There is some suggestion that the Colorado Avalanche and the Florida Panthers faced off last night. We can neither confirm nor deny this rumor as there were no witnesses to the event. We do have access to security camera footage that shows some kind of contest did take place on the ice. Here’s what we think happened…
The Avs didn’t have a particularly spectacular period, losing on the shots tally once again (7-12), but they opened the scoring when Tyson Barrie got ignored by all of the Panther players and was allowed to walk all the way in to the low slot before burying a neat wrist shot behind Roberto Luongo. Smooth Jonnie and Nate (pay up to the animal shelter) Guenin with the assists. The lead lasted just over 3 minutes. Brad Stuart found Jonathan Huberdeau’s skates too attractive and managed a tripping penalty. Super rookie and future underwear model (when he’s old enough) Arron Ekblad answered with a 5 on 3 power play goal with assists to Brian Campbell and Nick Bjugstad.
If you’re keeping score at home, the shot totals in the second period were a bit more even (10-11), and once again the Avs opened the scoring. Gabe Landeskog made a signature power move from behind the right side of the cage, drove his way across, and then buried the puck stick side on Luongo while falling to his ass. O’Reilly picked up the assist. Once again, the lead didn’t last long (23 seconds to be precise). The Avs relaxed since we know that the opposition is supposed to roll over and play dead, except they didn’t. Brad Boyes drove down deep into the corner and centered a hard pass into the crease where an unexamined Alexander Barkov poked it home. Good goal, bad defense. There was a rapid exchange of penalties with McLeod taking the first and then Florida taking the next two. The result was a 4 on 5, then a 4 on 4, then a 4 on 3, then a 5 on 3. Despite all of these combinations, no goals resulted.
Two things make this period stand out: 1. The Avs managed to score 2 goals and win the game. 2. We saw some serious offensive zone possession from the Avalanche when they were holding/protecting a lead. This has been unusual this season, but the Avs managed to string together 3 full shifts in the last 5 minutes of the game, with a lead, in the opponents offensive zone. This represented nearly 3 minutes of ice time where the bad guys took no shots. The first goal came (late) on the power play when Brian Campbell high sticked Dennis Everberg. Nick Holden called his shot (off the forward, off the defenseman, nothing but net) and put a seeing eye puck into the goal with a couple of seconds left on the advantage. The second goal came on an empty net as Jerome Iginla tied some old dude to reach Number 20 on the all-time NHL goal scoring list.
NHL 3 Stars (all defense edition)
1. Nick Holden
2. Tyson Barrie
3. Aaron Ekblad
Next game is on the other side of the Everglades.