Game 52. Avs-Oilers. Same Ol’ Story for the Avs, Lose Again.

Posted: January 31, 2012 in Avs vs. Edmonton Oilers, Game Thoughts

If I was strapped for time tonight, I would seriously consider writing “See games 45-51, but put in Oilers names instead” and call it quits. This team simply cannot get the puck into the net.

I’m not even being sarcastic when I say I could use the same post and switch names around and be all set. Here is the game in a nutshell: Oilers score early, Avs take double-minor for high sticking, Oilers score again in the first. Avs get back into the game in the second, but an early goal in the third by the Oilers kills momentum. Avs score late to make it exciting, but end up losing the game. Every. Single. Game.

This time, the person scoring early was Jordan Eberle on a wraparound. It’s tough to ever justify a wrap around being a good goal, but Eberle made a nice fake to get Varlamov to go the other way. Tough to not blame Varlamov for the goal, but at the same time, it’s tough to blame him at all because Eberle made a nice play.

With 4+ minutes left in the period, TJ Galiardi took a double minor for high sticking. Just as I was thinking the Avs always let the other team score just as the first penalty in the double minor is expiring, the Oilers scored. It was just a good shot by Eric Belanger, and on the powerplay, it’s tough to blame Varlamov.

Peter Mueller got the Avs some momentum back, early in the second when knocked one in after some hard work in front of the net. It was actually hard to get excited about the goal because the Avs have been down that road one too many times.

They actually worked very hard the rest of the period, and dominated play. They clearly were the better team, but despite constantly having the puck they had very few good scoring chances and left the ice down 2-1.

My hopes were pretty much crushed when Taylor Hall buried a shot six minutes into the third. As far as I can tell, the rebound went off of Varlamov’s pads and right to Hall. It looked like a soft rebound, but I think it went off his pads, which is almost impossible to be able to control rebounds.

With 10 minutes left in the game, Landeskog got a rebound in the slot and showed great patience to keep the puck away from Oilers defenders, and slid a backhand into the goal. My theory stayed true that the Avs need 10 minutes when they decide to really go after a goal. They came into the third needing a goal, being down by one, and scored 10:14 seconds into the period. They were going to have to cut in close if they wanted to tie it up.

The Avs were robbed with 1:30 left in the game. O’Reilly had an open net from the side of the goal off of a rebound, put the shot on net, but Dubnyk made a sprawling save. Even with the goalie pulled, that was their only decent chance in the last 2 periods.

There are a couple of things I want to bring up now: First is Kevin Porter should be in the lineup! I’d take him over McLeod or Van Der Gulik any day of the week. The Avs are 16-10-1 with Porter in the lineup, and 10-14-1 without him in the lineup. The guy obviously makes a different, but I seem to be the only one who realizes this.

The other thing I want to bring up is how Varlamov will surely not start the next 2 or 3 games at least for the Avs. 20-23 is not great, but he played much better than the stats. I counted at least 2 saves he made that Giguere would have had no chance at, simply because he is more athletic. Obviously Semyon didn’t have his best game tonight, but he deserves another shot.

The Avs got lucky tonight because every other team in the race for the last spot lost tonight. Minnesota blew a 3 goal lead with 10 minutes left..but that means they missed a golden opportunity to get 2 points on everyone, and missed it, against a bad Oilers team. The Avs have only 2 division wins this season. That needs to change immediately because their next 3 games are against conference opponents. 2 of them against division team. They need to win those 2 games IN REGULATION.

The Avs next game is Thursday against the Wild at Pepsi Center. The game starts at 7 p.m. Mountain time.

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