Archive for the ‘Avs vs. Columbus Blue Jackets’ Category

Colorado have struggled in the past couple of weeks, going 2-2-3 over the past 7 games, but thanks to Minnesota’s struggles of their own, the Avs remain in playoff position.
Cody Mc
Starting with the second half of a home and home with Dallas, the Stars were able to rebound to collect 2 points thanks to a late third period goal. Dallas is 6-2-2 in their past 10 games, and might be more of a threat to the Avs than Minnesota at this point. The Wild have lost Zach Parise to a foot injury, and Dallas is really started to gel. The Avs have 5 points on Dallas, but no games in hand.

Next was a rare win for the Avs against Devan Dubnyk. Colorado doubled up the Oilers 4-2, dominating special teams with a powerplay and shorthanded goal in the game. Max Talbot notched his 16th career shorty, giving the Avs a 3-2 late in the second period and Colorado never looked back. Matt Duchene added a late empty netter, securing the win.
Avs Goal
A string of four straight losses halted any momentum Colorado was building. First was a shootout loss to Los Angeles, followed by another shootout loss to San Jose. The Sharks game was bizarre. Erik Johnson fired a slapper to tie things up at the 18:09 mark in the third period. 12 seconds later, Jamie McGinn through a puck on net that happened to find its way though, giving Colorado a 4-3 lead, and absolutely stunning the Sharks. A couple of above average Joe’s did some stunning of their own. Joe Thornton made an amazing pass to Joe Pavelski in the slot, with just 20 seconds left in the game, and the big Pavelski took advantage and sent the game to overtime. Colorado lost their third staright shootout after Matt Duchene and Nathan MacKinnon couldn’t find the back of the net, while both Patrick Marleau and Logan Couture netted goals for the Sharks. I still am not sure if I should be happy or sad with getting 1 point out of that game.

The Avs followed that up with a couple of disappointing losses in a couple of different ways. First was a 7-2 blowout loss at the hand of the Blackhawks, including a Patrick Sharp birthday hattrick. The Avs followed that up with a 2-1 overtime loss to the Winnipeg Jets. Colorado allowed a goal with just 2 seconds left in overtime, which prevented getting Semyon Varlamov and Co. into a shootout.

Colorado got out of their funk with a huge 5-3 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets. The new line of Jamie McGinn – Matt Duchene – Ryan O’Reilly all netted a goal.

The Avs have lost PA Parenteau 4-6 weeks with a knee injury, hence the above line for the Blue Jackets game.

Paul Stastny, but somehow not Erik Johnson, was selected to the USA Olympic National team.


Rather than write about the game, I’m going to post the audio I recorded for the game and list the time frame for major events during the game.

First Period: Meh, boring period, no goals, no penalties, nothing too exciting at all.

Second Period: McLeod goal starts at 13:48. Vinny Prospal tied things up at 1, starting at the 16:22 mark.

Third Period: BJ’s make it 2-1 starting at the 4:05 mark. Cody McLeod scored his second of the night starting at 8:56. McGinn gives the Avs the lead starting at 27:48. RJ Umberger responds to send the game to OT, at the 29:05 mark. And if I were you, I’d just listen to the rest of the game from there, because it was such an entertaining overtime period.

The Avs couldn’t find a way to beat Columbus on Sunday, and another overtime penalty led to the game winner.
Oh yeah, Ryan O’Reilly played today. I hardly noticed, and already forgot. It was weird, because I was actually was rooting against him on the ice. I’m not sure I’ll like it when he finally gets on the board. But the bottom line is today the Avs were not good enough to beat the worst team in the league.

Colorado managed only one goal, which was complete luck. PA Parenteau gave the Avs a 1-0 lead in the second period when he lobbed a shot on net, that Columbus goalie Sergei Bobrovsky didn’t see, and it glanced off his shoulder and into the net. Semyon Varlamov was sharp again, allowing only a 5-3 goal, and a 4-3 goal. Unfortunately Varlamov still doesn’t have a road win.

I don’t have much to say about the game, because it literally put me to sleep. Honestly it was a mediocre game between mediocre teams. Not a lot of great chances, not a lot of excitement, just some solid defensive hockey.

