It was nice to live life as an Avalanche fan for two whole calendar years knowing we'd get two automatic points every time Colorado played the Dallas Stars. But a team as good as the Stars can't be silenced forever. The streak ended on February 4th, 2016 in Denver. Bullocks!
1st Period: Goals galore! Jason Spezza of the Stars opened up the scoring tab with a goal that says is unassisted on NHL.com (it was not), right in front of the goal crease that Calvin Pickard had no chance on. Bad defense by the Avs from all five skaters on the ice.
Have no fear, however, Avs faithful. The powerful tandem of Carl Soderbeg and Blake Comeau teamed up to tie the game at unos. Soda slipped Blake a nice pass just after crossing the blue line into the Dallas zone, and an absolute ripper from Comeau over Antti Niemi's left shoulder proved to be a nice highlight. Three minutes later, Colorado scored again to take the lead with a Nick Holden blue line blast assisted by Nathan MacKinnon and Jarome Iginla. Lot of traffic in front of the net prevented Niemi from having a good look at the heavy shot.
2nd Period: Somewhat reminiscent of the game the Stars and Avs played at American Airlines Center a couple weeks ago. Lots of Dallas shots, few Colorado shots, and somehow the Avs walk out of the period NOT losing. Ales Hemsky scored on a breakaway as a result of a poorly timed Avalanche shift change. Not much Pickard could do except stick an arm out and hope the puck hit him. Not his fault. But Comeau and Soderberg, who a little birdie told me HATE having away teams score goals without having a response of their own, did just that, again. This time, Comeau gave Soderberg a beautiful pass allowing Carl to get one in the goal column tonight. So generous! What great friends and hockey players! Teach your kids to play hockey like them, people.
3rd Period: The Avs had a penalty shot! That deserves an SOS when that happens. Colorado penalty shots are like unicorns. Nathan MacKinnon got the unicorn... and missed. Considerably high of the crossbar. Serious buzzkill. That penalty shot would have been nice to have since the Stars scored a few minutes later off a Jason Demers goal. My best explanation as to why the Avs allowed it? Turtling. Really. They just sat back and let Dallas play with the puck for too long. Won't work out well against an explosive team like the Stars. No one scored the last several minutes, so we got free hockey.
Overti: Before I could finish typing the word overtime, the Stars scored in extra time to end this match. Dallas got a 3 on 1 look on Tyson Barrie, and puck possessor John Klinsberg elected not to pass to his 2 teammates and keep the shot for himself. Worked out well. He blasted a shot past Pickard and that was it.
Mr. Fish's Three Sardines:
#3: Erik Johnson: Good rebound game from the Condor. He contributed on offense with some assistance, and made some nice defensive breakups to keep the Stars from scoring more than four times and preserving the Avs an overtime point.
T-1st: Blake Comeau and Carl Soderberg: I can't decipher which one of these guys was better tonight. They were both excellent and worked terrifically together. Had every other Avalanche played as well as they did, the team would have gotten that elusive second point.
Mr. Fish's Three Flounders:
#3: Nick Holden: Usually I keep goal-scorers off this section, but Nickie struggled tonight defensively. He also botched a critical sequence in the second where he could have setup Blake Comeau on a breakaway and instead iced the puck.
#2: Alex Tanguay: More of the same from Tangs. Please retire after this season, buddy. You don't have it anymore on a night to night basis.
#1: Tyson Barrie: If you're in a contract year, you should probably play games the complete opposite of the way Barrie played this one if you want to make as much money as possible. Sometimes Barrie is a door-buster for Colorado, and then there are nights when he looks flimsy and useless. Tonight was the latter, unfortunately.
The Flyers beat the Predators and the Rangers beat the Wild tonight, so the Avalanche do get a point's worth of cushion on their closest threats to the wildcard race, but this is the second straight game for Colorado where opportunities to distance the gap have slipped away from them. We have to keep in mind both Nashville and Minnesota have games in hand on the Avalanche, and overtime losses won't cut it if we want to make those games in hand an arbitrary number. This game, and the one against Chicago, would have gone a long way in making that happen.