Fans trickling inside the Pepsi Center trying to find their seats last night may have missed the opening face-off fireworks provided by the home team, Colorado Avalanche. With the Vancouver Canucks taking an early penalty in the game, Gabriel Landeskog scored the game’s first goal only one minute into the game giving the early edge to the Avs. The next nineteen minutes went quietly, on the goal side anyway, as the Avalanche went into the locker room for the first intermission up 1-0.
The period was quiet in the goal sense, but not on the action side. Colorado could not seem to stay out of the penalty box taking 4 penalties, including two overlapping penalties, which gave the Canucks a 5 on 3 opportunity for 1:45. The man that stepped up during this 5 on 3 drawback was defensemen Ryan O’Byrne. During his 1:21 of ice time during the 2-man disadvantage, O’Byrne blocked 4 of the Canucks shots, helping out his goalie at this crucial point in the game.
The shots were also not short of anything but spectacular in the first period. The Avs and Canucks combined for a total of 25 shots with 17 of those coming from the sticks of Avalanche players. The Avs were definitely not shy on throwing the puck on net last night. Colorado ended up with 40 total shots in the game, but came away losing to Vancouver once again.
Coming out in the second period the Avs seemed to have all of the momentum they needed to secure this game. The Avs in fact scored on another power play chance in the second on one of the most spectacular passes from a goalie ever. Semyon Varlamov threw an awesome saucer pass down ice to Paul Stastny who was awaiting the pass at the Avalanche’s attacking blue line. Stastny then fed a breaking Jamie McGinn who beat Roberto Luongo for his 20th goal of the season.
With a 2-0 advantage, Avs fans were thinking two thoughts; one, the Avs were going to finally beat Vancouver this season or two, we’ve been down this road before and know the outcome. Sadly, the latter is the outcome that happened. With more than half of the period left when McGinn put the Avs up 2-0, Vancouver regrouped and scored 2 goals in the final half of the second period.
No goals were scored in the third and the Avalanche, with a point under their belt, headed into yet another overtime game with Vancouver. The first shot registered in overtime proved to be the game winner and came from the tape of Canuck Chris Higgins.
The overtime loss put Colorado in a three-way tie with Phoenix and San Jose with 86 points. The L.A. Kings and Dallas Stars have 87 points and Calgary is getting distanced out with 83 points with the race in the West coming down to the wire. With this the closest race in years, the Avs will be on showcase this coming week with 3 games on tap, all of which are on the road. In order to keep pace with the 7th and 8th place spots, the Avs need to win at least two out of the next three games. If they can do this, they can wait patiently and see exactly what they need to do on April 5th and 7th in order to make the playoffs.
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