Archive for the ‘Avs vs. Detroit Red Wings’ Category


Patrick Roy fell one game short of setting the NHL record for most wins to start a season, but Colorado bounced back and continued to win behind great goaltending.
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Colorado had their 6 game win streak broken by the Detroit Red Wings last Thursday, by a score of 4-2. Wings goaltender Jonas Gustavsson absolutely stole the show, stopping 38-40 shots en route to the win. I don’t want to take anything away from Gustavsson, but Colorado missed a number of point blank chances. Posts were hit, nets were missed, shots were fanned, and it cost Colorado the victory. I have not seen so many missed shots, since watching LeBron in any clutch situation. Colorado outplayed Detroit, but couldn’t finish. Let’s move on.

And the Avs were able to move on, quickly forgetting the loss, but it helped that they played a Buffalo team that looks to contend for the first overall pick in next year’s draft. The Avs clearly won the first two periods of that game, but Buffalo fought back in the third, adding a tally just over a minute into the final period. From there, Buffalo controlled the play offensively. Obviously part of that is Colorado not wanting to take any chances and make a silly mistake up by two, but the third period of the game looked like a Joe Sacco coached team. They were playing not to lose in the third, rather than to win. Fortunately for the Avs, JS Giguere was sharp, and secured the two points.

Finally, the come to the performance of the Avs season so far, as Colorado took on offensive juggernaut Pittsburgh. Coach Roy made an interesting move, and started Giguere for the second straight game, but it paid off. I questioned the move, as Pittsburgh is all about puck movement, and striking quickly, while Giguere struggles laterally, and more plays the angles, but Patrick Roy sure knows his goalies.

Colorado gave Pittsburgh SEVEN, yes seven powerplays. They could not solve Giguere. All that Giguere needed was a second period goal from Gabe Landeskog, who scored just seven seconds after stepping out of the penalty box for a hooking penalty.

The Avs spent the third period, much like the Buffalo game, trying to protect the lead, rather than add to it. Once again, that strategy paid off, as once again, JS Giguere stood on his head.

Colorado moves to 8-1 on the season, and will head back to Colorado to take on the Hurricanes on Friday.


The Colorado Avalanche may have played their best period of the year in the third, but Pavel Datsyuk poked home the OT winner with 16 seconds left to give Detroit the 3-2 victory.

Photo from nhl.com

Photo from nhl.com


This is game 37, and while I’m not 100% positive on this stat, I believe the Avs have only scored the first goal of the game 10 times. This game was no different. Datsyuk got the scoring started on the powerplay in the first period. He ended up with the puck in the low slot, and slid it through Giguere’s legs with ease. But give credit to the Avs, who bounced right back, and roughly 3 minutes later Mark Olver tied things up on the prettiest breakaway from an Avs player all season. He skated in with speed, and went forehand, backhand, shelf, on Jimmy Howard.

The next 12 seconds of the game were bliss. But that 13th one was the opposite, because Gustav Nyquist quickly regained the lead for the Wings. Matt Duchene couldn’t control a pass, gave it right to Nyquist, who walked around Giguere for the goal. It was a bad play by Duchene, but Giguere needs to stop that one. Nyquist skated past him, below the goal line, and then tucked the puck into the net.

But the good stuff came in the third period. It was like the Avs stopped playing, and the Pittsburgh Penguins started playing. They looked great. They were playing at a high speed, generating good opportunities, and outworking the Wings the whole period. It finally paid off when PA Parenteau scored six and a half minutes in, on a beautiful deflection out of mid air. Unfortunately Jimmy Howard was great for the Wings, and the Avs had a couple of bad breaks (posts, pucks on the goal line) and the game went to overtime.

It seemed destined for a shootout, but with just over 15 seconds left, Datsyuk found a rebound right next to Giguere, and poked it past him before Giguere could react. I think Giguere thought he had the puck, and by the time he realized he didn’t, Datsyuk’s stick was on the puck. I don’t have a lot to complain about, because the Avs played a great third period. If they can keep that up over the last 11 games, I will feel a lot better about their chances next year.

