Avs Shut-Out Again — Minnesota Spoils Home Opener 3-0


0. 103. 3. 98. Final

The Colorado Avalanche returned to Pepsi Center, with a spankin’ new Central Division Champs banner in the rafters, looking to avenge Thursday night’s brutal loss to the Minnesota Wild. Patrick Roy surprisingly juggled the lines in a massive way prior to the game, slotting Dennis Everberg and Gabe Landeskog under Ryan O’Reilly’s wings. Matt Duchene was back with Jarome Iginla, and joined by Jamie McGinn. Nathan MacKinnon centered a line with Alex Tanguay and Daniel Briere. Funky, but the idea was to spread the jelly out over the toast, and get a dynamic duo on three lines, rather than top-loading two lines.

Unfortunately, the new lines failed to spark that goal scoring magic, and the Avalanche were once again shut-out by the Wild by a final tally of 3-0. Razzam Frazzam.

First Period

The puck caromed off the ice after leaving the linesman’s outstretched hand, and Matt Duchene was able to gain control for the boys in burgundy. The home opener was under way. The Avs were hoping to come out and establish their game early, and rebound fr- andddd the Wild scored. Charlie Coyle deflected a Ryan Suter point shot, putting the bad guys ahead just 1:51 into the game. So much for getting off to a good start in front of the home crowd.

The Avs responed well after falling behind early. The middle portion of the period was completely in Avalanche control. Matt Duchene had the most spark of any Avs forward and created a few chances. Nick Holden and Tyson Barrie found a few opportunities to jump into the play as well. Nathan MacKinnon showed off his skating legs as well, although nothing particularly dangerous came from any of his rushes. The crowd palpitates with anticipation every time he has the puck – an awesome dynamic.

“I’m not worried, we’re a strong group in here. We win and lose as a team. Tough two games, but we’ve got eighty more to go, so let’s put on the work boots.” -Gabe Landeskog

Duchene drew a penalty about halfway through the period, but again the Avs overpassed, failed to set things up, and didn’t generate any dangerous chances. I think they only managed one shot on a Landy chance in the slot, after Koivu dropped his stick. But hey, that’s one more shot than they managed in their four power play chances in Minnesota.

The last third of the period opened up a bit, with both teams getting some quality chances. Erik Johnson got called for a holding penalty (a soft one at that), and the Wild power play was buzzing. Fortunately for the Avs, Varlamov turned away all 8 shots on said power play, and the Avalanche avoided the sting of a second goal.

Shots finished 15-9 in favor of Minnesota, although as mentioned above, 8 of those shots were on a single power play.

Avalanche scoring drought: 80 minutes

Second Period

The second period started off with some nastiness. Erik Johnson made an extremely careless play and came across with the elbow high on Wild forward Erik Haula. Johnson and Haula were both fortunate, that EJ’s elbow only grazed Haula’s head. Haula stayed down on the ice, and Johnson was assessed a five minute major and tossed from the contest (he earned this one). Haula appeared to sell the call, but it was still a careless and dangerous play by Johnson at best.

The Wild had a brief amount of 5-on-3 time, but the Avs held strong. The five minute power play was interrupted by a Tomas Vanek interference penalty, but the Wild still had a big chance to score the all important second goal of the game. The Avs penalty kill made a stand. The physicality remained, with Gabe Landeskog going after Nino Niederreiter, and a general air of chippyness to the game.

“I’m happy with the performance of our team… we wanted to compete. we wanted to focus. we wanted to be enthusiastic. Unfortunately for us, we didn’t score any goals… We play like this, I’m not worried.” -Patrick Roy

Niederreiter remained a focal point, after running over Semyon Varlamov moments before the Wild found the back of the Avs net. The goal was disallowed, to the dismay of Mike Yeo.

The last half of the period was dominated by the Avalanche, although were unable to find the net. The Avs missed on the chances they did have, and didn’t pull the trigger on many other opportunities. The period turned into a tangled mess of frustration and a desire to be too fancy, compounded by a Jason Zucker goal with just over eight minutes left in the frame. Shots sit at 25-20 in favor of the Wild after 2, but the Avs are leading the hit parade 27-11.

The Avs seem to be building. The can is shaking. The tension is ripe for the plucking. One goal, and this thing is about to blow. Bring on the third period.

Avalanche scoring drought: 100 minutes

Third Period


Avalanche scoring drought: 120 minutes

Final Thoughts:

  • Avs failed to score a goal in two games with the Wild, and got outscored 8-0.
  • The Avs played a good game tonight. Not fantastic, but a solid effort. The frustration is palpable.
  • I’m sick of playing the Wild. Bring on a fresh opponent.
  • EJ has a decent shot to get a suspension for his careless hit on Haula. He’s lucky he didn’t really square up Haula’s head, or he’d be facing a pretty long suspension. 1 or 2 games for the careless play is deserved.
  • I honestly don’t really know what to say. Avs got whooped, followed up by a frustrating game tonight. Five game road trip upcoming for the guys to get things figured out.