Archive for the ‘Avs vs. Los Angeles Kings’ 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.


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.
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.
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.


Photo from

Photo from

That’s right, just 3 seconds into the game David Jones took a high sticking penalty, meaning goalie Sami Aittokallio, playing in his first NHL game was going to see the Stanley Cup Champions powerplay 3 seconds into the game.

I was excited to see how Aittokallio would play, and he met all of my expectations. The Kings scored first on a Jeff Carter wrister. I thought it was a weak goal let in by Aittokallio, Carter beat him far side from a bad angle, but Aittokallio really settled down after that. About 2 minutes later, at 7:14 of the first period the Kings made it 2-0 when Mike Richards wristed a laser into the upper right corner. No real chance for Aittokallio.

The Avs settled down after that, and generated a number of decent chances before Paul Stastny finally beat Jonathan Quick on a wraparound, late in the second period. David Jones semi made up for his early penalty by making a nice play behind the net to get the puck to Stastny.

And then again, early in the third, Patrick Bordeleau “scored” his first NHL goal. It was great to see his reaction, but I don’t even think it was intentional. He was just standing in front of the net, and I guess the puck nicked off his stick on the way to the goal. Either way though, it was a big goal.

There was a scary moment late in the third, when Aittokallio seemingly injured himself to the point where he couldn’t put any weight on his right leg, and stayed on the ice for a long time. Fortunately Aittokallio is okay, and was just suffering from severe cramping. JS Giguere came in, and made some big saves down the stretch to get the game to a shootout, but none was bigger than him diving across the crease to get his paddle down before a Jeff Carter wraparound. could find its way in. Giguere has gained a lot of respect from me in the past week with the combination of his play, and honestly off the ice.

Unfortunately, Giguere looked silly on all 3 shootout goals by the Kings, and the Avs ultimately fell 3-2.

Colorado will next host Vancouver on Saturday. The game starts at 1 p.m. Mountain time.

An early serge in the third period propelled the Avs to victory as two goals in the first 2:35 was all the Avs needed to beat the defending champs.

Semyon Varlamov stops a breakaway in the first period. Photo from

Semyon Varlamov stops a breakaway in the first period. Photo from

The Avs trailed by a score of 1-0 after two periods, and came out on all cylinders in the third. Gabe Landeskog tied the game just one minute into the period on a one timer after Jan Hejda’s slapshot went wide. From that moment on, the Avs were in complete control. Dustin Penner took a holding call just 27 seconds later, and the Avs capitalized again when David Jones beat Jonathan Quick over the glove. LA failed to clear the puck, and it bounced to Jones, who was able to wrist one into the net from the slot.

The Avs were not done, but this time it was PA Parenteau who scored on a very similar play to Landeskog’s goal. Ryan Wilson shot the puck wide, Erik Johnson made a great play from behind the net, to get the puck in front for Parenteau to smack home. Just by watching his reaction, you would have guess PA just scored the Stanley Cup winner, as he ran/skated away from the goal with a smile a mile wide. That goal all by sealed the Avs first win of the season. It was also the first time the Kings lost a game in regulation after leading going into the third, since April 2, 2009.

It wasn’t all smiles and celebrations for the Avs, who were outplayed in the first period. In the exact opposite of the Wild game on Saturday, the Avs came out slow and finished strong. The Kings controlled the play for the majority of the first period, but Semyon Varlamov was strong, and kept the Avs in the game. However, the Kings struck first with a goal off of a rebound late in the 1st. It was Kyle Clifford who found the puck after a bad decision by Tyson Barrie led to the 2-1.

Photo from

Photo from

Momentum started to swing in the Avs favor when they had a 1:29 of a 5-3 powerplay late in the 2nd period. The Avs seemed insistent on giving the puck to Landeskog during the 5-3, and he was unable to find the back of the net. After the Kings killed the penalty, Avs fans everywhere were probably thinking the same thing…well, they’re not winning tonight. Quick was having a good game, and the Avs really hadn’t mustard any great scoring chances up to that point…but the Avs of 2013 had different plans.

There were still a number of concerns that I saw from the Avs tonight. They still took 6 penalties, but they did kill all of the powerplays. Maybe even more troublesome was that they allowed 2 complete breakaways, one at even strength, and one shorthanded. That can’t happen, but Varlamov stoned both Kings’ attempts. Also, Steve Downie left the game with a knee injury and did not return, which can’t be good (despite his poor game on Saturday). Hopefully it’s not too serious.

Here are my calls of the Avs’ goals:

The Avs pick up 2 key points, and will fact Columbus on Thursday at the Pepsi Center (Which I will be going to). The game starts at 7 p.m. Mountain time.

The Avs came out tonight, and had what was probably the best first period of the season. It was probably a combination of the Kings playing in Phoenix the night before, and the Avs getting blown out in Winnipeg, but the Avs looked great in the first.

I knew it was going to be a good game for the Avs when they came out and actually started decent. It was not the normal slow, uninterested start, and scoring early is very important when the other team has played the night before, and that’s exactly what the Avs did.

Seven minutes into the game, Mark Olver beat Jonathan Quick on a one timer over the blocker from the near side circle. It was a great shot but the credit goes to the Avs working hard in the corner to get the puck to Olver. That was David Jones and Daniel Winnik. The hard work lead to Jones getting the puck who delivered it to Olver for the goal. Quick looked surprised after the goal, I don’t think he was expecting a shot. But even if he was, he was not going to stop that shot.

It was almost as if the Kings wanted to go down six minutes later, when Kyle Clifford blindly slid a pass behind the goal straight to Paul Stastny who quickly wrapped the puck around for the goal. Just a terrible play by the Kings, but sometimes when a team gets down by one early after playing the night before they let down and lose focus a little, and I think that is what happened.