Erik Johnson had a great game tonight, too. I know the points are not there, but he was a force offensively, and defensively tonight.

The Avs travel to Phoenix, to take on the Coyotes on Saturday. The game starts a 7 p.m. Mountain time.


Detroit jumped out to a 3-0 lead, and after a goaltender change, the Avs rallied to only lose by 1.

Photo from nhl.com

Photo from nhl.com


At this point in the season, I think I speak for all Avs fans when I say, thank goodness there are only 13 games left. It has been brutal to watch them over the past month.

The Avs were hanging in there, and looked just as good as Detroit for the first 15 minutes of the game, but a bit of a lucky bounce got the ball rolling for Detroit. Justin Abdelkader whacked the puck out of mid-air on a rebound from Varlamov. Varly had next to no chance at the save. I think it was a bit lucky that Abdelkader got the puck in the net, but it was a heck of a play by him.

In the second, Danny Clearly got the puck right in front of the net on the powerplay, and easily beat Varlamov 5-hole, for the second goal. Erik Johnson has to be the one to blame, who was stuck in no man’s land between the passer and the shooter on the goal.

Detroit made it a trio in a row, when Damien Brunner one timed the puck past Varly from the far faceoff circle. Heck of a shot, and another one that Varlamov had no chance on. And this is where I turned off the game.

I still followed it, and the Avs made it interested in the third, with Jamie McGinn getting an early powerplay goal, and Matt Duchene scored late, and as much as I wanted to turn it back on, I didn’t want to jinx it because they turned things around once I stopped watching. But in typical Avs fashion, couldn’t get that late goal, and fell by one.

Well, the Avs remain in the tie for last place. And to bring it up again, since they’re trading everyone…why did the Avs match the O’Reilly offer sheet? Why??? They could’ve had 2 of the top 3 picks in the draft along with cap space, but instead are stuck with Mr. Character himself.

The Avs next game is Tuesday against the Predators. The game starts at 6 p.m.


What a game for the Avs. I will be the first to admit that I thought they had no chance today, but then again, I didn’t anticipate they would score two goals in the first 3 minutes.

Avs fans do not give Greg Sherman enough credit at all. Right now the trade for Steve Downie looks like a great trade for the Avs. It was no more evident than on the first goal of the game, when hard work along the boards by Landeskog and O’Reilly led to Downie getting the puck, who smartly sent the puck to the net where it took a bit of a lucky bounce right to Landeskog who buried it for the goal.

I never would have expected the Avs to get such an early goal, but they were not finished. Mark Olver took a goaltender interference penalty less than 30 seconds later, and the great start seemed to be over. Karma delivers once again when Kyle Quincey lost the puck in his own end after Kobasew ran into him, and Jones quickly picked it up, and beat Jimmy Howard over the glove. A shorthanded goal for a 2-0 Avalanche lead in the first period, am I dreaming?

The Wings recovered some of the momentum throughout the first period, but they could not beat Giguere, and the Avs went into the intermission up by two. This honestly might be the most surprised I have been by the Avs this year. I gave them absolutely zero chance of winning this game, but they came out and started strong which seems to be a rare thing these days.

Maybe it is just Detroit’s puck possession style, but they seemed to control the early part of the second period. The Wings were incredibly aggressive the whole game, and the Avs matched their aggressiveness well. Colorado has a tendency to sit back when they get a lead, but they maintained their pressure during the second period.

Gabriel Landeskog added another goal for the Avs with under seven minutes left in the period. This time it was O’Reilly who found Landeskog in the slot, but once again, hard work along the boards from Downie and O’Reilly led to the goal.

That goal led to a couple of thoughts for me: I thought the Wings would let up a bit, and I thought the Avs would sit back, but neither really happened. The Avs kept matching the Wings aggressive style and intensity. I was really impressed with the Avs not having a letdown after the third goal. The Avs got to the second intermission up 3-0.