But how many times have the Avs taken a penalty in overtime this year? I wouldn’t be surprised if that number is at 100%. And time and time again, it comes back to hurt them. It was a bad penalty for Parenteau to take, and that is becoming too much of a theme for the Avs in games this year.

The Avs will play Detroit in Michigan on Tuesday. The game starts at 5:30 p.m. Mountain time.

Semyon Varlamov stopped all 33 shots and Matt Duchene added 3 points to carry the Avs to an easy victory over the Blue Jackets on Thursday.

Duchene moments away from scoring his second goal of the game

Duchene moments away from scoring his second goal of the game

The Avs pounced quickly, less than a minute into the game, and on the first shift Duchene found PA Parenteau who wristed one past goalie Sergei Bobrovsky. Was wasn’t a great goal by any means, as Bobrovsky was slow moving from left to right, but it got the job done none the less. Duchene wasn’t done though, and found a juicy rebound later in the first, for the Avs second goal of the game.
The game was won in the second period however, when the Avs were able to kill off 3 Blue Jacket powerplays. That certainly took the air out of Columbus’ lungs. I think the Blue Jacket fan who was sitting next to me said it perfectly when he told his friend, “Their goalie is pretty good, he doesn’t let the puck past him.” Varlamov has been great the past two games, and had certainly picked up right where he left off in the KHL.

How about John Mitchell folks? He takes a puck to the face, returns to the game later in the period, and then scores a beautiful goal in the third…he’s making a lot of people forget about Jay McClement. He has looked very good in his first three games with the Avs, and while I can’t imagine this offensive pace keeps up, his defense has been strong too. And finally Duchene added another goal late in the third to give the fans one more thing to cheer about. Overall an excellent game from the whole team.

This would have been amazing if it wasn't as blurry.

This would have been amazing if it wasn’t as blurry.

Other notes:

I don’t have one player to complain about. I thought everyone on the ice had a solid game. My one complain in the Avs powerplay. They couldn’t really get any sort of momentum, and all and all, it looked pretty bad. The powerplay certainly needs to improve.

How about the start of the year for Milan Hejduk? I hope he can keep it up, because the Avs could really use his production, and he deserves to go out on a better season than he had last year.

I think I was the first one to jump on board the Matt Hunwick train last year, and as much as I like Tyson Barrie, I think Hunwick should continue be in the first for him.

Duchene and Parenteau sure have been strong the last couple of games. I’m glad to see that working, but I would like to see a little more from Landeskog.

Erik Johnson was great again tonight. I would love to see him turn into the player everyone thought he could be in 2006, and right now, it’s really starting to look like he is going to.

Remember, you probably shouldn’t put TOO much stock into this game. It was still the Blue Jackets, and they did play the night before…but wow, the Avs looks good.

The Avs next game is Saturday against the San Jose Sharks in California. The game starts at 2 p.m. Mountain time.

For a game that had much more meaning than I would have thought 5 days ago, the Colorado Avalanche came out flat, and never held a lead against the worst team in the NHL.

Everything went right for the Avs tonight…outside of Pepsi Center. The Stars lost, the Kings grabbed an early lead, but Colorado could not find a way to beat Steve Mason and the worst NHL team this year. The Avs split the season series with the bottom dwellers, and ultimately that is why they are not going to the playoffs. After a five day break, and their season on the line, the Avs came out like it was November. Just an average game, so they gave an average effort.

Columbus got on the board a little over six minutes into the game, on a breakaway goal. Teams started to figure Varlamov out on breakaways as the season came to an end, but that is not the story. In the absolute biggest game of the year, the Avs simply cannot give up breakaways like they did. Unacceptable.

They fought back, and I thought they turned the motors on when David Jones tipped a McGinn pass, past Mason. They had things tied up, and it was still early. The momentum was on their side, and they were playing an awful team, but it didn’t matter.

Rick Nash found the net with two and a half minutes left in the first period to give the Jackets the lead. Varlamov thought he had the puck, but it squeezed past him and Nash was able to get the puck into the wide open net. Huge momentum killer. In games like this, the Avs have to bury the game early, the longer it stays close the more the Blue Jackets are going to want it, and that is why the Jackets won.

