The referees came out flying tonight, calling a holding penalty just 18 seconds in and sending Cory Sarich off for 2 minutes for Holding. The Avs killed off the penalty thanks to a huge save by Varlamov. About a minute after the Sarich minor, the active refs whistled the Stars for their own infraction. The Avs held the puck in the Stars' zone for the majority of the man advantage, but failed to convert. After a couple minutes of rest, the referees called Hejda for delay of game.
At one point the special teams actually took a break for a minute to allow the up and down 5-on-5 action to get going. Just past the mid-point of the opening frame Nathan MacKinnon walked in and showed some patience and poise with the puck as he waited for his linemates to drive the defense back before firing a wrister far side past Kari Lehtonen. Beauty by the rookie. 1-0 Avs.
The officials found their whistles again towards the end of the period and put the Avs on a lengthy 5-on-3 after a blatant boarding call against Dallas. Luckily Barrie, the receiver of the friendly face-to-glass hit, was uninjured. The Avs couldn't solve Lehtonen despite some quality chances, and the refs decided to ease Dallas' pain and send Duchene off for a questionable hooking call. The Stars scored quickly on the 4-on-4 off a great individual effort and set up by Tyler Seguin. 1-1.
The Stars nearly doubled their total off a sequence on the power play that resulted in the puck glancing off the far post, landing on a prone Varlamov's back, against the opposite post and down onto the goal line. Weird play that would have tainted an otherwise entertaining first period. Shots in the first: Avs 21, Stars 10. The Avs were 0 for 3 on the power play including about 1 minute of 5-on-3. The Colorado power play could use a little jolt of Tanguay right about now….
Less than 4 minutes into the middle frame the referees wrapped their lips around their metal for the 7th time (in less than 24 minutes) and blew. The call was high-sticking on Barrie, but if anything it was a friendly crosscheck.
8:29 into the 2nd the Avs put together a strong shift in the Stars' end and were rewarded when Max Talbot shot the puck towards the net, between McGinn's legs, to Paul Stastny in good position just outside the blue paint. 2-1 Avalanche. If the Avs could keep the game 5-on-5 they'll be in good shape.
MacKinnon created a breakaway for himself after poking the puck past the Dallas defenseman trying to keep it in at the blue line, but Lehtonen made two saves to deny the youngster his first 2-goal game. MacKinnon would continue his speedy ways and with 6:18 left in middle frame chased after the puck and forced the Stars into a bit of chaos, resulting in an Andre Benoit snapshot to put the Avs up 3-1. O`Reilly and Duchene credited with the assists, but MacKinnon made that play happen.
Thankfully the hockey gods listened to my pleas and the game continued the 5-on-5 play, allowing the Avs to go ahead 4-1 on Stastny's second goal of the period. Stastny again set up just outside the crease and was able to tip Landeskog's slapshot from the point past the Dallas netminder. Maybe #26 heard that the US Olympic committee selects the roster in just a few weeks….
Another American looking towards Sochi, Erik Johnson, trailed Stastny up ice on a rush (5-on-5 mind you) and fired a shot that was denied, but stayed with it and got a second chance that he fired home for the Avs' 4th goal of the period and a commanding 5-1 lead with just a second or two left in the middle frame. 34 shots through 40 minutes for Colorado.
Early in the third period - and for the second time in the game - Tyler Seguin out-hustled Erik Johnson, resulting in a Stars goal. Seguin passed to Nichushkin who fired deceptive pass right on the money to a streaking Seguin for a little give and go. Seguin redirected the puck off the post and in to make it 5-2 Avalanche.
After nearly 20 minutes without a penalty, the refs quickly found their whistles again and put the Avs on their 2nd 5-on-3 of the game, and again, the Avs failed to do much damage with the man advantage. Although Tyson Barrie did score about 2 seconds after the power play expired to make it 6-2 Avs. Barrie used the Dallas player as a screen and sent a good shot past Lehtonen to put the game out of reach.
The Avalanche looked hungry all night and found that offensive jump that they had early in the season. Fun game. Lots of offense. Good times.
MHH Stick Taps
- Paul Stastny, 2G, 2A, 4 pts
- Parenteau, 3A
- Nathan MacKinnon, 1G, mad speed
- O`Reilly [slap+fight] Duchene - MacKinnon
- Landeskog - Stastny - Parenteau
- McGinn - Mitchell - Talbot
- McLeod - Cliche - Bordeleau
- Hejda - Johnson
- Sarich - Benoit
- Barrie - Guenin
- The Avs set a season high in shots tonight with 48 shots.
- 10 power plays in this game. ZERO power play goals. So despite laying eggs on the man advantage, this game boasted a ton of offense with 8 goals on 81 shots.
- Cliche got a couple good chances in the third period, including a breakaway, but the defensive forward couldn't capitalize.
- It seems Max Talbot has finally found his comfort zone with the Avalanche, on the third line with McGinn and Mitchell. That line was tenacious and relentless all night. They'd be a pain to play against and create a nice compliment to the top two lines.
Deja vu! Avs VS Stars. Conclusion of the home and home set, at Dallas. Tuesday, December 17, 6:30pm.