The Perfect Storm

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The Avalanche couldn't stand long enough and fell to the Leafs 4-3. (Photo by AP)

So the two game winning streak has come to an end. A couple days after the exciting finish against Columbus the Avalanche hosted the Toronto Maple Leafs looking for their first three game winning streak since December. Although the Avalanche couldn’t get the job done last night I felt the game was perfect for this point in the season. The Avalanche sit well eliminated from the playoffs and in a position where they need another big piece. Well in a draft that is very top heavy that piece may come in the form of a top three pick this season. Lets face it, the Avalanche have to continue to lose to get a good pick and I’m not saying they should just tank because, well they don’t need any help to tank they can lose just playing regularly. All I want for the Avs in these remaining games is for them to stay competitive, bring heart, keep the games exciting,and don’t get discouraged but in the end just lose! And that is all exactly what they did last night.

After the Avalanche allowed two shorthanded goals to Columbus the other night they may have been taking notes. The Avs opened the scoring with a shorthanded goal coming courtesy of Daniel Winnik and Jay McClement who took on three Maple Leaf defenders and still found a way to get the puck to the back of the net. To bad the Avs goal using the penalty kill was the only offensive game they had in the first. The Avs wound up getting out shot 9-3 in the first period and Toronto used that one sided play to not only knot the game up but even take a lead as Nikolai Kulemin scored two goals to put the Leafs up 2-1 at the first break.

The second period would serve to be much more competitive for the Avalanche in shots and on the score board. First Tyler Bozak, a former Denver Pioneer, scored to make the game 3-1 but the two goal lead didn’t last long for the Leafs. The lone penalty of the second period gave the Avs their second powerplay of the game and apparently the Avalanche have some new sniper named Ryan O’Reilly. O’Reilly continued his hot streak by scoring 55 seconds into the Avs PP to bring the game back to a one goal deficit.

When the teams came out in the 3rd Brian Elliott was mysteriously missing from the ice and in his place was Peter Budaj, this would not last long or turn out well. While Budaj covered for the “late” Elliott the Maple Leafs were only able to get one shot on goal, in a little less than four minutes, but luck would have it for them that the one shot against Budaj went in,a powerplay goal Budaj had no chance to stop. Once again it was nice to see the Avalanche did not lay down and just take a loss. They battled through the rest of the 3rd period and Matt Duchene brought the game within one but the Avs couldn’t find that fourth goal.

Notes:

  • Ryan O’Reilly now has five goals over his last nine games.
  • Matt Duchene has now brought his streak to 6 straight games with a point, 5 goals 4 assist during the streak.
  • Another sign Duchene is seeing the puck well? He tied his season high with 6 SOG and has 26 SOG during his 6 game point streak.
  • By allowing the 4th goal in a 4-3 game Peter Budaj got the loss tonight although he faced only one shot. This now makes it 5 straight losses since he won his 99th game.
  • Erik Johnson had his best game in an Avalanche uniform by tallying 3 assist. He now has 10 pts in 15 games with the Avs.
  • Ryan O’Byrne‘s -3 was the worst +/- of his season.
  • Dupuis, Foote, Hunwick, and Koci were the scratches.

Goals:

Next Game: As the Avs just ended a winning streak they will likely start a losing streak as they travel to LA to take on the Kings on Saturday.

Follow on Twitter @SCrociata or @MHSticking

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Tags: Brian Elliott Colorado Avalanche Matt Duchene Peter Budaj Ryan O'Reilly Toronto Maple Leafs

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