Colorado Avalanche Fall to the Winnipeg Jets


The Colorado Avalanche faced the Central Division rival Winnipeg Jets in MTS Centre. The Jets had been lazing about at home for a week, while the Avs had just gotten in from their game against the Calgary Flames at 3:00 am. Those two facts were painfully obvious throughout the game.

The Colorado Avalanche took a penalty early. They did an excellent job of killing that penalty, limiting the Jets to just one shot on goal. However, it seemed to take the step out of the Avs. Winnipeg pressed into the Avalanche zone and got four more shots, scoring on their fifth shot of the game. Winnipeg skater Chris Thorburn scored 4:31 minutes into the first period.

That didn’t get Colorado’s feet moving. Winnipeg got three more shots off before the Avs even recorded their first.

Halfway through the first period, Jets forward Blake Wheeler turned the puck right over to Colorado winger Jarome Iginla. Iginla moved up the ice on a breakaway, scoring on a targeted snap shot. It was just Colorado’s second shot on net, but it was a goal. It was also Iginla’s first road goal of the season.

At 7:31 of the first period, it looked like Avalanche goalie Semyon Varlamov made a highlight reel save. Unfortunately, after video review in Toronto, it turned out his glove had crossed the goal line. Colorado’s bad luck continued — the goal was good.

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The Avalanche continued to look like a team that had played the night before — which, of course, they were. Nonetheless, the Avs and Jets don’t like each other, and the two teams started scrumming. Winnipeg behemoth Dustin Byfuglien laid a big hit late on Iginla. Not only did Byfuglien not get a penalty, when Colorado captain Gabriel Landeskog came in to defend his teammate, only Landeskog got called for a penalty. Byfuglien got his stick high on Landeskog, and clearly roughed him up, but only Landeskog went.

The first period finished 2-1 and with the Jets on the power play. The Avalanche penalty kill did it again, though, and the score remained the same.

Just 3 1/2 minutes into the second period, energy forward Cody McLeod drew a matching penalty with Winnipeg captain Andrew Ladd. It looked to be a good opportunity for the Avs, and it was. Matt Duchene streaked up the ice with speed. Unfortunately, he lost an edge and went bowling for goalies. Duchene doesn’t have a reputation for dirty play like that, so none of the Winnipeg players punched him in the head. However, the refs did call him for goalie interference.

The Jets had a 4-on-3 for almost the full two minutes. They got their shot total up to 22, compared to Colorado’s six, but Varlamov was strong. The Avs impressively killed another penalty.

The Avalanche did a good job of shutting down the Jets after that. Play was back and forth for most of the second period, but Winnipeg didn’t really get any good scoring chances. Both MacKinnon and Duchene, on the other hand, had a couple decent scoring chances that they were unable to capitalize on, unfortunately.

A shot differential of 26 to nine is unsustainable, though, and Winnipeg captain Ladd finally scored with less than a minute to go in the second. The Avs were down 3-1.

The third period got ugly. Just 45 seconds into the third period, Winnipeg forward Bryan Little scored his second of the night on an unlucky bounce for Varlamov. 30 seconds later, Little got a hat trick, and the Avs were down 5-1. Head coach Patrick Roy pulled Varlamov, probably because he wasn’t getting any support from his team, and backup Reto Berra went in.

Colorado Avalanche forwards Cody McLeod and Max Talbot got busy against the Winnipeg Jets in the third period. Mandatory Credit: Bruce Fedyck-USA TODAY Sports

The Avs finally got a power play four minutes into the third when Jets skater Anthony Peluso tripped Lake Erie call up Michael Sgarbossa. The Avs got some shots on goal and put enough pressure on Winnipeg goalie Michael Hutchinson that Adam Pardy tripped Matt Duchene.

Colorado went on a 5-on-3 for a short time. Then a scrum developed in front of Hutchinson. Cody McLeod got punched in the head. Cody McLeod does not like to be punched in the head. No one likes to get punched in the head, but McLeod isn’t one to just stand by. He pretty much got in every Jet player’s face.

Meanwhile, Colorado forward Max Talbot squared off with Jim Slater. They got a few punches in, and Slater finally took Talbot down. McLeod also found a dance partner in Peluso.

Somehow in the ensuing scrum, five Jets players ended up in the penalty box, and the Avs had a 5-on-3. Coach Roy pulled Berra for the extra skater, giving the Avs a 6-on-3. It didn’t matter — when the Avs can’t score, they just can’t score. The Jets killed all the penalties.

The period wasn’t even half over, and more scrum broke out. Stupidly, it was the Jets who kept getting the extra penalties. That opened it wide for Iginla to get a power play goal, his second goal of the night.

Berra was playing pretty well — he knows he has a lot to prove. He stopped the first five shots he faced, and a couple of them were good scoring chances. Unfortunately, Winnipeg skater Dustin Byfuglien released a bomb of a shot from the point. The puck skipped all over the ice and managed to sneak past Berra. The Jets were up 6-2.

The score stayed there. The Avs finally got some shots, and it ended up 37 to 22, but it was too little too late.

The Colorado Avalanche have the weekend off. They don’t play again until Tuesday, December 9, in Pepsi Center. They also host the Jets in less than a week. Considering how wild the third period got, it should be an exciting game.

103. Final. 6. 107. 2