Game 48. Avs-Panthers. Two Words: Peter Mueller

Posted: January 18, 2012 in Avs vs. Florida Panthers, Game Thoughts

I have to start the night talking about Mueller, because it finally happened, he scored a goal. His first goal since April 4, 2010. And what a goal it was! Huge goal during the game, and it seemed to open the floodgates for Peter.

I hesitate to write this post so quickly after the game, because you know there are going to be some great pictures and video of Mueller’s night, but maybe they’ll come in a later post or update of this post.

The first period started off fairly low key, and there was not that much excitement. The Avs didn’t come out as passionate or energetic as I thought they would, and I was fairly concerned with their play early. And with about 5 minutes left in the first period, “Florida” scored. But really, O’Byrne cleared it off of a skate and it bounced in.

I don’t know what O’Byrne was thinking here, because you never clear the puck across the crease. It was probably a bit of a panic move because there was a scrum in front of the net, but I didn’t like the play at all to clear it across the ice.

Going into the intermission I was worried that the Avs would not bounce back, and Florida might run away with the game, but Peter Mueller, 7 minutes in, got the puck in the high slot, skated in, looked up, and fired it 5 hole to tie the game. His arms shot up, his smile from ear to ear, and finally a payoff for all of his hard work. Truly a great moment. WATCH IT HERE

The Avs really started to control the play after the Mueller goal. What a boost of energy that must have provided. They certainly had their chances, but could not get anything past Theodore. And with just over a minute left in the period, Stephen Weiss scored on a breakaway. It was a weird goal, because he was tripped, it was probably going to be a penalty shot, he ran into Giguere and the puck went off of his hands and into the net. The puck was still would have gone in had it not hit his hands, and it was reviewed for a long time, but it was a goal.

Another momentum boost for the Panthers going into the intermission. It seems like this is happening every game for the Avs, and things became worse 20 seconds into third period, when the Panthers scored again. It was a tough goal to blame Giguere on, but if you watch the replay, I still think that he should have stopped in when he was diving back.

Giguere had a very solid night for the Avs. While the stats show a save percentage of less than .900, he had a couple of point blank saves that really kept the Avs in the game, and ultimately gave them a chance to win.

But then only 3 minutes later, on the powerplay, Mueller struck again. This time from the point. I’ve been meaning to write about how I thought since Mueller was healthy again, he should be back on the point during the powerplay again, but I don’t think I ever got to it. As a result I don’t look like a genius. Another huge goal from Mueller. Because the goal came with so much time left in the third, the Avs knew they still had a chance.

Rarely do the Avs score twice in the last 10 minutes of a game, so responding quickly was very important. In fact, I’m not sure the Avs have scored twice in the last 10 minutes all year. The only game I can think of where it might have happened was against the Islanders in November. If it was earlier, or I didn’t have school tomorrow I would probably have done a little more research.

I thought the game was over again, when the clock ticked below the 5 minute mark with the score still 3-2 Panthers. But Paul Stastny came up with a huge goal to send the game to OT. I’m really not sure what happened, but I know the puck went in the back of the net, and that’s all that matters.

The Avs had some good chances in the OT, but so did the Panthers. Giguere stopped former Avalanche Tomas Fleischmann on a 3 on 1 after Stefan Elliott made a terrible play. Can we send him down yet? That save won the game for the Avs because later in the OT, Ryan O’Reilly fired a shot 5 hole on Theodore, and trickled over the goal line for the win.

A huge win for the Avs. I can’t help but think that this game will be a big momentum boost for the Avs. If the Avs can get Duchene back in the next week or two and stay healthy, I really think Mueller brings an extra boost of confidence for the Avs that could get them to the playoffs. At least if he plays anything like he did tonight.


The road for the Avs does not get any easier, as they have to go to LA for their next game to play a Kings team that is 9-1-5 in their last 15 games. Good news for the Avs is they have beaten them (in a SO) during that stretch. The Kings currently sit 3 points ahead of the Avs in the Western Conference standings.

The Avs next game is against the LA Kings at Staples Center. The game begins at 8:30 p.m. Mountain time.

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