Thursday night’s contest between the Colorado Avalanche and the Minnesota Wild proved to be one of the most exciting games of the season so far. Even though the Avs could not find the back of the net, they played a very physical, unselfish hockey game.
The lone goal of the evening came at 6:04 in the first period off of the stick of Minnesota Wild defensemen Greg Zanon. Zanon’s blast came from the top of the slot and flew by a fully screened Giguere. The goal came right after the Wild won a faceoff in their offensive zone and players were flying across the ice blocking Giggy’s field of vision.
The Avs outshot Minnesota 37-21 and Giguere stopped all shots that he could clearly see. Giguere even kept the game within reach by flashing some leather with less than 10 seconds to go in the second period. After the Wild had a breakaway chance, Minnesota forward Kyle Brodziak slid into Giguere, forcing him into his net. The puck stayed in play and Wild forward Cal Clutterbuck, who was trailing the play, had a wide-open net to shoot at. Giguere, though, was quick enough to flash his catching mitt and force the puck up and over the crossbar. This can be chalked up as arguably the save of the year. (watch the save here)
The theme of the night was the play of the net-minders. Two of the best were definitely in the spotlight last night. Niklas Backstrom stopped every shot he faced and J.S. Giguere stopped all but one. Both goalies played arguably their best game of the season last night. Fans of both clubs should be very excited about what is going to come out of this performance as they head down the stretch.
The Avs played an outstanding game at Pepsi Center Thursday night. Even though the end-result was not what the Avalanche faithful would have hoped for, fans can rest easy knowing that the Avs have stepped up their game. Last night’s game seemed to have a playoff feel to it and the intensity and focus exhibited by Colorado is a very welcome change of pace. The Avs now have an off day on Friday and then welcome the Vancouver Canucks to “The Can” on Saturday night.
- (G) Backstrom MIN
- (D) Zanon MIN
- (G) Giguere COL
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