Once the second intermission hit, I let my mind wander; already looking forward to the win, I would guess that the Avs did as well, and it showed early. 44 seconds in, Juri Hudler scored on the powerplay. The difference between Giguere and Varlamov was prevalent on this goal. Valtteri Filppula skated in from one faceoff circle, and then passed it across to Hudler who had a WIDE open net. As soon as the pass went across, Giguere gave up. He knew it was going to be a goal. He did absolutely tonight to try and stop it, not even as much as reach the stick back. If he tries at all on the goal, he probably stops it because the shot ended up going far post and was not far away from Jiggy without him moving.

But it is still 3-1, still comfortable. To make things even better, Downie added another goal for the Avs around the halfway mark of the period. It was a great cross ice pass from Ryan Wilson to find Downie wide open near the crease, and he had no trouble finishing it. 4-1 with less than 11 minutes left, it is definitely over now right?

But with under seven minutes left in the game, Hudler found the back of the net again on a great deflection. The puck went from going to hit the right post, to hitting the left post and going in, right in front of Giguere. He had no chance to react. Still, it is 4-2 with less than 7 minutes left, the Avs clearly have the win.

Only 1:31 later, Filppula beat Giguere on a scramble in front, that lead to him swiping his stick at the puck, and slipping it through Giguere’s pads. At this point it was a total panic for me. I didn’t expect any points at the beginning of the game, but they had a 4-1 with 10+ minutes left, and I let guard down. Now the Avs had to keep the Wings off the scoreboard for the next 5 minutes and 7 seconds to keep their lead. And the Wings had total momentum and confidence.

The next five minutes was constant Detroit pressure. They seemed to keep the puck on the Avs half of the red line the whole time. But the Avs managed to keep them off the board and get the win. With about 5 seconds left, the Avs got the puck out of their zone and Landeskog slapped it forward towards the goal. The puck was immediately deflected, and was slowly bouncing towards the goal, his hat trick was on line, and it was VERY close, but I think it crossed the line about .1 of a second late. I would guess they would go back and review it to make sure, but no word on it yet.

The Avs got two huge points tonight. Gigantic to keep up with LA, and give themselves a little breathing room for the time being. But I’m sure that my Monday the Avs will need another win to keep up with the rest of the conference.

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


If you go back and look, three games ago I said there was no way the Avs would win the next three, and finish the home stand with a winning record. Well, sometimes I love when I’m wrong. The Avs played another great game tonight, and beat a very good Red Wings team, for their third straight victory.

When I woke up this morning, if I had asked for a perfect day in the sports world, I could not have asked for much more than what actually happened. The only thing that comes to mind is getting OK State into the BCS title game, but other than that it was perfect.

How about Tiger Woods? He is the man. Huge birdie on 17, and classic Tiger on 18, making a tricky putt for the win. Gotta love it.

Next is the Avs though. I just did not see them winning this game. It’s one thing to beat the Devils and Blues when both are playing well, but the Red Wings too? Maybe the Avs can get on a roll again and stay on top of the mountain this time unlike early in the season.

The first period didn’t help with my optimism either. The Wings dominated, but I thought they might get out of the period unscathed. But go figure, Franzen scores on the powerplay. It was a really nice play by Datsyuk to get the pass all the way through, but I have to put the blame on Hejda. He was caught flat footed and even should have stopped the pass but missed it. I think he should be the seventh defenseman to sit once everyone is healthy.

But the Avs came out flying in the second period. 26 seconds in and Mr. Clutch O’Reilly ties the game up. Sure it was a terrible play by Detroit defenseman Ian White behind the net, but Landeskog took the puck cleanly and made a nice pass to O’Reilly. It was nice to see Landeskog get on the score sheet because he has been in a bit of a funk lately. Also, on a side note, just today did I get why O’Reilly has the nickname “Factor”. It’s after the TV show “The O’Reilly Factor.” Clever. Am I way behind on the nickname train, or is this news to anyone else?

