Archive for the ‘Avs vs. Anaheim Ducks’ Category

Colorado won their season opener in impressive fashion Tuesday night, blowing out the Ducks by a final of 6-1.
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Avs fans could not have asked for a better start to the season. A team that typically gives them trouble, comes to the Pepsi Center, and absolutely gets hammered. The Avs came out and looked sloppy early. Passes were not crisp, they didn’t seem to be on the same page, but all that started to turn when Ryan O’Character intercepted a Francois Beauchemin pass, and wristed one past Ducks goalie Viktor Fasth.

However, being overshadowed by the offensive explosion, was goalie Semyon Varlamov, who absolutely stole the show. The only reason people are praising the Avs today, is because Varlamov made it look like it wasn’t even close. He stopped seven or eight point blank chances in the game, that kept the Avs alive. Colorado easily would have been down by a goal or two when O’Reilly scored the first of the game, if not for Varlamov. Bottom line, Colorado still has a lot of work to be done on defense.

Individually for Colorado’s blue liners, I didn’t think Tyson Barrie had a very good game, despite his nice play leading to Colorado’s third goal of the game. Erik Johnson was solid, but nothing amazing, but rather it was Andre Benoit who stood out. He was the best Avalanche defenseman, making smart plays defensively, and providing some offensive spark. Think Matt Hunwick, but if Matt Hunwick was a lot better.

Offensively, the Avs were great. Everyone that was supposed to contribute did, and in big ways. First up is Nathan MacKinnon, how about the rookie putting up two points in his first game? He’s the youngest player to do that since 1944. He had great vision out there, and his hockey IQ appears to be high.

Jamie McGinn stepped up, notching both goals from MacKinnon. If Colorado can continue to get that kind of third line scoring, big things could happen. New/old guy Alex Tanguay chipped in 3 assists. There were a couple of times out there where he passed on an opportunity to take a shot, to try an make an unlikely pass, but that’s Alex Tanguay for you.

And of course you have the first line. All three skaters notched a goal, and dominated the game offensively. The three best offensive players on the ice were Duchene, O’Reilly, and Downie. That’s six players I have named that had good offensive games, without including Gabe Landeskog, Paul Stastny, PA Parenteau, Tyson Barrie, Erik Johnson, or Andre Benoit. That’s offensive depth.

The Avs need to repair some of the defensive holes from the first game, but after game one, optimism is high in Colorado.


You knew it was coming, but Colorado responded to JS Giguere’s criticism with a convincing 4-1 win over Anaheim.IMG_2700
It took just 64 seconds for the Avs to open the scoring on Wednesday. John Mitchell roofed his 10th of the year off a rebound Jonas Hiller let up. Hiller tried to reach out with his glove, but Mitchell threw it over the glove and into the back of the net.

The Avs controlled the most of the game, but it was the second period that really stood out. Gabe Landeskog netted his third shorthanded goal of the season after making an aggressive move to the front of the net from the far half boards. There has not been nearly enough aggressiveness like that from the whole team this year. Landeskog is second in the NHL is shorthanded goals, behind only Ilya Kovalchuk with 4.

Matt Duchene added the third with a powerplay goal, on a beautiful one timer. He got the perfect feed from Tyson Barrie at the near faceoff circle, and blasted a slapper through Hiller’s legs as he was coming across. Duchene said they specifically worked on that play/shot for a half hour in practice, so it was nice to see that pay off.

The Ducks started to take control of the game, and Temmu Selanne made it 3-1 on a two on one and deflected the Kyle Palmieri pass past Giguere’s glove and into the net. Anaheim was threatening again on the powerplay in the last quarter of the second period, but the Avs killed it off, and shortly after David Van Der Gulik had an amazing forecheck, got the puck to Jamie McGinn, who was able to finish for his 8th of the year.

The third was mostly controlled by the Avs. They did a good job not sitting back on their heels and also didn’t give the Ducks a whole lot of opportunities to get back in the game.

Refreshing game to watch, and it was the Avs first road win in 14 games, so I’m sure that takes a monkey off their back. Having said that, they can now regain losing mentality to ensure that #1 pick.

Colorado will make the short trip to LA, for a game against the Kings on Thursday. The game starts at 8:30 p.m.

Colorado couldn’t have asked for a better start, as they quickly went up 2-0, but ultimately the Avs fell in overtime by a score of 4-3.

