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Recap: Avalanche Outlast Devils in Shootout

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The Avalanche took on The New Jersey Devils Thursday night as Varly returned to action.

Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

A few weeks ago The Avs turned around a few things, including puck luck.  Despite missing Erik Johnson, the team started getting a few wins strung together.  Coming off of a frustrating loss to the very hungry LA Kings, the boys take on The Devils in one of the last few appearances of the Blueberries.  Also, Cliche is getting the start.  Yikes.

1st Period:

Things start out mostly in the neutral zone, Jordin Tootoo gets a long shot on,which is easily caught by Varly.

Back the other way, there is a great pass by Duchene to Caron who was held up on his way into the slot.  Duchene has really come back on of late, I have to believe Caron has something to do with that.  He isn't the anchor Talbot was, and he seems to have more strength than was advertised.

New Jersey narrowly missing on a crossing attempt has the Avs scrambling back.  Freddie Hamilton is clearly an AHL guy.  As is Cliche, as he squanders a great sequence by Landeskog and Tanguay.  The Captain keeps the puck in and Tangs flashes the paitiance.  That sounded better in my head...

Giant scrum in front of the net ends with the puck in the corner and Varly shoving a Devil in front.  The Devils have all of the energy when Landeskog is on the bench.

The puck bounces between Redmond's skates off of the endboards and he never saw it.  Varly comes up with the big stop, seems like that's becoming a theme.

Guenin with a sharp outlet pass, then gets burnt on a quasi break away.  Varly makes the stop then no one knows who to take and Varly has to come up with another huge one.  A very bad sequence by the boys there.

Brad Stuart recieves the puck from Gabe behind the net, and he recieves less pressure than it takes to make Barrie spin.  Brad panics and misses two wide open Avs at center ice, and instead elects to punch it off the glass.  That move comes with the risk of a delay penalty, loss of possession and getting a teammate laid out.  Bad, bad, bad.

Big play by Ryan O'Reilly/Gabe Landeskog that ended with an Av on top of Schneider as the puck rolled in front of an open net.  The puck is swooped up as no one is home, great game by this line.

Mitchell and Briere nearly connect for one in front of the net but the puck goes through the crease just behind Mitchell.

Say what you will, Stu sure can hit em though.  Not that he did anything after laying the wood and getting the puck.

It was 11 plus minutes since last shot on goal for the Avalanche.  Enter the O'Reilly line, which produces a quick shot.  O'Reilly had the net but missed just wide on a rush, flanked by two Devils.  Surprising Schneider left that much of the net open, shame he did not capitalize.  The shots that missed the net have been more telling than the shots, but still not a great sign for Colorado.

The forecheck energy levels between lines is inconsistent.  Caron has the speed, go pressure the puck!  Everberg and Landy both created turnovers in the game via pressure.  I understand not sending the fourth line after guys, but 27 has the speed!

McLeod's foot is hurt blocking a shot.  That thing had to be one of those "taser" blocks that make your whole limb numb.  Luckily it is cleared shortly after and he is off the ice.  Shortly after, Hejda smashes Mike Cammalleri into the boards and the refs blow it dead for tripping.  Good call, that looked scary as it happened.

Great first PK, everything is on the outside and New Jersey cannot get any space whatsoever.  Landy breaks his stick and Varly has to make a stellar left pad save.  I love Everberg on the PK, brings it on the forecheck, even on the PK.  And Hejda's out, penalty killed.

After the first period shots are 13-3 NJD and the Avs are once again leaning heavily on Varlamov.  This game has had two scrums involving the tender, yet no extra curriculars, which is very interesting.  92-90-40 has been an absolute force, but 55 has really brought down Dutchy and Caron.  If Roy wants to spark some offense, why not let Mitchell out of the doghouse and let Cody play his role?  We'll see what the coaching staff cooks up in the second, but something has to change, and change fast.

