Okay, award for worst Avalanche blogger this week goes to me. I’m terribly sorry if you’ve checked in during the past five days, only to find things static. I’m back, and ready to blog (at least every other day) for the foreseeable future during this long offseason.
Alright, time for World Championships updates, Avalanche style.
-Team Canada has played two games. Matt Duchene scored two goals in the first game, (and was named Best Player for Canada), a 3-1 win over Denmark. In the second game, Canada lost to Switzerland in the shootout. Duchene was used three times, and he scored once and was denied twice by Martin Gerber, Switzerland’s goalie. Duchene has gone 16-8 on faceoffs thus far. Ryan O’Reilly has yet to earn any points, but he has gone 9-2 in the faceoff circle.
-Team USA has also played two games since I last posted, and won both of them. Erik Johnson scored two goals in his first game, and had one assist in the second. Matt Hunwick scored in today’s contest. Aaron Palushaj scored in the first game. Paul Stastny has three assists so far, was named Best Player in game one, and has gone 32-13 at the dot. Also, goaltender Ben Bishop (Tampa Bay Lightning), is a native of Denver Colorado.
-Semyon Varlamov was not in the lineup for Team Russia’s first game, but he was in the net for their second, a 4-1 win over Germany. Varlamov made 26 saves on 27 shots to earn the victory.
-Jan Hejda and Gabriel Landeskog’s teams faced off yesterday. Neither had any points, but Landeskog added to his penalty total, while Hejda’s team added to their win total.
The Avs earned a nice win tonight against the Phoenix Coyotes, in their final road game of the season. Considering how poorly they’ve done on the road this year, it was nice to end that part of the season on a high note.
Tonight the Avalanche team I expected to see all season showed up. They worked hard, there weren’t too many defensive errors, and all of their scoring potential came through. It’s late in the season, and I’ll do a more thorough recap of what went wrong once this year is officially over for the Avs. For now, I’ll just be happy about the performance tonight.
The Colorado Avalanche won their first game in over a week, beating the Anaheim Ducks. I can’t tell you how relieved I am to be writing about a win!
Someone needs to go to the Colorado Avalanche lockerroom, play the scene from The Help in which Emma Stone’s character sobs “you broke her heart”, and then show a picture of my gravestone. This season has been a nightmare. (Or, a dramatic mic drop gif. That was my reaction to Legwand’s goal in the final minute and a half.)
The Avs failed to earn the two points (again). Once more, the team fell to a 3-0 deficit (although this one took about 30 minutes, versus eight). They fought back hard, but it was too little, too late, and the game ended 3-2.
I thought the team actually came out with a good start. Unfortunately, they started to play sloppily after a poor powerplay opportunity, and Justin Abdelkader scored when he batted a mid-air rebound past Varlamov. In the second, the team came out the way they usually play in the first. Detroit scored two more goals (Cleary and Brunner). Varlamov was pulled (the goals weren’t necessarily his fault, but the team needed to wake up).The Avs started pushing in the third, taking advantage of poor Wings’ play. Jamie McGinn scored a powerplay goal, and Matt Duchene added a goal in the final 90 seconds to give the team some glimmer of hope. Jimmy Howard played a really good game, made a couple of nice saves especially at the end.
Tomorrow night the Avs play Nashville. Colorado has had some surprising success over Smashville this season, including a 1-0 win Saturday, so let’s see if they can continue that.
The Avs lost this game 4-1, but this was one of those rare occasions where the score does not reflect the game. The Colorado Avalanche were in control of this game, for the majority of the game. If it wasn’t for the heroics of Canuck’s goaltender Corey Schneider, the Avs would probably have scored four goals in this game. Unfortunately, they came up against one of the hottest goaltenders in the league right now.
The Canucks scored first (of course), and the only reason they held onto that lead was because of the heroics of their goaltender. Finally in the third, Matt Duchene broke through the Schneider wall. Sadly, a few minutes later, the Canucks scored when Varlamov was screened and there was the slightest miscue in the defensive zone. The final two goals came in the final 100 seconds, when the Avs were unable to defend an empty net during their six on five advantage. Vancouver is now 18-0-2 in their last 20 against the Avs. In the past three years, the Avs have outplayed the Canucks during at least half of their games (and failed miserably in the other half), and yet, somehow, the Canucks continue to come out on top. Canadian voodoo at its finest I guess.