But anyways, less than two minutes later, Paul Stastny finally scores a goal, and the Avs are up 2-1. Stastny did something on the play that you don’t see often, which was beat Nick Lidstrom. A perfectly timed lift of Lidstrom’s stick lead to the easy goal for Stastny. About time! But he is still a long way from getting out of my doghouse. Hopefully his injury is not too serious, and he will be on the ice against Vancouver.

But in the third, Detroit scored early enough for me to think they would get another one, and the Avs would leave without a point. And Detroit was certainly applying the pressure at even strength, and then Ryan Wilson took a cross checking penalty and Detroit had a powerplay, I didn’t think the Avs would survive another PK.

But near the end of the penalty, Detroit still had not scored but were racing up the ice, when TJ Galiardi poke checked the puck up to Landeskog in the neutral zone, who crossed the blue line, gave the puck back to Galiardi, and PING, off the inner post and into the net. Not only did it send fans flying out of their seats at Pepsi Center, but also got me off the bed and yelling in my room. Very unselfish play by Landeskog to give up a shot, for the pass.

O’Reilly added an empty netter, after Varlamov, who continues to excel in net, kept the Avs ahead with some nice saves, and the Avs win 4-2. That turns the home stand into a small success for me, rather than a disappointment.

A few other things I noticed from the game:

1. Stefan Elliott is terrible on defense. It would honestly be better to duct tape a stick to a rock in the Avs zone right now.

2. The Avs PK was awesome. To kill 4/5 penalties against a Detroit team that has a lot of offensive weapons, and is very dangerous on the powerplay is pretty impressive. I have to give some credit to Lefevere, because earlier in the day I was thinking about if Sacco is fired, I sure hope Lefevere goes with him, because our powerplay and penalty kill have been awful. Don’t let our league ranking fool you, our powerplay is not good.

3. Despite being about as good at Hockey in November as Ryan Leaf is at quarterbacking, the Avs are currently only 2 points out of a playoff spot. San Jose (Currently the 8th seed) has played four less games than the Avs, but Colorado is starting to get back into the thick of things.

The Avs next game is Tuesday against the Vancouver Canucks in Vancouver. The game starts at 8 p.m. Mountain Time.


Well, at least the Blue Jackets are awful, so we won’t have to give the Capitals the first overall pick. Honestly, from the last couple of games, I can’t understand why the Avs are so bad. Especially when the players they that need to play good, are playing good.

Lets start with Erik Johnson. He has really impressed the last couple of games. The biggest thing I have noticed is his confidence with the puck in their own zone. He has made some plays recently where he really fakes out the other teams skater, and instead of passing, carries the puck up the ice. He also has played really solid defense the past week. He really has been shutting people down for the most part, and have been a +1 the last three games, which is extra impressive because the Avs have been outscored 14-9. He had an assist tonight as well, but it has been his defense that has been very good lately.

Next has been the Avs best player, Matt Duchene. How good has he looked the last couple games? He has been incredibly strong on the puck. The other team just can’t take it away from him. He has been using his body well, and has been taking advantage of a very nice spin move lately to escape from defenders that usually works well. And I love how aggressive he has been. He is taking pucks to the net, and getting there at any means necessary. He looks upset on the ice with the puck. A man on a mission who will not accept how the team has been playing, and it is that kind of on ice attitude that a captain of a team would show.

I don’t want to blame the Avs struggles on Varlamov alone because the statistics he has are decent. But maybe I’m just used to a .889 save percentage and a 3.2 goals against average. But Varly simply has not gotten the job done. It seems that at least once a game, a goal goes in that shouldn’t. I’m not saying the goals have been his fault, but what I watch other teams play, I just don’t see so many weird, flukey, odd bounce goals. Most goals are either nice offensive plays, hard work, or bad defense, but the Avs somehow let in way too many goals that are just unusual plays, and I don’t know where the blame lies on plays like that or how to fix it, but the Avs let in too many, and other teams to not, for it to simply be bad luck, but I don’t know what it could be.

I think Giguere should start at least the next two games for the Avs. He was solid in relief tonight, and has been very good when called upon this year. Plus, it is just me who thinks he looks HUGE in net?

He looks huge, no?