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After a lackluster effort on Saturday, the Avs came out and hit the Ducks right in the beak with 2 first period goals. First up was Cody McLeod, who tipped in a Matt Hunwick slapshot just 2:28 into the game. The goal itself was funny, because the shot broke McLeod’s stick, and when it went in, he just threw it up in the air. Good stuff from Cody McLeod.

And then, on the powerplay PA Parenteau found a Tyson Barrie rebound and beat Jonas Hiller glove side to give the Avs a 2 goal lead. Things were look great, and while the powerplay is getting better, they still can’t score the important ones. They were 1/5 on the man advantage, compared to the Ducks 3/5. The Avs had a chance to put the game away with a powerplay for the last 2 minutes of the first, but couldn’t get the job done.

The Ducks…wait for it…came out flying in the second, and had the game tied by the 10 minute mark. First it was Corey Perry, who scored after Greg Zanon had his stick slashed out of his hand by Ryan Getzlaf, who proceeded to send the puck right in front for Perry, who tapped it home. It was a penalty, but for some reason it didn’t get called. Next was Temmu Selanne scoring on the powerplay, his 250th career powerplay goal that came from the side of the net on a one-timer from Saku Koivu. Neither of these goals were Giguere’s fault.

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But John Mitchell quickly gave the Avs the lead, just 40 seconds later, when he just put a shot on net from the high slot, and Hiller just missed it. It was a very weak goal, but it was a huge goal for the Avs. I thought that goal would get the Avs going again, but it just wasn’t enough.

Anaheim scored the lone goal of the third period, again on the powerplay. This time, the Francois Beauchemin slapshot trickled through Giguere but not over the goal line. The puck sat behind Giguere for a couple of seconds and the only person who knew where it was, was Getzlaf, who skated in from the half boards to tap it into the net.

At least the Avs got a point, but it was a disappointing finish for Colorado. Ryan O’Byrne took a penalty with 1:01 left in OT, that gave the Ducks a 4-3 powerplay. The penalty stopped Cam Fowler from having a point blank chance, but the Avs were unable to kill it off, and Perry tipped the game winner through Giguere’s legs just 15 seconds into the powerplay.

Considering the Ducks success this year, and the Avs playing two games in a row, I should be happy with 1 point, but I’m not. The Avs have given away too many leads in the past couple of weeks, and did again tonight, so I fall asleep with a bit of a sour taste in my mouth. Also, here are my calls of the Avs goals.

The Avs will finish their 3 game road trip in San Jose on Tuesday. The game starts at 8 p.m. Mountain time.

It was two first period goals for the Ducks, and a very lackluster powerplay for the Avs that set the tone for the game, as the Avs lost by a final score of 3-0.

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The Avs continued to struggle in the first period this season, as they allowed 2 goals in the first, which means they have now been outscored 12-5 in first periods this season. Sheldon Souray started the scoring for the Ducks, with a blast from the blue line that beat Semyon Varlamov through the five hole. I’m sure Varlamov would want that one back, but there was traffic in front so it’s hard to completely blame him.

The turning point of the game was in the first period about halfway through when Ryan Getzlaf took an interference call, and gave the Avs a chance to knot things up on the powerplay. However, the Avs powerplay was terrible, didn’t generate any quality chances, and that really seemed to deflate the team. Their powerplay is a joke though.

Another game, another 1+ the Avs are on a 5-3 penalty kill. This time it was a lazy play from Greg Zanon that led to the 5-3, and Mike Sgarbossa was already in there for a bad hook. The Avs were unable to keep the puck out of the net this time though, as Saku Koivu caught a lucky break as the puck somehow found it’s way through Varlamov and Koivu was able to tap it home. What else is there to say? The game was essentially over after that, as the Avs played some very uninspired hockey.

Francois Beauchemin added the final tally in the second period, on a 3-2 slapper from the high slot. It was bad defense from the 2 Avs, (I think Sgarbossa and Zanon) and Beauchemin was able to one time it past Varlamov.

I’ll try and find some positives now:

Erik Johnson had a great game…considering. Very, very solid defensively, including hustling back to stop a breakaway.

Varlamov had an amazing save in the third period. Look for it at #1 on’s saves of the week.

Duchene was great in the faceoff circle.

…That’s about all I got. It’s going to be a long 4 days before the next game.

The Avs next game is Monday against the Phoenix Coyotes at Pepsi Center. The game starts at 7 p.m. Mountain time.

After not knowing if he was going to play in the morning, Gabriel Landeskog slapped home the winner to give the Avs two points.

