Tonight the Colorado Avalanche take on the Anaheim Ducks, who are in a tight battle for the President’s Trophy and the top seed in the Western Conference. That matters a little less in these new crazy playoff rules, given they’ve already wrapped up the Pacific Division. Anywho, the Ducks have won three straight and are heavy favorites heading into this one. The goalie matchup is Seymon Varlamov for the 903th straight game for Colorado and Frederik Andersen for the Ducks. Lets get to it!
Twenty-five seconds for Varly to make his first save. Something tells me he is going to be a busy camper. Well that didn’t take long, Jiri Sekac makes it 1-0 to the Ducks with a goal 3:37 into the game. He had all day and tomorrow to weave around from behind the net, get a shot off from a really narrow angle that pinged in off the post.
Strange bounce again and it’s almost 2-0 as Varly has to be alert.
Avs actually respond well after a few more sloppy shifts, and get some decent pressure on Andersen with a few shots. No luck though and it’s 1-0 halfway through the first period.
All Ducks again though as Varly is up to 9 saves. The pressure is relentless at this point and it seems like the bubble isn’t going to burst until another goal is scored. The returning Sami Vatanen has a great chance from right in front but fires high.
Free-flowing game to this point (thankfully it will end sooner).
First power play of the game goes to Colorado with 5:24 as Ryan O’Reilly draws a hooking penalty entering the offensive zone. Absolutely nothing happens on the man-advance, and the Ducks kill it easily.
Right after the power play, though, Danny Briere hits the post. Ducks control the last three minutes and the period ends at 1-0. Anaheim dominated it, should have been 2 or 3 and the Avs were just brutal. Shots are 14-7 to the hosts; and the Avs blocked eight more. Solid.
Positive opening two minutes for the Avs, O’Reilly gets a half-chance on a breakaway. It’s ended by taking a stupid penalty in the offensive zone, and the Ducks get their first power play chance of the game.
The Ducks power play looks sharp but they can’t find a way past Varly despite numerous chances. 1-0 with 15 minutes left in the period.
Pretty open game at this point, the Avs are getting looks in the offensive zone whenever they have the puck, which isn’t very often but it still seems like they are a threat to score. If that makes any sense.
Matt Duchene uses his skizzils to break free and get a shot off from a sharp angle that just misses. Avs are picking it up at this point and it’s still just 1-0 with 8 minutes left in the second period.
Ducks come back into it with Ryan Kesler, who has a shot that Varly saves right before the TV timeout. Teams are going back and forth at this point with a lot of shots fired each way. The Ducks finish the period strong with Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry doing their typical stuff. Gabriel Landeskog takes a rough penalty for his actions in a skirmish following a whistle, giving Anaheim 1:55 of power play time to start the third. Still 1-0 Ducks after two periods, shots are now 25-19 to the Ducks. Avs played much better this period but didn’t make Andersen do a ton of work.
The Avs do a good job killing off the penalty, even getting a chance on the penalty kill after a bad breakout attempt by the Ducks.
Varly then faces a barrage of shots and stops them all. Maintaining possession is all but impossible at this point. Then out of nothing the Avs tie up the game!
A simple dump and chase play lets Duchene use his speed to beat the defense to the puck, he centers to find Jarome Iginla and he cashes in. 1-1 with 14:32 left to play. His game just refuses to age.
The joy is short lived as Alex Tanguay is called for interference, giving the Ducks a chance to take the lead.
STOP PANNING TO BEACH PICTURES. WE GET IT IT’S WARM THERE
LOL. Ducks gain the zone pretty easily on the power play, but Cam Fowler makes a bad pass that isn’t handled by Vatanen at the point. O’Reilly races away with the puck and finishes off the breakaway past Andersen to give the Avs a 2-1 lead. What a stunning turnaround that was.
I can’t even imagine how many shots the Ducks are going to have in the last 12 minutes. 10? 15? 20? All in play.
The Avs do kill off the rest of the penalty and Varly makes a glove save soon after.
Rickard Rakell (who?) ties the game up for Anaheim with 10:56 left in the game. Bad reaction all the way around after a turnover in their own zone. 2-2 now and all hands are back on deck. Three goals in about 3:30, it was coming given how open the game was for most of the night.
It’s predictably one-way traffic at this point, but Varly is keeping the score level as we head into the last five minutes.
Colorado uses its timeout with 3:56 left to try to halt some of this momentum. It works well as neither team gets a shot off for the remainder of regulation and we are headed to overtime. The Avs were clearly playing for the extra session (smart), including holding the puck behind the net for the final 15 seconds.
Perry scores the winning goal with 3:35 left on a breakaway after some cute passing by the Avs got some trouble. A certain defenseman coughed up the puck, too. 3-2 Ducks in overtime and the Avs get a loser point.
Third star: Matt Duchene (Lively with the puck, had four or five shots on goal and a great pass for Iggy’s goal)
Second star: Ryan O’Reilly (Goal aside, did a lot of O’Reilly stuff at both ends of the ice)
First star: Seymon Varlamov (Amazing again, 37 saves in defeat)
It’s pretty obvious what the team is at this point with this defense, against superior teams they are just going to give up chance after chance. As soon as O’Reilly scored the Avalanche came. Varly held on enough to send it to overtime, where it’s a coinflip at that point.
Even with the recent surge, a top-10 pick is still possible given how well the rest of the Western Conference has played (searching for positives)
Two bad periods, one pretty decent period.
Next up is the third game of the road trip, on Monday in Calgary.