Remember yesterday when Warren mentioned the Avs’ loss to the Wings being ‘the best game the Avs played despite the loss’ (paraphrasing there) well last night, the Avs carried that momentum forward.
For the first period.
Last night in Edmonton, the Avs fired 11 shots at Devin Dubnyk as the Duchene-Hejduk-Fleischmann (and two points from Paul Stastny) caused young children and mothers wearing Oiler colours to flee in terror. It was a thing of beauty.
The refs weren’t calling much last night, for either side, so don’t get your panties in a friggin knot. This brings us to the second period, where the suddenly lack luster Avs PP gave the slowly sinking Oilers momentum. We all know the beast that momentum is. The Oilers started their climb back into it as Taylor Hall was left wide open at the side of the net to put it home. (more on ‘left wide open’ later in the post) I’d like to say the friend I was watching the game with called this score at the end of two. Matt Duchene had a glory chance to put this thing away, but fired it high. This intermission is where I’d love to have the HBO cameras inside the Avs’ room, I don’t think there’s much paint left on the walls after the blast Sacco would give his players.
Third period..whatever Sacco said, it didn’t take. As Ray Ferraro from TSN put it “You can’t imagine a worse 5 minutes for Colorado”. The Avs did spend the majority of the final frame scrambling around their own end. You could feel the Oilers building something here, and 1:54 in, they struck. Ales Hemsky ripped a bullet that as he cut into the middle between the circles a’la Alex Ovechkin with a shot that Andy had no chance on. Minutes later, only he knows just what the hell he was doing, but Johnny Liles (who blocked a sure goal WITH HIS FACE earlier in the game, what a guy) tries to backhand a puck into the Oilers’ zone, Hemsky (again) knocks it down, snakes into the Avs zone, get a bad angle shot off, which Andy thwarts. Hemsky then again somehow gets the puck back behind the net, Hejduk (or was it O’Bryne) both blow their assignments on Andrew Cogliano, who is..wait for it…alone in front. Yes, again. Game is knotted at 3.
Overtime is where the Refs decided to stick their fingers down their throats and bring up the whistles they swallowed for 40 minutes to call an obvious, and then a bull shit penalty. First was in favour of the Avs, as Laddy Smid went off for holding. Avs got exactly 1 shot on that pp. (didn’t they work on this in practise?) with 1:40 to go in the OT period, Ryan O’Byrne takes a tripping (hooking says NHL.com) call in which he was NO WHERE NEAR the guy, I think he was skating AWAY from the play as the penalty was called. Andy make his best save of the game with about 20 seconds to go as he flashes the leather on Curtis Foster.
To the Shoot out we go, where the Avs are a perfect 2-0 coming into tonight. Milan Hedjuk is all business as he does a little deke and ripped it high glove on Dubnyk. Andy stopped Eberle, Hemsky and Hall as the Avs improved to 3-0 in the Shoot Out and roll out of Edmonton with a big 2 points.
The team will spend it’s new years eve in Calgary as they face the ex team mate Alex Tanguay and the Flames. Lets hope we see more of what we saw period 1 and less of 2/3 tonight.