1st Colorado Avalanche Win in OT/SO


“It took too many to get this overtime win, but it feels great.” – Matt Duchene

The Colorado Avalanche won. Enough said. Well, ok, here are the details: The Colorado Avalanche beat the Toronto Maple Leafs 4-3 in a shootout.

However, in the Avs Nation, the Avalanche win is the big story.

Period 1

Avalanche defenseman Nick Holden started the scoring early — very early — by scoring just 31 seconds into the first period. It was his first of the season.

Unfortunately, just a few seconds later, Toronto Maple Leafs Daniel Winnik winger went over in a spectacular flip on a clean hit from Avalanche defenseman Jan Hejda. Winnik, a former Avalanche, landed awkwardly, hitting his head as he somersaulted on the ice. Play came to a stop, and the Pepsi Center was dead silent.

Team doctors and medics came out onto the ice. Winnik was strapped into a stretcher with his head immobilized. Thankfully, according to Sporting News, by the end of the first period Winnik was “alert, moving and talking.”

Play continued, and the Avs dominated for awhile, outshooting the Leafs 15 to 7 at one point. Unfortunately, after the Avs failed to convert on two separate power plays, Toronto sniper Phil Kessel corralled the puck and beat Colorado goalie Reto Berra with a wrist shot. The game was tied.

Period 2

Play slowed down in the second period. However, Toronto scored while Colorado defenseman Zach Redmond was in the penalty box for slashing. It was an unfortunate play because Berra had his stick kicked away, so he was unable to stop Toronto forward Tyler Bozak’s wrist shot. It was also unfortunate in that it ended Colorado’s streak of killing 29 penalties.

However, Colorado veteran forward Alex Tanguay showed why he’s still a force in the league. He scored a patient goal just a minute later.

Goalie Reto Berra had a big period. Though he didn’t face too many shots, he faced a couple big ones. Toronto forward Cody Franson had a couple looks, one of which required a highlight reel save. Before that, Berra faced a daunting sight — Kessel coming at him with speed on a breakaway. Denied — Berra made the save.

Period 3

Play intensified in the third period again. Berra continued to make big saves to keep the Avs in the game. They kept sustained pressure in the offensive zone, but Toronto got their chances, too.

Then, Matt Duchene, off of a rebound that originated on a Ryan O’Reilly shot, whipped around the back of the net and continued wrapping around. He was too quick for Toronto goalie Jonathan Bernier, and the Avs went up 3-2. Duchene was so excited he celebrated twice, digging for gold and flinging himself against the glass.

Remember all those times last season that the Avs pulled the goalie and spoiled a team’s night? Yeah, chickens come home to roost, and Toronto forward Richard Panik scored when Toronto coach Randy Carlyle pulled Bernier for the extra attacker. There was just 1:16 left in the game, but Toronto had pulled even — the game was tied.

Overtime and Shootout

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  • At the very end of the period, Colorado winger Jarome Iginla and Toronto defenseman Stephane Robidas got involved in some pushing and shoving, so the overtime started with both men sitting in the box, and both teams skating 3 on 3.

    Play was wide open — both teams like to skate and shoot the puck. The Avs gained possession first, and they spent over a minute in Toronto’s zone. Unfortunately, they couldn’t convert.

    The Maple Leafs got called for too many men on the ice at 3:43 of overtime, so the Avs went on a 4-on-3 power play. Unfortunately, one of the linesmen got whistle happy. Colorado forward Nate MacKinnon got pushed into the crease. The linesman called him for goal tender interference though MacK, with his great speed and agility, squirted back out of the crease. Back to 3-on-3 hockey.

    This time the Leafs gained possession. They put pressure on the Avs, but Berra made some big saves — he really had a stellar night. Despite a late rush by the Maple Leafs, overtime ended with the score still tied.

    In the past, a skills competition such as the shootout represents would have favored the Avs, Phil Kessel or no. However, the Avs have struggled of late.

    Well, they got over that tonight. MacKinnon was up first, and he scored. Unfortunately, Bozak managed to squeeze one past Berra. Duchene was up next. He’d been flying all night, but he took his time on this shootout attempt — he hadn’t scored one yet all season. Well, that’s over — he sank the puck deep into the net. Toronto has some skilled shooters, and winger James van Riemsdyk was up next. He came at Berra with speed, and… denied.

    At last, it was up to Alex Tanguay — who scored the Cup-winning goal in the 2001 Stanley Cup Finals. Granted tonight’s game wasn’t exactly the Stanley Cup Finals, but when Tanguay got that puck past Bernier for the Avs’ first win in overtime or the shootout this seasin… well, it felt very satisfying.

    Three Stars of the Game:

    3. Avalanche Ryan O’Reilly (200th career point with assist on Duchene’s goal)

    2. Alex Tanguay (1 goal, 1 assist, shootout goal)

    1. Matt Duchene (1 goal, game-winning shootout goal)