In some of the ugliest Avalanche hockey ever witnessed, the Avalanche beat the detroit red wings by a score of three to two, by circumstances that can be explained in no other way than divine intervention. And a little Semyon Varlamov. And two goals from guys in white and burgundy sweaters. So it wasn't entirely determined by the hockey gods, but it feels like most of it was.
1st Period: What an absolutely incredible display of supposedly the best hockey fans in the world! "Hockeytown" had half the arena filled for a majority of the period. Simply amazing. You have to be truly dedicated as a group of fans to fill fifty percent of the arena. The few that were there saw Mikahil Grigorenko deal Matt Duchene a beautiful pass midway into the first just in front of the net to give Colorado a 1-0 lead. The goal was Duchene's 25th of the year. The rest of this period was filled of Red Wings shooting pucks at Varlamov and not getting any to go by him.
2nd Period: The Avalanche continued their bold strategy of letting Detroit take unlimited shots at Varlamov and not clearing the defensive zone. It finally cost them, when Jonathan Ericsson shot a puck that bounced on Semyon and sneaked through the five-hole. Other than that, the Avs maybe got two shots off on Mrazek. I don't know exactly. It actually might have been two though.You could literally hear Varlamov gasping for air when the forty minute horn sounded.
3rd Period: Blake Comeau scored perhaps the least sexy goal in hockey history after a mad scramble gave him a shot, that hit several bodies, possibly a car, and dribbled maybe a foot past the goal line. They all count the same though! That gave the Avalanche a 2-1 lead. Barrie and Mitchell got the apples. The annoyingly good and ancient Pavel Datsyuk responded for the winged wheel on the power play halfway through the period, setting up a remaining regulation period of more Detroit shots at Varlamov and very few Avalanche attempts. But hey, it got the Avs to overtime, so it must have worked.
Overtime: For the first time this season, the Avalanche played 3 on 3 hockey away from Pepsi Center. Varlamov made a couple of huge saves and the crossbar aided him with another. Matt Duchene drew a power play for the Avalanche with a minute and a half left. Thoughts were set up of a storybook, late game-winner for Colorado at the Joe. They were going to get the impossible win and leave the building on happy terms. That might have happened had the Avalanche taken shots at the net, but they mostly passed instead, which as we've come to know, does not work. That led to a shootout.
Shootout: 1) Dylan Larkin: SAVE. 2) Gabe Landeskog: SAVE. 3) Pavel Datsyuk: SCORE. 4) Matt Duchene: SAVE. 5) Brad Richards: SAVE. 6) Nathan MacKinnon SCORE. 7) Gustav Nyquist: SAVE. 8) Blake Comeau: SCORE AND THE AVALANCHE WIN PLUS THE RED WINGS LOSE YESSSSSSSSSSS!!!!!!!
Mr. Fish's Three Sardines:
#3: Mikhail Grigorenko: His pass to set up Duchene for the first goal was beautiful. Let's see O'Reilly do that! (he probably would have but pretend you didn't read that)
#2: Blake Comeau: He scored the goal that eventually guaranteed the Avalanche a point, and scored the goal to give the Avalanche their second point. Good on you, Blake!
#1: Semyon Varlamov: For Semyon to only give up two goals tonight for as many shots as he faced... OFF A BACK TO BACK is remarkable. When he plays like this and at least three other Avalanche players decide to contribute, this team is unstoppable.
Mr. Fish's Three Sardines:
EVERYONE ELSE: Besides the three aforementioned gentlemen, and Matt Duchene, no one else did much to garner much admiration. Beating Detroit in Detroit is always fun, but these two points were the most undeserved two points I think the Avalanche have ever gotten. Such an ugly game, and it is not possible that the Avalanche never trailed at one point in this game. I refuse to believe that. Hell must have frozen over.
Parting thought: The Avalanche are undefeated at Joe Louis Arena ever since the conference realignment three summers ago. DEAL WITH IT.