Avs Roundup. Games 22, 23, 24, & 25. Avs Steal From Kings, Continue Success

Posted: December 3, 2013 in Avs vs. Los Angeles Kings, Avs vs. Minnesota Wild, Avs vs. St. Louis Blues

Once again Colorado couldn’t solve St. Louis, but have managed to win five of their last six, completing the “bounce back” from their three game losing streak.
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It started with an amazing game in Los Angeles. Possibly the Avs best performance all season. Unfortunately for Colorado, they ran into a white hot goaltender, Ben Scrivens. Colorado was peppering Scrivens all night with shots, but time after time, he answered the call, and made the save. 200 feet away, Avs goaltender Semyon Varlamov was as sharp as cheddar, matching Scrivens save for save. Varlamov only had to make 19 saves on the night, to Scrivens 33, but he withstood the pressure of knowing that one error was going to cost his team the game.

Colorado finally overthrew the Kings in overtime. It was Jamie McGinn who delivered the dagger, after his shot was stopped by Scrivens, bounced off his sliding teammate Jarett Stoll, and into the net. The Avs and Kings are seemingly always playing with playoff intensity, and this game was no different.

Unfortunately for Colorado, they couldn’t use that momentum to avenge an ugly 7-3 loss earlier in the season to St. Louis. The Blues came into the Pepsi Center, and got off to a perfect start. First, it was David Backes tipping a pass in, and a few minutes later, Backes found Alex Ovechkin Steen right in front on the powerplay to give St. Louis a quick 2-0 lead. The Avs bounced back when Patrick Bordeleau of all people scored on a rebound. The puck was bouncing around in goaltender Jaroslav Halak’s skates, and actually was lying still on the ice when Bordeleau got his stick there first, and whacked it in.

The turning point of the game was late in the first period. Colorado was on a powerplay with a chance to tie things up, but a questionable defensive play from Andre Benoit led to a Jaden Schwartz shorthanded goal. Benoit had a chance to get to a 50/50 puck to keep it in at the blue line, but decided to retreat, allowing Schwartz to easily pick up the puck and skate ahead. Schwartz then wristed a bullet over Varlamov’s glove, into the top corner.
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From there Colorado could never get anything going, and Chris Stewart added an empty netter to give St. Louis a 4-1 victory. You can’t sit back and win a defensive game against St. Louis. The Avs need to use their speed if they’re going to overcome the Blues. Think back to the movie “Miracle”. How does Kurt Russell tell the team how to beat the Soviets? “You don’t defend them, you attack them.” That’s what teams need to do, to beat the Blues.

Next, the Avs partook in a home and home series with the dangerous Minnesota Wild. Colorado used these games to show off their goaltending. On Friday, it was JS Giguere, who absolutely stole the show, stopping 27 of 28 en route to a 3-1 victory. Giguere was at his best when the team needed him the most, stopping all 16 shots in the third period. He was without a doubt the Avs best player on Friday, with the second best Gabe Landeskog, who had a hand in all three Avs goals.

Saturday, the teams flew to Denver, and it was Semyon Varlamov’s turn to play brick wall. Varlamov was perfect for the first 56 minutes and 27 seconds. It was the last 3:33 that killed Colorado. The Wild were able to erase a two goal deficit, including a Mikko Koivu goal with just 6 seconds left in regulation to send the game to overtime. The four on four opened the ice for a number of nice chances, but the game would be decided in a shootout. In a tiebreaker, Varlamov once again came up huge, stopping notorious shootout kings Zach Parise and Mikko Koivu, along with the ever dangerous Jason Pominville. For the Avs, $Ryan O’Reilly, their third shooter, broke the tie by somehow finding room to slip the puck five hole. With luck like that, he should go spend his overpriced contract on lottery tickets.

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