Tonight was one of those games you wish you could have back. The Avalanche committed four brutal penalties and gave up an eye-popping 106 shots toward the net, compared to just 32 of their own. Dallas put on an absolute clinic and Colorado appeared helpless to stop it for much of the game. Games like this are almost understandable after a tough game the night before at home against a very good St. Louis Blues team. Coach Roy won't be happy, but...
Wait, they won?!?
Hold on, let me wipe off my glasses. There, let's check that score again. Holy Toledo! They did! 3-1 even! But, but, but...I watched the whole game. That can't possibly be true, can it? Well, NHL.com says the Avs won and I presume they are the foremost authority on their own product. Could it be Colorado beat a good Stars team in the most improbable of fashions? Turns out it is.
The shots really were that bad. Yeah, not all of them hit the net, but Dallas still hit a lot more than Colorado (43-15 SOG). Well, they had a lot of power plays, right? Maybe that's the reason? Nope, the Stars dominated 5v5 too (33-12 SOG). The story of the game was the superlative Semyon Varlamov, picking up right where he left off against the Blues in Denver. The Avalanche goalie was again brilliant, perhaps not making as many flashy saves, but certainly all the ones he needed to for his team to win. Dallas, one of the great scoring teams in the NHL, held off the scoreboard nearly the entire night and were understandably frustrated after every shift.
So how does this happen? Short-handed goals, that's how.
Carl Soderberg got the first one while killing a Nick Holden hooking penalty in the 1st. He jumped a pass at mid-ice and stole the puck, juked Jamie Benn out of his jock, and had a clean toward the goal. Soderberg shot high stick-side and put the puck past Niemi to put the Avs up 1-0 (Video).
Jason Demers would tie the game 7:24 into the 2nd Period during a power play (Video), seeming to indicate the end of the Avs' good fortune, but that wasn't the case. Colorado would score again on a Dallas power play, this time by Gabriel Landeskog who stole the puck at mid-ice and buried it past Niemi to make it 2-1 Avs (Video).
Colorado would even out the shot attempts a bit in the 3rd, but were still having a difficult time suppressing and Dallas scoring attempts. However, the Avs would score one more time, this time at even strength on a fantastic Mikhail Grigorenko effort (Video). The Stars would pull their goalie for the final 2:30, but it was to no avail.
The Avalanche would go on to win their fourth straight and are now 12-3-1 in the cutthroat Central Division. They will get a couple of necessary days off before taking on the Sharks Tuesday against San Jose.
Let's skip the normal matchup chart so that we can laugh at the improbability of this abomination:
I mean, that's just hilarious.
Semyon Varlamov - That's it.
In comparison to Varlamov? Absolutely every other player on the ice.