Avalanche Dominate Canucks, 7-3


“We just kept coming. We had a great first period, and we wanted to keep building off it.” -Matt Duchene

You’ve got to have killer instinct to play professional hockey, and the Colorado Avalanche showed that tonight. They were merciless against a tired Vancouver Canucks team who had arrived in the Mile High City in the middle of the night and who were playing their backup goalie. The Avs needed a win, a big win. And they got it.

The game didn’t start off promising. The Canucks scored on their first shot of the game — no telling what Avalanche goalie Semyon Varlamov was doing, but 10 second into the game, he let in the first goal.

The Avalanche skaters responded well. They had promised to come out with energy and shoot the puck more often. They did exactly that. It took them 14 shots — Vancouver goalie Eddie Lack looked a lot sharper than Varlamov in the first — but Colorado got on the scoreboard. No less, Jarome Iginla earned his first as an Avalanche. With his first goal of the season, Iginla surpassed Guy LeFleur on the all-time goal list and tied with Mike Modano at 561.

Cody McLeod made his own bit of history, though of a different sort. He became the first Colorado player to reach 1,000 penalty minutes. Fittingly, his 1,000th+ penalty minute came on a fight with Vancouver’s Derek Dorsett.

The Avalanche suffered a bit of misfortune late in the first period. Vancouver forward Alexandre Burrows drove to the net. He kicked the puck with his skate, and a nano-second later the puck squirted behind Varlamov into the net. One linesman waved it a good goal, while the other waved it off. The game paused while the play went to Toronto for review.

The rule is that a skater cannot make a distinct kicking motion to direct puck into the net. Even though Burrows clearly kicked the puck, the goal was ruled a good one. Burrows did poke at the puck with his stick after kicking it, though the replays shown on TV weren’t clear as to whether he actually connected. The puck also may have deflected off of Varlamov’s leg. Either way, Vancouver was up by a goal going into the first intermission despite being outshot by Colorado 15 to eight.

Colorado came out strong after the second intermission. The kept Vancouver from shooting the puck for the first half of the period while they continued to pepper Lack — at around the halfway mark, they had outshot the Canucks 25 to nine in the game. The hard work paid off as winger Jamie McGinn received a cherry pass from star center Matt Duchene and wristed it past Lack.

At 13:09 of the second period, Vancouver skater Nick Bonino whipped around with his stick at shoulder level and whacked Colorado forward Max Talbot across the face. Talbot’s head snapped back, he dropped and went skidding across the ice. Unfortunately, Talbot’s thick-skinned, and there was no blood, but Bonino was still called for two minutes.

The Avs played with energy — enough so that Duchene drew a penalty, with Vancouver’s Shawn Matthias hooking him. The Avs had a 5-on-3.

And they capitalized — or, I should say, cornerstone defenseman Erik Johnson capitalized. He released his bomb of a shot and beat Lack clean. Colorado was up 3 to 2.

Varlamov took a penalty at 6:06 of the period by smothering the puck outside of the allowed zone. It took the steam out of Colorado, having to kill the penalty at that point in the period, and Vancouver got several more shots. Luckily, Colorado got to the end of the period still up by one.

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Of late, the Avs have been accused — and have accused themselves — of not playing a full 60 minutes of hockey. This was not the case against Vancouver. They came out in the third period ready to play even


hockey. They put more shots on net and, sure enough, just over two minutes in veteran Daniel Briere got his second of the season. The Avs were up 4-2.

During all this, Duchene was whirling and shooting and just plain being the best player on the ice. Well, it finally paid off. He scored on a sniper’s backhand — assists to Iginla and Johnson. 5-2, Avs.

At the midway point of the period, Vancouver forward Daniel Sedin beat Varlamov with a clean slapshot. But that was ok — the Avs were still up by two.

Remember how one of the lines all season has been that, once the Avs broke the seal on scoring, the goals were just going to keep coming? Turns out that was true. At the 7:03 mark, captain Gabriel Landeskog scored off of a slapshot. 6-3, Avs.

Also remember when Iginla matched Mike Modano on the all-time goals list? That didn’t last long. With less than a minute left to play, he tipped in a feed from Alex Tanguay. Final score, 7-3. The Avalanche had outshot the Canucks 48 to 29.

The entire Avs Nation breathed a sigh of relief.