Game 26. Avs-Blues. O’Reilly Does it All, Avs Win in Shootout

Posted: December 2, 2011 in Avs vs. St. Louis Blues, Game Thoughts

What a game by Ryan O’Reilly! I have not seen an Avs player been this clutch since Sakic. And while I’m not saying the O’Reilly is going to be Sakic, the guy can sure handle the clutch moments.

This is honestly the first game in a while where I can say the Avs didn’t just made the other goalie look good, but Halak actually had a good game. But as good as he was Varlamov was just as good, plus one, because nothing got by him in the shootout.

I have to give props to Halak, because he made a lot of great saves tonight. The two that stood out for me were his save at the very end of regulation off of a very weird bounce and easily could have been a goal. And of course, the other was at the end of overtime. I was jumping around in my room, only to watch the replay and see that he swiped it out in time. 33-35, and it was the first time in a while that I thought the Avs actually had some good scoring chances.

The Avs looked good tonight. Once again the team seems to have two lines that are clicking, so let’s hope the team can keep this momentum up. Both goals tonight were good goals. Hejduk had a huge goal to answer after being down by one early in the first, and while people will give him all the credit after looking at the box score, it was really all O’Reilly and Wilson. Wilson made a great play to stop the puck out of mid air and save a clearing attempt, and then O’Reilly made a great play in the zone, and fed a perfect pass to Hejduk. But the shot was perfect as well.

With Ryan O’Reilly’s goal, you have to give O’Byrne a lot of credit. I originally thought he was going to hold onto the puck for too long, but he threaded the needle right to O’Reilly stick which set up his goal only a few seconds later. That goal was huge! The thoughts were just starting to creep back into my mind about the Avs never coming back in the third. You can watch the team efforts HERE

Maybe my favorite part about the game though, was that both Shattenkirk and Stewart had points, the Avs didn’t have Erik Johnson tonight, and they still won the game. Honestly, right now it is looking like a great trade for the Avs. Sure EJ has had a rough start to the season, but you know he’ll get better. Shattenkirk has been good for the Blues, but the Avs are rich with puck moving defensive prospects, and was easily replaceable. Stewart has been awful this year, and McClement has been very solid. He is a great penalty killer, and fits a role perfectly. Not to mention down the line having Duncan Siemens will be huge. Overall, I like our chances of winning this one.

Neither of the goals were Varlamov’s fault either, which I love to see. He has been great since his break, and he very well could be turning into Peter Budaj in the shootous. I think he’s 10/11 this year. Love it. And as much credit as I am giving to O’Reilly for the win, at least as much has to go to Varly. If the Avs can keep that first rounder outside the top 10, I think it will have been worth it.

Did Stastny and Jones even play in this game? I watched the whole thing, but they were nearly invisible out there. I don’t understand why people don’t think we should trade him! Both have 14 points in 26 games, and for Jones it’s not too bad, Stastny simply is not getting the job done. At this pace, he would wind up with less than 45 points. That is not ok for someone who is getting 6.6 Million a year.

And even though Bobby Ryan is probably off the block with their new coach in place, I’m going to propose another potential trade involving him, since everyone else is doing it. Why not try a Stastny-Jones for Ryan-Jason Blake? The Ducks get much needed secondary scoring. Especially once Selanne and Saku Koivu retire. The Avs get an electric scorer on the wing with Duchene, and Jason Blake can contribute, but is more to even out the cap hit. Don’t forget the Bobby Ryan was picked right after Sidney Crosby.

That really is a great win considering how hot the Blues have been with Hitchcock behind the bench. But coming to town on Sunday is a red hot Wings team (see what I did there) and I can’t say I like their chances. They did only score two goals tonight, and while Halak was great, Jimmy Howard might be the best goalie in the league right now, with a 1.83 GAA, and a .931 save percentage. He has 15 of 16 wins for Detroit. But wait, maybe we’ll get lucky and see their Ty Conklin. Oh wait, that one other win was against the Avs- on opening night. Yes, it was a shutout. Hopefully I’m wrong, but I just can’t see the Avs beating the Wings right now.

But I will say, everyone wants to play this game as a rivalry. It’s not. I wouldn’t even put Detroit in the top three for Avs rivalries. Sure, at one point it was. But right now, I have to say first is the Blues: Similar teams, big trades between. Then the Oilers: Similar teams, both should be very good in the future. And the Canucks: Just face it, no Avs fan likes the Canucks. It honestly goes back to the Burtuzzi incident.

The Avs next game is Sunday against the Red Wings at Pepsi Center. The game starts at 6 p.m. Mountain Time.

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