Erik Johnson drew a 4 minute, double minor penalty from a high stick, and the Avs quickly capitalized on the powerplay. Paul Stastny was able to lift a backhand over Mason’s left pad and into the net. The Avs still had a full 2 minute powerplay after the goal, but couldn’t find a way to take the lead. That was the game changer, the momentum killer, and it was all downhill from there.

Paul Stastny and Ryan O’Byrne took penalties 30 seconds apart that resulted in the game winning goal on the powerplay. Rick Nash beat Varlamov high glove before Varlamov could get from one post to the other to make the save. If the Avs would have killed off the 5-3, it really could have gotten them back into the game.

Columbus added another goal about 12 minutes into the period which put the nail in the coffin. I kept telling myself that if there was one team the Avs could come back on, it was the Jackets, but they had the door shut on them by Mason. The Avs didn’t have too many quality chances to begin with, not once was I telling myself they should have scored on a particular play, but any potential chances were stopped by Mason.

The Avs kept constant pressure on Columbus in the third, but just couldn’t score. They ended up pulling Varlamov with 4 minutes left in a desperation move that resulted in Cam Atkinson scoring an empty netter for his hat trick. In my mind, there were many individual accomplishments that players can hang their hats on this season, but as far as I’m concerned, but only positive outcome from a team standpoint is, it does not look like Washington will end up having a top 10 pick from the Avs in the next draft.

The last game of the Avs season will be played on Saturday against the Nashville Predators at Pepsi Center. The game starts at 7 p.m. Mountain time.

Talk about taking a team for granted. The Avs came out and assumed that because they beat the Jackets 5-0 a week ago, that they would win tonight. I kept thinking, there gonna turn it on now, there gonna turn it on, but it never happened. Absolutely awful game tonight.

The game didn’t start as bad as they normally do for the Avs. Columbus was still controlling the play early, but the Avs did have some good shifts. It looked like they were just skating around thinking, we can bury these guys anytime we want and were not that aggressive. Eventually the Jackets took advantage of the Avs laziness.

Landeskog took a holding penalty that led to the first goal. On the powerplay Nikita Nikitin fired a one timer from the point off the post and in for the first goal. The goal literally was 3/4 open. I can’t explain how the goal was so open, maybe Varlamov didn’t see it, but I could have scored on that shot.

I thought that this goal would spark the Avs. I thought it would make them realize they had to try hard, and actually play to win the game but they continued to float through the game.

To give the Avs some credit, every now and then they would have a good shift and keep the puck in CBJ’s zone for a minute or two at a time, but they never really generated a good chance.

Late in the second period, the Blue Jackets added another goal on a slapshot. This time it was Fedor Tyutin who skated in on the left side wing and fired one past Varlamov’s blocker. Goaltending in the NHL is 95% positioning, and when a guy fires a shot that beats your position, you have to give him credit because there is not enough time to react, and that is what Tyutin did.

Surely I thought this would get the Avs attention. A 2-0 lead late in the second is serious business. Normally I would have called the game over, but because it was the Blue Jackets I still had hope the Avs would turn things around. But nope, they continued to be nonchalant on the ice.

I know it is getting repetitive, but I don’t know what else I can say- it felt like they were just waiting to turn on their engine the whole game, but no one ever pressed the start button.

The Avs did have one great chance in the third when Jay McClement got a pass on a 2 on 1, but he was too close to the goal, and the pass was too far behind him to lift the puck over Mason’s pad. The Avs went down rather quietly after that.

Other notes from tonight’s game:

-Peter Mueller was good tonight. He generated most of the Avs good scoring chances, on the 4th line. He certainly should be moved up after tonight.

-Jamie McGinn was did not contribute AT ALL on the ice tonight. But neither did Steve Downie in his first game with the club so I will give him some more time before judging how he fits in.

-No one wants to say it, but Hejduk has been awful. He has NINE points in 2012. And it is March 1st everyone, in 2 months of NHL games, he has 9 points and only TWO goals. I know he is the captain, but he needs to be playing a whole lot less than he is.

-The Avs missed a huge opportunity tonight. They could have jumped into the eight seed in the playoffs, but instead they laid an egg against a terrible team. They missed a chance to win 5 in a row, and really build some momentum and instead will feel bad about their game for the next couple of days.

The Avs next game is Saturday against the Pittsburgh Penguins at Pepsi Center. The game starts at 7 p.m. Mountain time.

