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Game 62 Recap: Colorado Avalanche Sweep Season Series With Stars

Defensemen Nate Guenin and Tyson Barrie both registered 1G and 2A in tonight's matchup against the Dallas Stars. That's a lot of money for #DontHateNate. Varlamov stopped all shots in the shootout and the Avs completed another thrilling comeback.

Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Nate Guenin has gotten a lot of flak this season, and we at MHH are usually the first ones to remind you every time he Does A Bad. But today, Nate Guenin accomplished a lot of good in the world via our #DontHateNate campaign.

In case you aren't aware of the arrangement, several MHH personalities came together and decided that for every Nate Guenin point, we would donate a certain amount of money to the Longmont Humane Society, because animals are awesome and the people who work to prevent animal cruelty are also awesome. I personally also donate $10 for every Guenin assist and $20 for every Guenin goal to Womens Refuge in my native New Zealand.

So why does this game recap start off with Nate Guenin, you ask? In a game between two teams tied for points completing their final game this season, isn't there a better way to build hype?

Look, if you're a MHH reader you know the stakes. If you're a Stars fan who got lost and somehow ended up here, you also know the stakes.

So I hijacked this opening segment to let you guys know that if you want to contribute to #DontHateNate, you can head to this page, and in the "In Honour Of" field, write "Mile High Hockey Nate Guenin Goal Fund."

"Okay," you say, grudgingly admitting that puppies and kitties are awesome, "take me to the stupid hockey game."

Fine.

Period 1

The first period of play was just sloppy for both sides. A typical Avalanche/Stars start with lots of quick up-and-down the ice, except rather than rapid skating and scoring chances, neutral zone turnovers and clueless passing were the order of the day. Shots went wide, high, or into shins.

When Dallas took the first penalty of the game (Colton Sceviour with a high stick) at the eleven-minute mark, the Avs' power play looked par for the course, not a whole lot to say.

A few minutes later, a defensive breakdown in front of the net led to Alex Goligoski getting a decent chance, but Varlamov made the stop.

The Avalanche got a 2-on-1 not long after, Max Talbot racing up the ice, trailed by XXX and Jarome Iginla. He hesitated, allowing XXX to tangle him up and prevent the pass, missing out on a potential scoring chance.

There was a minor commotion around the net as the period wound down, but otherwise not much of note occurred until less than two minutes remained in the period. At 1:50, Jason Spezza tripped Tyson Barrie into the boards, resulting in a delayed penalty on the Stars. Varlamov scurried to the bench, but the Stars touched the puck before the Avs could develop much 6-on-5.

This power play looked better for the Avalanche, but only in regards to shots, as they couldn't convert it into a goal. John Mitchell had the best chances of the period, and when he parked himself in front of the net to try for another, his stick snapped straight up the middle, allowing Dallas to partially clear the puck.

The horn sounded and it was donuts for everybody, shots tilted largely in favour of Dallas 8-4.

Period 2

Stars came out swinging in the 1st, strong play offensively and defensively. The Everberg-Mitchell-Tanguay line continued to pressure the Stars well.

At 17:15, the Stars' Cody Eakin scored after the puck took an odd little bounce behind the net. Dallas' Ryan Garbutt rushed in on the forecheck, leading to some defensive confusion on the part of the Avs' defenders, allowing Eakin to sneak the puck in through the slot and past Varlamov.

Eakin scores first, 1-0 Stars:

The Stars continued to dominate the first, recording some shots on a power play courtesy of a penalty on Tyson Barrie. Their power play looked quite mobile compared to the Avs, and Nate Guenin and Brad Stuart had to block a few shots to keep things from getting out of hand.

Later on, Guenin executed a nice cross-ice pass to Matt Duchene into the offensive zone. Duchene slipped a feed to Tyson Barrie, who lasered the puck past Kari Lehtonen from a ways out:

Barrie ties it up, 1-1:

The Avs looked like they were finally tightening the bolts a bit, but less than thirty seconds later, momentum tipped right back in the Stars' favour.

Jason Spezza whipped a high shot past Varlamov on a second rebound, courtesy of Trevor Daley and Erik Cole. Redmond and O'Reilly seemed to have some confusion over who was supposed to be covering what, letting Dallas get right up in Varlamov's face.

Spezza roofs it, 2-1 Dallas:

The Stars' play didn't exactly improve so much as the Avalanche just looked worse and worse for a several minute stretch.

Duchene and Talbot got a 2-on-1, but Talbot couldn't settle the puck down, and given he dislodged the net and muscled in close to Lehtonen, depending on when the goal had come, even if he'd scored it might have been disallowed.

Jarome Iginla got the Avs' next lucky break at 7:35, when the Stars gave the puck away to him in the neutral zone. He skated the puck in and drew a hooking penatly from Stars C Jamie Benn, leading to a delayed penalty. Again, Dallas touched the puck before the Avs could set up the play.

Another minor scrum occurred after the whistle. Matt Duchene kept trying to hug Antoine Roussel, perhaps because he misinterpreted some directions from Cody McLeod, but regardless of all that, the Avs were the ones who went on the power play.

The power play: it continued to be bad. Moving on.

Redmond took an unlucky penalty at 5:11, when his stick rode up Goligoski's and thwacked him in the face. Redmond had been having a rough game already, but fortunately for him, his teammates stepped it up on the PK. Stuart and Guenin both looked solid on the kill and they kept the Stars from widening the lead.

As the period began to wind down, Jan Hejda executed a great defensive manoeuvre and broke up a rush, hopefully impressing a few of the various NHL scouts in attendance. In case any of them happen to read this, he's also got a truly majestic beard and a great personality and rarely lets the team down.