2nd Period:

The puck is down and play starts in favor of the Avs.  Then the puck squirts to Guenin and he quick taps it to Barrie.  Handcuffed, tBoobs gets pressured and ices the puck.

Iginla and Mitchell show some consistency as they enter the zone with control (finally).  The puck slides to Redmond but is just out of reach.

GOAL!! Iginla scores a wide open shot from the slot as Duchene and Mitchell tie up the D men up front.  Great sequence by that line, it's almost like someone other than McLeod can set screens... *pats self on back*  1-0 Avs

Varly has to go way out of the net to dive of a rebound.

Hejda bomb on a pass from Mitchell.

Cory Schneider shows a little bit of Marty and handles a dangerous puck.

Tangs crunches Gomez to free up the puck.  Redmond goes the other way, and I mean all the way the other way.  What an outstanding shift ensues!  Shot after shot by 7-9-12 and results in a power play!  Redmond kept pucks in and pinched at the right times. Schneider had to come up big a couple of times.  This line has taken over the game and is getting tons of TOI.

Tootoo could have gotten a few penalties on that shift, but he ends up with a High-Sticking penalty against Redmond.

Avs have trouble gaining the zone and the Devils get a shorthanded chance.  Typical Avs PP.  Duchene gets poke checked the only time the puck is deep with possession and the penalty is killed.

Everberg gets a lucky bounce and gets a shot off, but Brad Stuart with a dismal job on the inch

Adam Henrique with a dangerous chance but ends in wrap around loss of poss

Guenin has been reaching alot

Briere has had a pretty decent game.  He has been involved on a couple of rushes that did not quite come to fruition.  If he had a little bit of luck tonight he could be a game changer.

Duchene is so strong on his skates, he ran around behind the net, but unfortunately he couldn't over come the pressure and the Devils clear.  In the Dump and Chase systems twenty years ago, he would have been something else.

Devils with some cycle and Andy Greene with a bomb from that point that finds its way past Varlamov.  The puck bounced of Redmond's foot, apparently only defensemen's skates can score on Varly anymore.  Great work by New Jersey there, every player seemed to have space and speed.  Avs need to be better in limiting players movement away from the puck.  1-1 with left.

A breakaway chance goes high, but New Jersey maintains and cycles.  Block after block by the Avs keep most of the shots away from Varly and Caron finally blocks one and clears it.

Danny Briere makes a remarkable move at the other end.  The old man still has his mitts.

The Devils counter with a good amount of zone time.  The shots are all handled by Varly, who has been extremely sharp in his return.

Back in New Jersey's zone Tanguay is checked, goes to his knees, and handles/passes it.  Redmond streaks down the vacant opposite point and nearly kicks a crosser to himself with a sliding Schneider having little chance.  The puck bounces away though, and nothing comes of it.  Duchene's line follows them out and put on numerous good shots but 35 robs Dutch in the blue paint.

Guenin does a good job of stopping a rush by New Jersey which could have resulted in a 2 on 1.  Nicely done by Nate.

Cody takes a dumb penalty holding along the end line.  Not neccessary this late and he only got in that position by trying to destroy him with a hit and missing.  Not nicely done by Cody.

The Avs kill the first 15 seconds in an unremarkable sequence of events.

Well that period seemed pretty unfair.  The first didn't see very many chances, but this period was fraught with them.  The payoff is a 1-1 hockey game, but with the energy swung fully in favor of the Avs.  These lines seem to be clicking (not that Roy will keep them together long), which should lead to an exciting level of play for this final period.

3rd Period:

Redirection goes just wide.  Avs with a worse PK this time.

Hejda is remarkably unimaginative, never does anything other than drive the puck deep. Penalty killed.

Some back and forth play ensues, with nothing substantial coming of it.

The Devils respond with a lot of zone time and a few one timer attempts.  Bodies out front keep the puck out of the goal for the most part.  The Avs have started passing and catching very sloppily and it has resulted in NJD taking over.

