Game 18. Avs-Sharks. Avs rally, but fall short in the shootout

Posted: February 27, 2013 in Uncategorized

The Avs fell 3-2 in a shootout on Tuesday, but collected one more point than they deserved, thanks to Semyon Varlamov and his 39 saves.

Photo from nhl.com

Photo from nhl.com


Colorado started the game behind the 8 ball, as Matt Duchene missed the game with a groin injury. Despite his lackluster last couple of games, his presence on the ice was missed. This was the first game where it was obvious that the injuries were really hurting the team. I don’t mean to say that all of their injuries hadn’t affected the team yet, but tonight I thought the Avs played well, it was just that playing well wasn’t going to be enough.

The game got off to a dreadful start, as San Jose scored just 25 seconds into the game. Logan Couture was allowed to start right through the slot, receive a pass from Joe Thornton, and one-time it past Varlamov blocker side. Ryan O’Byrne was between Thornton and Couture on the play, but couldn’t get his stick on the puck. What was weird, is that when I heard Duchene was going to miss the game, I started to expect a goal in the first minute. I thought it was going to be a long night, but Varlamov rebounded nicely to keep the Avs in the game.

In fact, the whole team did a good job of sticking with it, and Chuck Kobasew was the beneficiary by tying the game at one at the 12:13 mark of the first. Antti Niemi was unable to hold onto a shot from the point by Jan Hejda and Kobasew found and buried the rebound.

Photo from nhl.com

Photo from nhl.com


The lesser known Newton’s Fourth Law came into effect in the second period. The law stats that any former Avalanche player no matter his skill, will find a way to score against the Avs. So naturally TJ “Healthy Scratch” Galiardi scored in the second to give the Sharks the lead. Even though the credit goes to Josh Sheppard for a beautiful cross crease pass right to Galiardi’s stick, it’s TJ who will receive all of the box score glory. After his goal, Varlamov was stellar kept the Avs in the game.

As the third period started, then passed the 10 minute mark, and then the 15 minute mark, and then the 16 minute mark, it was looking like Galiardi was going to pick up the game winner and the Avs were going to go home without a point, but lightning struck twice and the Avs tied it up with just over 3 minutes to play. Technically the credit for the goal went to Mark Olver, but I’m giving it to Chuck Kobasew. During a scramble in front, Olver chipped the puck over Niemi’s pad and was heading in, and if not already past the goal line, Kobasew whacked it out of mid air and into the back of the net.

The Avs followed that up by controlling play for most of the rest of regulation, at least until they took an penalty for high sticking with 62 seconds left. It felt eerily similar to the Ducks game, but Varlamov was sharp and got the game to overtime. In the extra session, the story was Semyon Varlamov. He robbed Joe Thornton of a sure goal, and single-handedly got the game to a shootout. Take a look at this save.

Missing Duchene hurt the Avs again in the shootout, and John Mitchell was unable to match Patrick Marleau in the fourth round, giving San Jose the victory. The Avs were lucky to leave the game with one point because literally from the drop of the puck to the last shootout attempt, San Jose was the better team.

Other notes:

I thought David Jones was solid. Nothing amazing, but he at least used his size more.

Shane O’Brien also had a quality game, and came up with some key defensive plays down the stretch.

Jan Hejda might be the most under appreciated player on the team. He was good devensively, and added 2 assists.

It was nice to see Varlamov have such a great game. The Avs needed nothing less from him, to have a chance in the game.

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

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