The Avs got another couple shots off toward the period's end, as did Dallas, but at the horn the scoresheet remained the same.

Of note, the Stars outshot the Avalanche through the first 40 by more than 3 to 1, total of 24-7. Another 40 minutes of hockey with fewer than 10 shots on goal. Sigh.

Score: 2-1 Dallas Stars.

Period 3

Why do third periods between these two games always go bonkers when I'm the one writing the recaps? I have a life to live, Colorado Avalanche. I have food to cook and a house to clean and--oh who am I kidding, my night is going to consist of cookies and alcohol from this point forward. Bring on the goals.

The Avs came out looking marignally better in the third, but it didn't take long for things to get shaky again. Lots of neutral zone turnovers, high and wide shots, the same tiny frustrations that were so apparent in the second.

Dallas was the first to get it together and score, when a fantastic screen by Brett Ritchie resulted in a snipe by Cody Eakin. He fired it right past Varlamov, who didn't even see it:

Eakin wrister makes it 3-1:

At the 16 minute mark, Redmond got off a decent shot, but Lehtonen telegraphed it and made the save look easy.

The Avalanche put the pedal to the floor a bit and narrowed the Stars' lead on a set play off an offensive zone faceoff. Matt Duchene won the draw and slipped the puck back for Nate Guenin, who shot it through approximately eighty pairs of legs.

Iginla tips in Guenin's shot, 3-2 Dallas:

Guenin apparently wasn't happy with Iginla getting credit for that goal, because a minute and ten seconds later he decided to score one of his own. He shot from a wide angle, sneaking the puck between Lehtonen's pad and the post. Or did he? The goal went to Toronto for review:

Guenin goal? Maybe? Yes it was, 3-3:

The call was ruled good hockey goal, and the Avs still weren't done. Alex Tanguay caught a lucky turnover and ran the puck up the Stars end, but couldn't quite get the shot off in time. Then at 10:59, Max Talbot got a chance even as he fell down and appeared to whack his noggin on the ice. He bounced right back up and appeared unharmed.

Around this time, folks on Avs Twitter noticed that Nathan MacKinnon seemed to be missing. I couldn't spot him on the bench on either broadcast and he missed several shifts with no announcement as to why.

The Avalanche played decent hockey right up until they gave up a sweet pass/breakaway for Cody Eakin, who set up Dominic Antoine Roussel to speed right past Brad Stuart. Roussel's wrister rolled across Varlamov's pads after he thought he made the initial stop, only to trickle slowly in.

Think Varlamov would like this one back. Roussel makes it 4-3 Dallas:

Nathan MacKinnon remained MIA and some bizarre sloppy play occurred around the 7:45 mark. Zach Redmond stumbled and appeared to knee Varlamov in the head. Cody McLeod lost his stick in a board battle. Then Max Talbot hit the boards awkwardly and went down. Were the Avalanche about to collapse entirely and let Dallas score another couple goals? Nope, Talbot sprung right back up--again--and the Avs went on to tie the game.

At 13:17, Barrie fired off a shot practically from the blue line, and Captain Gabriel Landeskog tipped it in to equalise. Ryan O'Reilly picked up the other assist for his slick passing to Tyson.

Tyson Barrie sets it up, Landy tips, 4-4:

The rest of the third period can be summarised as a few shots, some big hits, and a worrisome penalty on Dennis Everberg. Despite spending almost the entire penalty kill in their own zone, the Avalanche killed it off.

Play in the last few minutes was tight, neither team trying anything too outlandish, both seeming afraid to make a mistake. MacKinnon was still nowhere to be seen.

At the final horn, things were still tied.

Overtime

The first noteworthy thing that happened in OT was Patrick Roy calling his timeout at 4:35 remaining.

Overtime was a tense affair. Tyson Barrie looked hungry for another goal, firing off big shots from the point, but he didn't get lucky with Lehtonen again.

The Avalanche won a few key faceoffs and spent a good couple minutes in the Stars zone, applying pressure. When the Stars did manage to get a shot off on Varlamov, Redmond got another good look after flying up the right side and carrying the puck right in. (Side note: why can't he do that every zone entry? That porous Dallas blue line made it look easy.)

At 2:25, some commotion in front of the net and sliding bodies left and right resulted in Varlamov going down on his stomach for a stop. Dallas' Carl Klingberg got a shot at a gaping open net but popped the shot off too high.

That was the last good chance in OT, so after 65 minutes of hockey, we got to watch a skills competition.

Shootout

Ryan O'Reilly both shot and scored first with this nice little move:

Next up was Jason Spezza.

Then Matt Duchene.

Then Jamie Benn.

Then Alex Tanguay.

Then Vern Fiddler.

What do they all have in common?

None of them scored shootout goals. O'Reilly's solo tally and Varlamov's 3/3 save record (including a sweet poke check on Benn) meant the win went to the Avalanche.

Final score: 5-4 Avalanche in the shootout.

MHH Three Stars:

1. Nate Guenin with 1G, 2A, and some performance on the PK that wasn't half bad.

2. Tyson Barrie also with 1G and 2A, but we just expect him to be great these days so NO FIRST STAR FOR YOU.

3. Max Talbot, for surviving enough tips and falls and hits to kill a regular human.

Honourable mention goes to Nathan MacKinnon for apparently discovering a portal to another dimension, then discovering another one just in time to return to the ice for the post-shootout celly.

Second honourable mention goes to this chart:

wtf

Next Up

Next on the plate for the Avalanche is the final dinner date with their playoff pals, the Minnesota Wild.

Will the Avalanche score a single game against Minnesota this season?

Tune in at 8:00PM MST, Altitude TV and radio.