There’s not really much to say about the Avs tonight. They need to win, for themselves and for the fans more than for the playoffs at this point. At the same time, as a fan, it was relieving to see a game in which the team actually played well. That’s what happens when your team is losing like crazy and almost certain to miss the playoffs AGAIN-you start to be able to differentiate between the feelings after a loss wherein the team played awful hockey, and a loss where the team plays good hockey.
Holy mother of hockey baby. The Avs are just killing me. The epidemic of first periods continued tonight, when the Avs allowed two goals and shot the puck only twice on net. The team did manage to keep the score tied at zero for the first eight minutes (that’s the first time that’s happened in the past five or so games). Then, the penalty kill had a little breakdown, and the puck trickled behind Varlamov. If there’s someone out there who can explain how a team can fail to play competent hockey in the first period 25 games out of 32 (did I mention these are professionals?), your advice would be greatly appreciated by anyone who is still able to watch this team.
The team sort of woke up in the second period, with a goal by Jamie McGinn off P.A. Parenteau’s rebound. Then, 12 seconds later, they allowed a goal, and Calgary retained their two goal lead. Gabriel Landeskog scored another goal for the Avs off a bizarre shot from the goal line. The Flames would score again though. In the third, the Avs had a good effort, but they were only able to score one goal, during a five on three opportunity, from Ryan O’Reilly. Once again, the Avs found themselves behind, and once again, they were unable to win a game of “catch-up hockey.”
Tomorrow night the Avs are back at it against Vancouver. It might be kinda, sorta nice, if the Avs could get a win. I don’t care how they get it (even if it’s after a 30 round shootout), they just need to get it.
-Matt Duchene won 24 faceoffs tonight, a new personal record for faceoffs won in a single game.
-Erik Johnson took a heavy hit from Blake Comeau in the first, and from there on out he just looked dazed. His skating wasn’t smooth anymore, and he just seemed to be making things harder on himself.
-Greg Zanon had the best game of his Avalanche career tonight. He was hitting people at the right time, making some nice plays… kudos Zanon.
Yesterday I said that the Avs would score either 3 or 6 goals, and Minnesota would score 4. I was right about the score being 4-6, however I was wrong about which team had which number. Minnesota decided to go for the 6 goals. It’s just embarrassing at this point.
Jean-Sebastian Giguere started the game, and he did not “calm things down”. I know that the Avs allowed a lot of shots, but all four of the goals Giguere allowed were awful. For some reason, Joe Sacco refuses to pull a goalie until the intermission. He only called his timeout after the Wild scored their third goal. The timeout worked temporarily, when John Mitchell scored his 9th of the season, but then Giguere allowed the fourth.
In the second period, the Avs scored two quick goals with Semyon Varlamov in net. Minnesota called their timeout, and soon after scored against Varlamov. Those would be the only three goals in the period. In the third, Minnesota scored their sixth goal of the game on a semi-breakaway. Chuck Kobasew would get a goal with less than two minutes remaining in the period, but they were unable to put another couple in the net with the goalie pulled.
I had an uneasy feeling as the team was set to start this home and home series, that if the Avs didn’t earn at least three points, their chances were gone for the playoffs. At this point, they’d need to go 16-5, or 15-3-2, or 14-1-4 to get to 56 points, which would probably get them into the playoffs. I expect them to try for at least one of those records, but at this point, as a fan, I think things look pretty bleak.
-Joe Sacco ABSOLUTELY should have pulled Giguere after the second goal in six minutes. This isn’t some “oh we’re five games in the season, let’s let him redeem himself” situation, or a “we’re sitting comfortably in the playoff picture, let him have a chance to redeem himself” situation. This is a “we need to win this f*&^ing game, and you only get playing time if you’re helping” situation. When he didn’t pull Giguere, it sent a message to me that said “we’re still okay if we lose this game”.
-Giguere was awful, and Varly was just okay. It’s just not fair to them though, how many shots they’ve faced.
-Ryan Wilson missed this game with an ankle injury…sounds like he reinjured himself.
-Milan Hejduk also missed this game, but there was no word on a possible injury.
-Matt Duchene and P.A. Parenteau are third and fourth in the Western Conference in points (Duchene at 30 points is just behind Patrick Kane/Ryan Getzlaf with 31.)
-Aaron Palushaj had a really good game-keep him in the lineup. I want Olver in too, he’s a sparkplug too.
-Mitchell, Parenteau, Landeskog, and Kobasew had the Avs goals.