I will keep it brief again tonight because I didn’t see the game, but the picture tonight goes to Kevin Porter who scored a goal on his birthday.

Lately the Avs have been getting off to strong starts and tonight was no different. Jamie McGinn wristed a shot past Jonas Hiller from the right faceoff dot to give the Avs the lead. It didn’t look like the best goal, and probably could have been stopped because Hiller was able to see the puck the whole time, but McGinn certainly picked his corner.

From looking at the box score, it appears that Varlamov was busy over the first 2 periods, facing 27 shots, and stopping the first 26. Francois Beauchemin was able to lift a puck past Varlamov with only 2 seconds left in the 2nd period. It had to be a huge punch to the gut for the Avs to go into the intermission tied after working so hard to maintain the lead.

But it looks like the Avs hung in there for the first half of the period, and then Porter put the Avs ahead with just under 7 minutes left. It was a perfect tip to the far post, and I can’t imagine Hiller had much of a chance.

I actually saw Anaheim’s late goal live, and it is safe to say that Varlamov had no chance. It was on the powerplay and the puck took an unexpected bounce to Selanne before Varlamov could react. The Avs seemed to really be hanging on by a thread towards the end of regulation, but loosened up once they got that first point.

In OT, it was Matt Hunwick who made a nice play to get the puck to Landeskog who was able to walk right into the slot, and slapped the puck over Hiller’s blocker and into the net. Another big win. And with only 22 possible points remaining for the Avs, each point is huge.

The Avs end the night in eighth place again, and while it still will be tough for them to make the playoffs, every night they finish it in playoffs means it is closer and closer to actually happening. The Avs will head east for a make or break 3 game road trip against the Sabres, Devils and Rangers. I would be happy with 4 points.

The Avs next game is Wednesday against the Sabres in Buffalo. The game stars at 5:30 p.m. Mountain time.

Tonight was a tale of 3 periods. Some games blend together into the same team all 3 periods, but tonight was not was not one of them.

Welcome to Colorado, Steve Downie. 7 points his last 3 games? I don’t hear all of the Greg Sherman haters now. It has been truly amazing what he has done with O’Reilly and Landeskog. For the first time all year, I feel like the Avs have a legitimate first line.

Tonight, the Avs came out and played a great first period. You could really tell that they wanted to bury the Ducks early after Anaheim played last night. The only reason they did not is because Jonas Hiller kept them in the game.

But the Avs still managed to score the first goal of the game when Cody McLeod of all people lifted a backhand over Hiller’s pad. Steve Downie’s crossing pass hit a skate and bounced straight to McLeod who still made a nice shot to get it past Hiller before he could react.

The first goal was exactly what they needed, and they almost got a few more before the period was over. Hiller stopped an abbreviated two on zero after McClement couldn’t get the pass across, and he also made some nice saves off of deflections to keep the game at one.

The second period was all Anaheim. It felt like a Ducks’ practice in that I often wondered if there were just 10 Duck players on the ice. They bombarded Varlamov with shots, but he was getting them all. Varlamov is playing great. He has removed any doubts that fans were having about Giguere being the started. I said in early January that in order for the Avs to make the playoffs Varlamov would have to be the teams starter, and that certainly seems to be the case now.

But late in the period Erik Johnson took a penalty 33 seconds into an Avs powerplay. Johnson brought down Andrew Cogliano after he dumped the puck into the Avs zone. I didn’t think it was a penalty. I thought Cogliano was not past EJ yet when he pushed him down, but apparently the refs did. That lead to an abbreviated powerplay for the Ducks after the 4-4. Quickly after the powerplay started, Bobby Ryan brought the puck into the Avs zone on the wing, changed the angle of the puck at the last second, and fired the puck through Varlamov’s legs. It was not a great goal, but Varlamov was due for a goal. He was peppered with 16 shots in the second period and stood on his head for most of the period. It was only a matter of time before one got by him.

I thought the late goal might keep their legs going for the third period, but once again the Avs came out firing. Only 37 seconds in, O’Reilly found a rebound off of a Landeskog shot, and found a way to put the puck in the net. EXACTLY what the Avs needed. It took away all of the Ducks momentum and gave them a safety cushion for the next goal.

They wouldn’t need the cushion though, because just over 2 minutes later, Matt Duchene scored on a 2-1 to give the Avs a 2 goal lead. Paul Stastny made a great saucer pass on the break over the diving Cam Fowler to Matt Duchene who one timed the puck past Hiller’s sprawling pad.

