The Avs traveled to the land of hipsters to take on the Islanders. Despite their Movember mustaches, they could not solve the land of boutique, artisan, locally sourced soaps and other random crap that you can pretend is better than what I buy at Target.
Period the First
Avs spent a few shifts putting on pressure. The Avs got on board first by just throwing the puck on net and praying to Gordorgh to curse the Isles. Soderberg put a shot on net, and Comeau collects the rebound. Comeau circles the net and throws the puck on net from a sharp angle and it climbs over Greiss. Greiss knocks it in with his own stick in the attempt to save the puck from behind him. 1-0 Quebec Nordiques (because that's what they were called before they went all mainstream and sold out). Avs get the first power play. Avalanche get some shots, but no real chances. The Avs let Clutterbuck get a rush on a change and get a shot off. Avs power play is scoring, but they really need to clean up some of the chances they allow.
The game really opened up at this point, with lots of back and forth. the Avs seemed to get the more sustained pressure as the period went on. The Isles went without a shot on goal for more than 7 minutes late in the period. The Avs were playing really well, which means its time for the wheels to fall off. Highlander took his obligatory stupid penalty with about a minute left. Early in the power play, Okposo set up in front Varly to get a tip. When the puck was sent his way, Landeskog gave him a good hard cross check, which probably saved really good chance. It also earned him two minutes of shame. The Isles would have 1:19 of 5v3. On the 5 on 3, Okposo got puck in the slot wide open, and threw a wrester past Varly glove side. Varly was screened by Beauchemin. The Avs played a great period, but shot themselves in the foot with penalties in the last minute. Avs win the Corsi battle, both raw and score adjusted. Just chant to yourself: process over results, process over results, process over results.
Period the Second
The Avs killed off the rest of the Isles penalty. Soderberg drew a holding penalty on Grabovski. Avs got 1 shot on PP, Isles got 2 shots on PK. Grigorenko made a great play to break up a chance by the Isles. Duchene created a chance on a great rush, but Redmond couldn't get to the puck. Obviously, the Isles went the other way and scored. Kulemin made a great pass to Graobovski wide open in front of Varly. Grabo put a filthy backhand over Varly's blocker to take the lead. 2-1 Isles. It didn't last long. Just 41 seconds later, Avs got possession in the zone because Grigorenko beat out an icing. Isles tried to clear, but it hit a stanchion and bounced right to Iggy. Iggy grabs the puck at the blue line. He snaps the puck on net through a Grigorenko screen for number 597. 2-2
Game starts to slow down. Play pretty even, neutral zone starts to clog. Avs starting to sit back and play prevent a bit. With about a minute left, Isles get some offensive zone time. Okposo gets a shot from the slot but Varly makes a great save. Soderberg takes a tripping penalty off the face-off. Isles go back to the power play, but can't get anything going before the end of the third period.
Period the Third
Avs killed the rest of the penalty. Czikisisjkis or however the fuck you spell it (I honestly think he's named after Tzatziki sauce) messes around in the face-off and gets Soderberg tossed. Thomas Hickey (seriously, he must have gotten so much shit in middle school for the last name Hickey) throws puck at net, and its tipped by colossal asshole Cal Clutterbuck. Cal Clutterbuck definitely had a mustache before it was cool. He drinks PBR, rides a single track with not brakes, and wears his sister's pants. Cal Clutterbuck thinks Justin Bieber sounds way better on vinyl. Anyway, Varly can't track it down, Isles lead 3-2.
At this point, the Avs couldn't seem to figure out that they were behind and get the push back they needed. Redmond gave the puck away to the Isles 4th line. Tzatziki sauce collected a pass from Matt Martin in the slot, and put a wrist shot through Varlamov for a 4-2 lead. Varly has to have that one to give his team a chance. The third pairing was terrible on that play though, and was on the ice for 3 goals against. The Isles 4th line dominated them.
Erik Johnson decided to give his team a chance, made a good move in the neutral zone, and got tripped. The ensuing Avs power play again did not generate many chances. In classic Patrick Roy fashion, the Avs pulled Varlamov with about 5 minutes to go. Apparently Okposo is much better at hitting the net with goaltender in front if it than not. He missed two empty net shots. The Avs finally started generated some chances. Nick Holden threw a sharp angle shot at the net that ricocheted in. Sound familiar? The Avs made their usual last minute push that almost certainly would have ended in a tying goal two years ago. This year, Gordorgh chuckles at the Avs' impotence in the last minute of the game. Alas, after Francois Beauchemin gave the puck away a couple of times, Ryan Strome hit the empty net and sealed it.
Overall, the Avs played well at first. Yet again, it seems they let some misfortune, in this case some penalties, really throw them for a loop. 2015 Varly is not 2013 Varly. And, for the first time since they were put together, it seems the 9's line was effectively handled (at least to the extent possible).
Some Guys Who Were Good at Hockey Tonight Expressed as a Number of Burning Gas Spheres
1st Burning Gas Sphere- Carl Soderberg- Two assists, and despite some mediocre possession numbers, he made a some good defensive plays.
2nd Burning Gas Sphere- Mikhail Grigorenko- Grigs yet again had a solid defensive effort. And Iggy's goal doesn't happen if Grigs doesn't beat out that icing. He recovered from a pretty terrible game on Sunday.
3rd Burning Gas Sphere- Erik Johnson- The Avs' best defender was their best defender tonight again. He drew a penalty in the 3rd period by making a great rush. This gave the Avs some momentum to start getting back into the game.
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