Jarome Iginla caught fire last season, just missing an empty netter in the final game to wind up at 29 goals on the year. Tonight he scored
three two more including the game winner late in the 3rd period.
The Avalanche gave up a scary amount of high-quality chances early on. Montreal's transition game was apparent early and Colorado's defense was getting caught low. The first product of this early game development was an Andrei Markov goal at the 12:20 mark in the 1st Period. After a Blake Comeau shot, the puck ricocheted hard up the ice and fell on the stick of Tomas Plekanec. After skating up ice, he then found the trailer, Markov, who buried the puck from the high slot to give the Canadiens an early lead (Video). But the story the rest of the period was a spectacular Semyon Varlamov, who bounced back from a poor start in Buffalo and made a number of great saves to keep the Avs in the game at intermission.
Colorado would waste no time climbing back in the game in the 2nd. During a Canadiens power play, Francois Beauchemin blocked down low in the slot. Erik Johnson would cradle the rebound and push it up to Gabriel Landeskog who skated up ice to create a shorthanded rush. After drawing the defense in driving to the net, the captain dropped the pass back to the trailing Johnson who sniped a wrist shot stick-side to tie the game at one (Video).
The next goal would occur during a fairly routine puck dump behind the Avalanche net. Varlamov got perhaps too aggressive playing the puck, and then passed it right Mac Paccioretty, who immediately flinged the puck in front of the net to a wide open Lars Eller for an easy goal (Video).
The Avs appeared to tie it not long after when Jarome Iginla was posted up in front of Montreal goalie Ben Scrivens. After a shot toward the net, Scrivens knocked himself over after contracting Iginla clearly beyond the blue area; and Iginla's backhand was immediately waived off for goalie interference when it slid into the net. The players and bench were immediately irate and were not assuaged upon seeing the scoreboard replay. Nothing in the video indicated that was the correct call, let alone a penalty on Iginla. Yet, because the penalty was called, the play was deemed unreviewable on the ice. A ruling that would be confirmed by various broadcasts as being incorrect itself.
But the angry Avalanche would get their revenge shortly after on a power play. And by whom you ask? None other than Jarome Iginla with a monster one-timer from his favorite left circle to tie the game at two (Video).
The deciding goal would come with just 3:30 left in the 3rd period with Montreal threatening to score. All-world defenseman P.K. Subban was carrying the puck near the blue line when Mikhail Grigorenko stole his lunch money and cruised up ice with Matt Duchene and Iginla. He pushed the puck up to Duchene entering Montreal's zone and skated across the slot to the left slot, squaring up to receive the pass. Duchene hit him on the tape, and Grigorenko then centered a great pass to Iginla for his
third second goal of the night (Video).
When the buzzer sounded, the Avs were victorious in regulation at home. Crazy stuff.
- Jarome Iginla - Two goals for the 38-year old bring him up to 17 on the year. That's four tallies in the last four games. If he can find the same scoring touch he did toward to end of last season, that will go a long way toward getting this Avs team in the playoffs.
- Erik Johnson - Speaking of players getting back on track. Johnson is starting to look like his old self after suffering a knee injury earlier this season. He's skating better and making the aggressive plays this team needs to succeed. One goal tonight and at least a dozen standout defensive plays. Plus-3 CF 5v5 tonight to lead the team.
Semyon Varlamov - Good bounce-back game for the goalie too. Yeah, the second goal was a poor decision on his part, he almost single-handedly kept the team in the game during the first period with a number of great saves. The Avs' schedule should favor him down the stretch.
- Chris Bigras - Except for one brilliant pass tonight that sprung a John Mitchell breakaway, this was a mostly forgettable game for the rookie. We understood there were going to be these types of games when we kept him up with the big club, and it's not like he's getting much help from his playing partner, who speaking of which...
- Andrew Bodnarchuck - Zach Redmond has caught plenty of grief this season from Avs fans, but Bodnarchuck is the other option, folks. And worse, his contract presence will be a major limiting factor at the trade deadline. His position on the team is frustrating.
Habs Messing With Martinsen - Uh, Brendan Gallagher and Andrei Markov? You don't want to mess with the big fellow. Yeah, he can be frustratingly quiet during play sometimes, but as evidenced by his near-suplex of the latter, don't push his buttons between whistles. You will be lucky if he doesn't toss you into the 200-level seats.