Game 55. Avs-Blackhawks. Jones, Stastny, lead Avs to Big Victory

Posted: February 7, 2012 in Avs vs. Chicago Blackhawks, Game Thoughts

Around the NHL tonight, everything went well for the Avs. Minnesota lost to Columbus, Phoenix beat Dallas, but most importantly, the Avs beat the Blackhawks thanks to two huge goals from David Jones.

The game started out like most games have recently. The Avs controlled play early but could not get the puck into the net. They took an early penalty, which seems to happen most games, but they killed it off. They played well, and I was feeling about as confident as I could for a team which has lost 5 in a row. They had three, 2-1 breakaway chances in the first period, but did not capitalize on any. Their best chance came in the last minute of the period when Chuck Kobasew fanned on a one timer set up from Stastny with a near empty net.

The second period started with a bang. Brent Seabrook scored 31 seconds into the period on a one timer from a bad angle. I thought Giguere should have stopped the puck, because it was not a quick developing play, and from a bad angle there was even less to shoot at. The goal did come with a positive though, as Seabrook scored some key fantasy points for me, against a tough matchup this week. Silver lining, right?

The Avs marched back 3 minutes later after a turnover by the Blackhawks lead to the Avs fourth 2 on 1 on the game. Ryan O’Reilly made a great shot fake, and passed the puck to Mueller who easily shot it into the net. The underrated play was the shot fake by O’Reilly. It was so convincing, it froze both Emery and Duncan Keith on the play, which led to the easy pass to Mueller.

The Avs were just getting started though, and 36 seconds later, a Duncan Keith turnover at the Blackhawks blue line led to David Jones crashing the net, getting a nice pass from Hejduk, and beating Emery blocker side. The Avs never should have even had the puck because it was a terrible play by Duncan Keith, who had a horrific game, but I’ll take goals any way the Avs can get them. I thought this was going to be a turning point in the game. The two goals in 36 seconds were the fastest two goals the Avs have scored all year, and all momentum was with the Avs.

But Patrick Kane came back just over two minutes later and scored on a backhand that beat Giguere short, glove side. It really was a weak goal that really could have changed the momentum, but the Avs fought hard the rest of the period to keep it tied.

Both of the goals Giguere let in tonight were pretty weak goals, but overall he stopped 29-31 and had a good game. He didn’t make any game changing saves, or robbed anyone, but he got the Avs the win and that’s all that matters.

The Avs came out in the third, and scored an early goal for the second straight period. This time it was Landeskog. Paul Stastny made a nice pass along the boards and put the puck between Keith’s stick and skates to get it to Landeskog, who picked his corner and fired it past Emery high glove. This kid has really picked up his game the last couple of weeks, and has probably been the Avs best player over the past 6 games. He does not score a ton of goals, but he scores the big ones.

The game was pretty low key over the next ten minutes. The Avs sat back on their lead a little, and did a nice job killing off two penalties to keep their lead. At the 11:42 mark of the period, Stastny made a nice pass off the boards up to David Jones who flew in down the wing and on a semi-breakaway wristed one past Emery’s glove for a comforable 4-2 lead. The pass by Stastny was equally as pretty as the shot by Jones.

The Avs played solid defense over the next 9 minutes, and didn’t allow many quality chances for the Blackhawks to get back into the game. The Hawks pulled Emery with over 2 minutes left in the game to try and have a late spark and get back into the game. This lead to Kyle Quincey accidentally scoring a goal. From behind the red line, he banked the puck off the boards looking to skate past the defenseman on the other side and catch up to the puck. He did not catch up, but the puck was angled perfectly off the boards and wound up in the net.

So yes, the day after I say the Avs should trade David Jones, Paul Stastny, and Kyle Quincey, Jones gets 3 points, Stastny has 2, and Quincey has 1. Clearly I’m motivating them. However I stand by my thoughts, the Avs should still trade them before the deadline.

The Avs are currently only 1 point out of the last playoff spot. They have played more games than their competing teams, but at least they have a chance.

The road for the Avs does not get any easier. They play Carolina on Friday, and then travel to St. Louis to play the Blues on Saturday. Playing the Blues at the Scottstrade Center is hard enough, but on the second game of a back to back, it is going to be VERY tough to win. The last time they played St. Louis, it was the same situation, and the Avs played one of their worst games of the year. That makes Friday’s game against the Hurricanes that much more important. They can’t lose that game, because in all likelihood they will not win in St. Louis. Losing 7 of 8 this time of year is unacceptable.

I ran across a stat the other day that I thought was very revealing of Joe Sacco’s time with the Avs. He has more coaching wins with the Avs in October, than he does in February, March, and April combined. A stat like that makes me very nervous about what is coming up for the Avs over the next 8 weeks.

The Avs next game is Friday against the Carolina Hurricanes at Pepsi Center. The game starts at 7 p.m. Mountain time.

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