That is exactly what Duchene needed to get him going. Hopefully this will lead to him getting his game back, because his first four games coming back from the knee injury were VERY forgettable.

That goal really deflated the Ducks hopes, and didn’t really challenge for another goal. The Avs kept going though, and with 5 minutes left in the game Jay McClement took a shot from the wing that went through Luca Sbisa’s legs and beat Hiller far side. It was a great shot my McClement, but the bottom line is it was a wirst shot from the furthest part of the faceoff circle, and probably should have been stopped. I love seeing McClement score though because he is so great defensively too.

Here are some other things I noticed:

-Mueller was on a line with David Jones and Olver. Meanwhile Hejduk skated on a line with Stastny and Duchene. The Avs should get Mueller on a line with Duchene. They complement each other well and Mueller would be much more effective than Hejduk. He really deserves more than 12 minutes a game. The only thing I can think of, is maybe after the trade they needed him to play but he is not 100% yet.

-Landeskog continues to dominate games. I’m running out of words to describe how good he is.

-Varlamov seems to have total confidence in his game, at it is showing. I would not be surprised if he was one of the NHL’s three stars of the week.

The Avs beat a very good team tonight, and kept the Ducks from gaining 2 big points for them. The Ducks have the NHL’s best record in 2012 and tonight’s win gives the Avs some room between the two teams. But every game from here on out will be very important.

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

Well, what an ugly game that was for the Avs. At least the first 55 minutes of it was. It was a mistake starting Giguere tonight, but the Avs have been terrible in the second game of back to backs this year, and tonight was no different.

The Avs can never seem to start well. This was the a lot worse than the Kings game yesterday because hopes were so high after the Ducks took an early penalty. Bobby Ryan, however, didn’t seem to care that they were on the PK, and took a puck that bounced over Ryan O’Reilly’s stick for a breakaway shorthanded goal. Another unacceptable start for the Avs.

What is truly amazing about the first period was that the Avs dominated the rest of the game. They out shot the Ducks 15-2 and not only had control of the puck for most of the period, but they were keeping the puck in the Ducks zone. All of this resulted in few good scoring chances though, and they went into intermission down 1-0.

The second period was a much more even period, but Jonas Hiller was excellent in net, and on top of that, the Avs didn’t have many great chances. It’s amazing how the Avs can be out-shooting a team 28-10 after two periods, and not only be down, but have had less quality chances. For as much time as the Avs spent on offense, they sure didn’t generate much scoring. But that is par for the course for the Avs this year.

Another thing that seems to happen a lot is the other team scoring an early goal in the third period. I can’t be the only one who feels like this happens every other game. It happened against the Panthers, but once again, tonight’s was worse. I know that no one ever intentionally shoots the puck over the glass, but Shane O’Brien, there is no excuse to ever do that. Especially with such little time in the period, and such a close game. Giving the Ducks a powerplay heading into the third kept the Avs from attacking early and putting pressure on Hiller.

Ryan Getzlaf scored 20 seconds into the period, and I though, put the game away. The goal was not without controversy though, as the ref blew the whistle and the puck was no where to be seen. But Getzlaf knew it would count right away. I was not so sure. I thought the intent to blow the whistle rule was going to save the Avs, but apparently not.

The channel went to the 49ers-Giants game when Ryan scored on another breakaway, this time beating Giguere over the glove. It was a great pass from Ryan Getzlaf who was behind his own goal line, but the Avs cannot let that pass happen. That was incredibly sloppy.

O’Reilly added a goal after a drop pass in Anaheim’s zone bounced right in front of the net, to O’Reilly with Hiller not knowing where it was. A bit lucky, but too little too late I thought. But only a minute and a half later, on the powerplay Milan Hejduk slipped one past Hiller’s pad on the post to make it 3-2. Great hands by Hejduk to get that puck in the net. I don’t think anyone else on the team could have scored that goal.

Suddenly the Avs had a lot of momentum and the football game could wait. The Avs had their chances in the last 3 minutes, but could not bury the puck and the Ducks escaped with a victory. The loss tonight makes the game against the Wild on Tuesday huge! The Avs have 1 more point that Minnesota, but they have played 2 more games. A win in regulation would go a long way the rest of the season as they push for a playoff spot. A loss would give Minnesota the lead in the standings, and 2 games in hand. Also, it would make the all star break incredibly long and unhappy. Don’t let me down Avs!

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