Where to begin for the Avs? A great all around game tonight. Normally picking the first picture for the post is between one or two players, but tonight it’s wide open. David Jones had 3 points, Landeskog had a goal and assist, so did Steve Downie (his first points with the Avs), Semyon Varlamov had a shutout, but tonight’s picture goes to….

Matt Hunwick! It’s gotta feel good for him to find the back of the net, because he has only played in 13 of the Avs 62 games this year.

I was worried about this game before the start, because it was a classic example of a trap game. They just had a big win against the Kings, and have to play the Red Wings tomorrow, it would have been very easy to overlook the worst team in the league tonight. And for a while it looked like they may have. The Blue Jackets came out strong, and kept the puck in the Avs zone for the first 10 minutes or so. So the average start for the Avs.

But once again, the Avs scored a late period goal to take the lead. This one came from David Jones on a 2-1. Shane O’Brien was the other Av down the ice and Jones looked towards a pass for a while, but turned and fired it past Steve Mason’s blocker with 34 seconds left in the period. You could just feel the punch to the stomach the Jackets took after that one went in. A bad team with little to play for, dominates most of the first period, but give up the first goal of the game with less than a minute left. I thought it was going to be tough for them to get back in the game, and it was.

To the Blue Jackets credit, they did keep the Avs off the scoreboard for the first half of the second period, but on a 3-2 rush, Steve Downie made a cross ice pass to Landeskog, who corralled it and while fading away from the puck, slapped it far side, top shelf, right in the corner for the goal. It was a nice pass by Downie, but wow, it was a great shot.

That goal really probably helped with Downie’s confidence too. Getting that first point after a trade can be difficult, but after Landeskog’s goal he won’t have to worry about that anymore.

That seemed to be the goal that opened the floodgates. It didn’t lead to immediate benefits, but it did deflate any hopes the jackets had. But once again it was Varlamov who won the game at this point. He made 2 HUGE saves on Rick Nash tonight. One was on a breakaway- and it is amazing how I don’t even get anxious when the other team has a breakaway agasinst Varly. I’m pretty sure that including the shootouts he has allowed 2 breakaway goals all year.

The other save was even better. A beautiful one-handed crossing pass to Nash who shot it on net, but Varly sprawled across and just got enough of the puck with the blocker to send it wide. Very similar to the great save he made against Milan Lucic earlier in the year, that you can watch here.

The Avs came out in the third, and nailed the coffin shut. Less than two minutes in, Mark Olver got the puck behind the send, circled, and sent the puck to Jones, who originally whiffed on the shot but quickly recovered and beat Mason over the glove.

Mark Olver has really impressed me since he has been called up. I can’t really explain his success right now, but he seems to work hard and be in the right places at the right times. I think he deserves a permanent spot in the lineup, but when Mueller and Galiardi come back, I’m afraid he may be one of the guys left out. I would rather see McLeod and Kobasew be scratched before Olver.

Next, Steve Downie got his first goal as an Av. Downie found the puck on his stick on a rebound from an Erik Johnson shot, and he wasted no time putting the puck in the back of the net, once again beating Mason’s glove. I know it is the Blue Jackets, but if Downie could somehow to continue to contribute offensively, that would really help the Avs postseason chances. On a completely unrelated note, thanks to Latin class I now know in that last sentence I used the figure of speech known as alliteration. The repetition of consonant sounds; could, continue, contribute. That’s right folks, hockey and english. Where else are you going to get that wide of a spectrum.

The last goal goes to Matt Hunwick, who scored on a breakaway. He made a nice move and the puck just trickled past Mason to make it 5-0. I feel bad for Hunwick because he is better than fans and the organization think, but the Avs defensive depth has meant his is the odd man out. It’s great for him to get on the score sheet.

The Avs get a big 2 points tonight, because tomorrow’s test is going to be nearly impossible. The Avs play the Red Wings in Detroit. If you didn’t know, the Wings had won 23 in a row at home before the Canucks beat them on Thursday. What are the chances that the Wings win 23 in a row, and then lose 2 in a row at home? Not high. The Wings are going to be angry and the Avs are going to be tired, having played the day before. I do not expect any points tomorrow.

The Avs next game is Saturday against the Red Wings in Detroit. The game starts at 5 p.m. Mountain time.