The Colorado Avalanche won today. The Kings lost today. This means the Avalanche are five points outside of a playoff spot. A lot of people think they probably won't make the playoffs though. Only sixteen teams can make the playoffs each year.
I asked my boyfriend if he thinks the Avalanche will make the playoffs this year. He asked me how the playoffs work. Then he said "I don't know?"
Nathan MacKinnon didn't play today because he was hurt. Erik Johnson is hurt too. So is Calgary's captain Mark Giordano. But NHL teams have to play even when their top guys are hurt. It's probably pretty frustrating.
The first period started off slow. Both teams skated the puck back and forth a bit. Calgary a couple early shots but they weren't great. Nate Guenin tried to pass the puck to his teammate but he caused an icing instead. The O'Reilly line had a great shift where they kept the puck from going out of the Flames zone for a while. We're calling the line the O'Reilly line because Ryan O'Reilly is playing center again. They shot the puck at Karri Ramo but it didn't go in. Then the lines had to change because O'Reilly's line was tired.
Duchene's line also had a good shift. They applied some pressure in the zone. The Avalanche skated pretty fast and when the Flames shot pucks at Varlamov he stopped them all.
Brad Stuart hit Mikael Backlund against the boards.
Near the nine minute mark, Sean Monahan shot the puck, but Varlamov stopped it from going in.
At 7:16 Gabriel Landeskog and Sean Monahan were skating toward their benches but instead they ran into each other. The refs decided it was Landeskog's fault. This is an interference penalty, so he sat in the box for two minutes.
The Avalanche killed the penalty though. They only let the Flames take one shot during their power play.
The most exciting part of the first period happened with 30 seconds remaining. Calgary shot the puck at Varlamov and he thought he covered it with his glove. But the puck wasn't in his glove. It was down by his skate. So because Varlamov didn't have the puck, Calgary kept trying to put it in the net.
The refs saw what was happening and blew the whistle. Varlamov realised he did not have the puck yet.
Then the refs acted like they were going to review the play. But they didn't.
A ref that thought he was announcing a monster truck rally said that the play was unreviewable.
The period was twenty minutes long and ended 0-0, which means neither team scored a goal.
The Avalanche looked active when the second period started. I got a little scared when O'Reilly whiffed on a shot and the Flames collected the puck. It led to a 3-on-1, which means there were 3 Flames players entering the zone and only 1 Avalanche. But when they shot the puck at Varlamov he stopped it.
Even the Cliche line looked confident. They had a nice long shift in the Calgary zone.
At 16:10, Sean Monahan tried a centering pass but he missed, so the Avalanche got the puck. But the Avalanche couldn't score either.
Then a couple minutes later, Matt Duchene was carrying the puck into the Flames zone but his teammate John Mitchell ran into him. You aren't supposed to do that to guys on your team. Fortunately Duchene was okay, because sometimes when his teammates run into him, he gets hurt. The team doesn't play as well when Duchene is hurt.
Duchene had a wrap-around try just a few seconds later but Ramo stopped it.
At 11:18 Calgary got caught with too many men on the ice. For the record, "too many" is any number greater than five. Unless you count the goaltender. Then it's six. This means the Avalanche got a power play.
The Avalanche's power play is not usually very good, but they scored.
Alex Tanguay shoots the puck in between Ramo and the post from behind the goal line, 1-0 Avalanche:
Seconds later, Sean Monahan shot the puck at Varlamov but Brad Stuart got in the way.
The next time the Avalanche carried the puck in, Zach Redmond also took a shot but Ramo stopped it. The Avalanche tried to collect the rebound but couldn't.
At 8:33, O'Reilly skated the puck into the Flames zone and convinced Ramo he was going to shoot down low. But he didn't. He shot up high, so the puck went over Ramo and into the net.
O'Reilly roofs it, 2-0 Avalanche:
O'Reilly's goal came from passes by Nate Guenin and Alex Tanguay. This means Alex Tanguay got his second point of the game. He gets more than one point in a lot of games because he has been playing hockey for a while. He's really good at it.
