The Avs came out and played like a team that was going to the playoffs, not going to play the slots in Vegas, but it was Minnesota who fought for their playoff lives, and beat Colorado 3-1
Before I get to any game notes, it’s worth mentioning that it seems like Milan Hejduk has played his last game in the NHL. Hejduk picked up the puck after the final buzzer sounded, and the team may be ready to move on, but Hejduk has always been a class act and I’m hoping he comes back for one more year, because he can still help the team.
On to the game; if I didn’t know any better, I would have said it was a playoff game. Minnesota came out and fought for their lives (because they had to). Zach Parise netted the first of the game on a backhand in front, but Colorado wouldn’t go away. Late in the first, $Mr. Character himself tied things up on a beautiful shot over goalie Niklas Backstrom’s glove. Of course it wasn’t O’Reilly who did any of the dirty work, it was Gabe Landeskog who worked hard down low and made a nice pass in front to O’Reilly, but of course in the box score you can’t tell.
After that the game really tightened up. Both teams didn’t want to allow the next goal. The refs didn’t want to allow Colorado to win, and called off a Chuck Kobasew goal due to a “kicking motion”. Kobasew didn’t know where the puck even was, and the ref called goal on the ice, yet somehow when they reviewed the goal, the call on the ice was no goal.
That swing of momentum took a lot out of the Avs, and Devin Setoguchi was able to rip a slapper from the top of the far circle on the powerplay, right between Jan Hejda’s legs, and past Varlamov into the net. From then on (roughly half the game) it was all defensive, playoff hockey. Minnesota added an empty netter with just a few seconds left, and picked up the win, getting them into the playoffs.
Despite the terrible season, it’s going to be rough not having the Avs around for the next 5 months or so. Yes, it will be interesting to see what they do in free agency, and they DID WIN THE DRAFT LOTTERY TONIGHT!, but it’s just not the same. I know I can’t wait for October to come around.
That’s going to do it for the 2013 season blog. Time was valuable this semester and the blog had to be put on the back burner, so hopefully next season will be better, but thanks for reading and keeping checking over the summer for updates on the Avs roster moves.