Everberg takes it himself but gets stopped on the doorstep.  This leads to good shift for Colorado which results in an icing Duchene, McLeod, Iggy, all get in on the fun before New Jersey is forced to use their timeout after the puck is iced.  After the timeout Guenin's shot gets through, but Schneider makes the save and the puck goes the other way.  Opportunity wasted.

Holden fakes out Schneider but 35 is able to put a paddle on the pass as Nick got a little too deep after the move.  What a chance and save, the game remains 1-1.

Zajac boards O'Rielly, but is called for tripping.  Dangerous play there, luckily he is alright.  Power play Avs.

Better zone time early after the Avs win the draw.  It takes :40 seconds for the puck to be first cleared.  One shot by Iggy then Landy takes a Nick Holden pass down low but couldn't put it home.  Second unit comes out and cycles well.  This is the Avs most dangerous Power play of the last several games, but just can't quite score.  Penalty killed.

Ref goes down on the next draw after some confusion over the clock.  The play doesn't set up at either end for several minutes.

Lots of corner battles and sharp goal tending.  Both teams appear to want this one, which is coming down to the wire.

If David Jones came back to the Avs in a few years, it would be the Avs answer to Scott Gomez.  Old guy who used to be a young star on the team but fizzled out and left.

Tanguay hustles and beats every one to the puck, but his centering pass is tipped.  Great to see Alex do that.

Strange play as Cammalleri gives the puck right to Mitchell in the corner after Duchene raced past him to the net.  The Devils then ice the puck. 3 minutes to go.

Avs really trying for a tip as Schneider is really on his game.  The puck is then launched off of a stick and hits NJD Severson in the head and the Avs nearly capitalize but it goes wide.  The puck is iced as the Devils want to get Severson off.  Nothing comes of it though.

At the end of regulation the scored is tied at one.  As we head to over time the thing that stands out the most about this game is the line combinations that are finally paying dividends after being put in the blender.  Someone like Joey Hishon might have been able to break this game had he not been injured.  Also,  I'm gonna miss the Blueberries.

Overtime:

The first minute of overtime is classic New Jersey hockey: neutral zone play and body checks.

Nate Guenin nearly wins it on a wobbling puck in the slot but it goes high.

Mitchell is tripped twice but doesn't get a call and the fans are furious.  Play goes the other way until Tangs gets stopped on a breakaway, yet the Avs keep puck in the zone.  The cycle really worked tonight, but nothing comes of it.

Ryan has had a great game, but he needs to hit the net a little more often.

Varly with a huge fucking save!!!

Mitchell drives to the net after New Jersey gave him room all the way to the net, where he is pulled down. Penalty NJ, 25 seconds of 4-3.  Here we go.  Barrie dives to keep it in off the faceoff, then O'reilly has time but Schneider comes up big.  Shoot out coming.

Shootout:

First up for COL: Ryan O'Reilly

Scores on a fancy turn after going wide!

First up for NJD: Scott Gomez

Comes in slow, no where to go, save by Varly.

Second for COL: Matt Duchene

Goes wide, shoots far side, tips off the handle wide.  No goal.

Second for NJD:  Jacob Josefsen

Patience pays off and he scores as Varly goes down early.

Third for COL:  Jarome Iginla

Comes right in and tucks it five hole for a GOAL!

Third for NJD:  Patrick Elias

Just nowhere to go, basically hands it to Varly, no goal

AVS WIN!!

Final thoughts:

The thirteen early saves by Varlamov kept the Avs in the game and essentially won the game.  Good game by the Avs after a very poor first.

"Gotta start the game on tiime."  -Joe Sacco

Joe's three stars

3.  Iginla- Goal,shootout goal, all around awesome

2. O'Reilly- Dominant, could have won the game with a little luck

1. Varly-  Absolutely killed it, won the game for Colorado

Next game: Saturday at 8 pm against the Calgary Flames