Tomorrow, The Force Awakens will be available for all on Earth to see in theaters. Needing some points-collecting at Pepsi Center, the Avs' strong use of the hockey force awakened on home ice and got them just three points back of the second wild card spot, by virtue of the Nashville Predators falling to the St. Louis Blues. The Avs are on a win streak, Star Wars is back, and Christmas is only a week away? Good, this is!
1st Period: The only action in the first period came relatively early, just under four minutes in, when Francois Beauchemin corralled the puck at the blue line, ripped it towards goal, and found the goal strings. Some assists are bigger than others, and this was one of them. Andres Martinsen got the lone apple, but along with the pass to the veteran defenseman, he did a splendid job screening Islanders' goaltender Thomas Greiss which totally prevented him from making an effort to defend the shot. At several other points during the night, Martinsen laid some big hits on some unsuspecting Isles, adding to his strong, physical play as of late. The young Norwegian has really stepped it up the last week or so.
2nd Period: Some questionable officiating gave the Islanders a series of power plays, and forced the Avs to go into their patented turtling strategy as a result. New York would take advantage of one of those opportunities when Brock Nelson was able to beat Semyon Varlamov five minutes into the period. Not much Varly could do on this one. If you're looking for an Avalanche to place blame on because you're an overly critical pessimist, put it on Nate Guenin. Actually, even if you're an eternal optimist and the world is sunshine and unicorns to you, you can still blame Guenin, because he practically screened Varlamov just two feet in front of him. BAD GUENIN.
3rd Period: Several times, either through Colorado defensemen being dumb, or unfortunate bounces, the puck would pop out in front of Varly and provide the Islanders with good scoring looks. But the scorching hot Semyon Varlamov, used all of his jedi powers to keep the puck out and maintain a tie game. With the clock ticking down, just under four minutes to be exact, the Avs got the lead off a goal from, yet again, the Man of Beauch, Francois Beauchemin. Was it pretty? No, not at all. He sent it out in front from behind the goal line in the corner, it deflected off an Islander and in the net. That's all you need sometimes. Blake Comeau and Carl Soderberg assisted, which, by gosh, means all the Avs' free agent acquisitions this summer contributed to the game-winning goal! Guys, Sakic can put a team together!
Any and all New York opportunities afterwards were thwarted, and just like that, the Avs (kind of, but not really) improved to .500 with a 16-16-1 record.
Mr. Fish's Three Sardines:
#3: Matt Duchene: Dutchy missed a couple of golden, wide-open chances just in front of the net in the 2nd period, but he was still good on both sides of the ice. Showing even more why he's the best player on the Colorado Avalanche.
#2: Semyon Varlamov: Holy cow is the Russian goaltender playing good right now. He deserves the most thanks for this four game win streak, and is truly back to his peak performance form.
#1: Francois Beauchemin: Both goals? Shutting down New York attacks frequently in the defensive zone? Yeah. Beauch had his best game in an Avalanche uniform to this point, right after Andrew Shaw (dirty) nearly took his head off on Tuesday.
Mr. Fish's Three Flounders:
#3: The Phantom Menace: This movie was such a huge letdown for Star Wars fans when it came to theaters in 1999. J.J Abrams, I don't think Force Awakens can possibly be as much of a dud as that was. Don't prove me wrong!
#2 Zach Redmond: He was responsible for some of those pucks being sent directly in front of the Colorado goal crease in the third. Him being on the same defensive pair as my number one flounder really puts a scare on the old heart.
#1: Nate Guenin: He ruined what would have been another shutout for Varly in my view. As usual, just a total waste of space for the Avs.
-In case you've been living under a rock for the next 2 years, you know that Star Wars is back! Go see it! I can't wait! May the force be with you all and the Avs.