I will say this though, he is incredibly slow moving from side to side, and I feel like every game he has been in, the other team has swooped in from behind the net, from one side to the other, and had a near open net. He is slower than a pitcher running to first base after hitting a soft grounder back to the pitcher. But I think 4 or 5 days away from games might be good for Varly, and it will give Giggy a chance to show what he has got.

Also, when can we fire Joe Sacco? That guy is a terrible coach. The Avs have got 7 homes game in all of 2011, and only 3 in regulation! That is not ok. The guy has switched more lines than Rex Ryan has said dumb things to the media. I believe he is honestly one of the biggest factors as to why the Avs are not winning. The guy does have one thing going for him, he just signed a sponsorship with Hoover, because he sucks so much. I’m just saying, when was the last time Joe Sacco did anything good for the team. Whether it is pulling a goalie, which goalie to start, switching up the lines, or just the system in general, he never seems to get it right.


The Avs next game is against the Islanders at Pepsi Center, which I will be attending! It starts at 7 p.m. Mountain time.


CLICK HERE TO WATCH THE FORSBERG JERSEY RETIREMENT CEREMONY

If you have not seen the Forsberg retirement ceremony, as an Avs fan it is definitely worth watching. I was at the game and came home and watched it again: it’s just as good the second time.

For Forsberg, it will be a night he will never forget. For the Avs, I hope they can forget as soon as possible. The game was ugly. I understand that Detroit is a good team, but how can the Avs not win that one? It’s opening night, against a rival, with one of the franchises best players being honors, against a backup goalie, against a team that played in Ottawa the night before. I just don’t understand how the team could come out and look so uninspired.
The first five minutes were great, they were controlling the puck, and generating some good scoring chances, but after that, they looked awful. I keep telling myself not to over-react because it is just one game, but why do I have a feeling that it could be a long year? But you know what, it’s ok if we have a bad year and don’t make the playoffs, because then we will get a high draft pick to be another cornerstone of this franchise…..oh….wait…..NO WE WON’T. I’m not saying that I don’t like Varlamov because I do. But come on Sherman…a first and a second..seems like a lot.

Speaking of Varlamov, he was one of the bright spots for the team on Saturday. He looked good. Neither of the goals he let up were his fault. I think there is a chance that he could have stopped the Franzen goal but at the same time, that was a pretty sick shot. 36 saves is a solid game, and he was the strongest link in the chain last night.

The only other bright spot from the game I thought, was Landeskog. He had a very good game, especially considering it was his first game. I honestly thought he was the best skater for the Avs last night. He always seemed to be around when the Avs had a decent scoring chance.

On the other side of the spectrum, Erik Johnson looked terrible. I’m a big EJ fan so it is tough for me to say, but he did. He looked uncomfortable with the puck, and many times, it felt like it lead to turnovers. Duchene also looked bad. He is a long way from where everyone wants him to eventually get to. The consistency is not there, and I think his shot needs to improve. I know it’s just one game, so I’m trying not to over-react to such a small sample size, but I’m questioning whether this team has the offense to compete for a playoff spot. Overall, I don’t want to make any harsh judgement after only I game, and I really hope I’m wrong, but I was not pleased at all with how they played.

On a different subject, I lost respect for a lot of fans at the game. I sat next to some Red Wing fans who throughout the whole Forsberg ceremony just sat there looking uninterested. Have some respect for the game. Forsberg was a great player, and Wings fans should respect him for his abilities. When Lidstrom gets his jersey retired (next year probably), if I was at that game, I would still cheer and clap for him, because he is a great, classy player, like Forsberg. Also yelling “Go Wings” during the moment of silence for Belak, Salei, and Skrastins made me sick. Have some respect.

Avs fans too. I don’t know how I feel about the “Red Wings Suck” chants and the fans who scream “BOOO” to anyone wearing a Red Wings jersey. I wouldn’t like it if someone did it to me in another stadium, so lets not do it here. It is an on ice rivalry, and while we don’t have to be nice to other teams fans, we don’t have to be rude either.