tanguay and Iginla were driving the zone. Butler was hustling back into the play but as you'll see, does pretty much nothing to impact this play. He must have been completely unaware of the Hall of Famer directly behind him???
Cole appeared to be showing Mitchell a shit-ton (metric) of respect for a journeyman depth forward as he gave him the better part of half the offensive zone to work with. Iginla begins to unwrap his Christmas gift. (Again, I have no idea what Butler was doing right here unless he's trying to get over to cover Tanguay?? Maybe that's why Cole is so far off the puck; he thought his partner was gonna take Mitchell? I don't know...)
Iggy began to announce his presence (à la Nuke LaLoosh) and intent (à la the raised one-timer stick) as Mitchell pushed deeper into the zone, which brought goalie Jake Allen (#34) into our little holiday tale. Butler appeared to recognize Iginla's existence at about this point. Allen is in good position for any shot from Mitchell.
Mitchell put the puck on a tee with a soft little drop pass (Seriously, there's actually a small golf tee there, but NotVersus' HD wasn't that clear) that also opens up some far side daylight with a small change of angle for Iginla's shot. Cole and Butler both sorta ... let's call it "clench up"...
...and Iginla smote the puck...
... and the Blues' dignity all in one fell swoop.
If you listen closely, you can hear an angel get its wings!
Truly, the season is joyous for us all!!!!
* We're using metric because the best defenseman for the Blues on this play was Alex Pietrangelo and his name sounds European to me, plus Canada officially uses metric measurements for some reason.