The Avalanche continued to have good shifts. Everybody looked fast and active. Varlamov did not have to stop a lot of pucks in the second period.
Toward the end of the second period, Nate Guenin held onto a man too long. This is a holding penalty. So they sent him to the box for two minutes. The Avalanche killed the penalty though. So they let Nate Guenin come out of the box.
The period ended 2-0 Avalanche, because the Flames didn't score any goals.
The Flames have a reputation for scoring a lot of goals in the third period. But so do the Avalanche. Only one team can win a hockey game though. The NHL changed the rule so they no longer allow tie games.
When the period began the Flames were getting some shots on Varlamov through traffic. But that means traffic of men on the ice screening the goaltender, not cars. Fortunately none of those shots went in.
At 17:18 the organist played Down On The Corner by Creedence Clearwater Revival. Creedence Clearwater Revival are one of my favourite bands. Their ex-frontman John Fogerty performed at the Stadium Series game between the Los Angeles Kings and the San Jose Sharks this year.
Dennis Everberg got a funny solo breakaway when all his teammates headed to the bench but he didn't. So he skated it in solo, but Ramo stopped his shot.
Matt Duchene had a pretty good period. He drove the net and created some chances. But he didn't score.
At the sixteen minute mark, David Jones of the Flames deflected a puck in off his skate, but since he didn't kick it in, it counted as a good goal. This is noteworthy because David Jones is one of the players that Colorado traded to Calgary to re-acquire Alex Tanguay. (The other was Shane O'Brien, who nobody misses.)
David Jones used to play for the Avalanche, but this time he scored for the Flames. 2-1 Colorado:
Then at 15:38 John Mitchell scored a really accurate goal. He had to shake some defenders off him, then he shot it from a ways out but the puck went in.
John Mitchell snipe puts the Avs up 3-1:
A couple minutes later the Flames scored again, though. Nate Guenin sometimes gets caught out of position, and when you are a defenseman this is dangerous because people can score goals when nobody is defending them. Lance Bouma did that.
Bouma gets left wide open, narrows the lead to 3-2:
The Avalanche missed some chances and the Flames blocked some shots so the Avalanche's lead didn't increase.
Then the Avalanche had to kill another penalty because David Jones fell down. Jan Hejda was called for interference but a lot of people weren't happy with the call.
It was okay though because the Avalanche only allowed three shots on the Flames power play. None of them went in.
As the clock wound down, the Avalanche let the Flames take a lot more shots. Varlamov stopped them all. He stopped a couple with his glove. The crowd liked that.
Then Brad Stuart killed a ref. In a lot of places murder is illegal but maybe nobody saw?
The Avalanche played the last few minutes of the game like they were on the penalty kill, then Calgary pulled their goaltender with slightly over a minute remaining. It didn't work though because they didn't score.
The Avalanche didn't score into the open net either.
The final score was 3-2 Avalanche.
This was a really exciting game.
MHH 3 Stars
1. Alex "Sneaky Pete" Tanguay. He got a goal and an assist. Plus he had some notable defensive stickwork.
2. John Mitchell. He scored a beautiful goal. He also had other scoring chances and a strong forechecking game. Plus he called Tanguay "Sneaky Pete" in an interview.
3. Brad Stuart. He saved a sure goal and played effectively on the penalty kill. He skated strong (for him) and did nothing to make me angry.
For the opposition, Lance Bouma got 1G and 1A and was solid as usual. He's a dependable guy.
The Avalanche go on a road trip soon. They will start the road trip in Arizona. But first they have four days off. Sometime on the road trip, they say Erik Johnson will be coming back. Erik Johnson is a pretty good defenseman and I bet he misses playing hockey.
The game is at 8:00MDT and will air on Altitude 2. You can also listen on the radio. This is how people kept up with hockey games before television.