2-0 Avalanche leads are rare, but 3-0 Avalanche leads are practically myths. I can see the conversations tomorrow, “Hey did you see the Avs score 3 goals in the first period last night, and held that lead into the intermission?”

“Man, if you want to make a joke at least make at sound reasonable. Why can’t you just say you found Bigfoot in your house eating cereal, or you saw Elvis working at a shoe store?”

But I am here to tell you it actually happened. On the rush along the boards, Ryan O’Reilly threw a centering pass toward Jay McClement who perfectly tipped it off the far post and in. You could not have placed it any better. It is always nice to see McClement get an offensive reward for all of the great defense he plays.

Expecting a second period let-down, I was pleasantly surprised with their play. Even though Jonathan Quick didn’t make it past the first period, the Kings didn’t give up. In fact, this is where Varlamov won the game for the Avs.

At the 5 minute mark, there was a scramble in front of the net looking for the loose puck, which suddenly found it’s way to Dwight King who had an empty net to shoot at. Somehow, SOMEHOW, Varlamov stretched across in time to rob King of a sure goal to maintain the 3 goal lead. It was truly an amazing save.

At the 10 minute mark, the Avs were on the powerplay when Anze Kopitar intercepted a pass and skated in on a breakaway- he tried to make a move to his backhand, but Varlamov was there and kept the lead at three, once more. But what is amazing is that was not even close to his best save of the game!

Less than three minutes later, the Avs scored again to put the game out of reach. This time Landeskog drove hard to the net, where Bernier made the initial save, but Paul Stastny swiped in the rebound just before he was taken to the ice by Jack Johnson. It was a great play by Landeskog to somehow beat his man and get to the front of the net, but I’m still not even sure how Stastny got his stick on the puck because it looked like Johnson had him all tied up.

The Kings came out in the third, and finally solved Varlamov when Drew Doughty fired a slapper from the point that found its way through a ton of traffic and rang off the crossbar and into the net. The goal came less than five minutes into the period, which gave the Kings a little hope, but Varlamov stood tall.

With just over 10 minutes left in the game, a centering pass from behind Varlamov’s net bounced off his stick, across the crease, right to Dustin Brown who made a perfect shot right up against the lower post. However Varlamov once more stretched out and just beat the puck to the post to keep the lead at 3, and effectively end the Kings hope of a win. Varlamov was the difference tonight. His stops on Kopitar, King, and Brown were the difference between 4-1, and 4-4. All three were saves I don’t think Giguere makes.

The Avs climb back within 2 points of a playoff spot, and kept the Kings from gaining any points. It was a huge win, but with 5 other teams fighting for that last spot, you can expect the Avs will be further back come their next game. Things could play out tomorrow, where every other team in the fight loses. The game to watch is between the Coyotes and the Flames. If the Coyotes win, it would put them securely in the playoffs and keep the Flames from potentially jumping into that 8th spot, so all Avs fans should be Coyote fans tomorrow.

The Avs next game is Friday against the Blue Jackets in Columbus. The game starts at 5 p.m. Mountain time.

Another big win for the Avs tonight. Even though the Avs are 3-0 against the Kings this year, LA seems to always have the Avs number, and play very well against them. Tonight Mueller and Stastny got the job done and the Avs beat Jonathan Quick 3 times on his 26th birthday.

Stastny has really pick up his game lately. He has 6 points in the last 4 games and is meshing very well with Peter Mueller. Everyone is calling for Mueller to be paired with Duchene when he comes back, but I don’t think the Avs should mess with the Stastny-Mueller combo.

Not too much happened in the first period of note. There were a couple bothersome penalties the Avs took in the first. Jan Hejda took a penalty 1:18 into the period, which simply cannot happen. Nothing disrupts your game plan like an early penalty when the other team scores, and the Avs were lucky to kill it off.

The Avs drew a double minor from Dustin Penner’s high stick, and did not have the best powerplay and halfway through the second penalty, Kyle Quincey took a penalty of his own that ended the Avs chance. The Avs can’t take penalties when they are on the powerplay, there is just no excuse for it, especially the kind of penalty Quincey took.

The Kings scored early in the second to take the lead, when Giguere could not control a rebound and left Anze Kopitar an empty net from point blank range. Every game it seems like the Avs are giving up the first goal. They are dealing with it for the time being, but they can’t continue this pace the rest of the year.

For those of you who had Cody McLeod in the first Avs goal pool, please tell me your address and I’ll send you your prize. It’s a certificate that says “I’m a liar.”

McLeod still did a great job getting the puck in the net. He also kept his distance from the Kings defenders, which was surprising and impressive. It was not the prettiest breakaway goal I’ve seen, but who really cares?

With just over a minute left in the second, Peter Mueller tipped one passed Quick to give the Avs a lead. Huge goal to get the lead going into intermission. Without that goal I think the Kings probably win the game in the third period, but because he scored, both teams had completely different strategies going into the third.

The Kings missed a big opportunity early in the 3rd when Dustin Brown hit the post off of a backhand, when most of the net was available. Giguere was at his best in the third. He stayed very calm in net, and after the Brown chance, the Kings didn’t have too many great opportunities in the game.

Landeskog iced the game with a powerplay goal with just under 2 minutes left in the game. He made a great play at the blue line to get past a defender, made a nice pass to Stastny, who gave it right back to him in the slot and fired it passed Quick’s blocker. Back into the 8th seed.

I do want to take a moment to mention what a disgraceful display of refereeing we saw tonight. I don’t like to ever criticize officials in any sport because from first hand experience it is a very tough thing to, but there was no excuse for it tonight. They missed 3 EASY calls on the Kings, and were calling everything against the Avs. They missed a too many men penalty on the Kings in the first, where the Kings had 6 men on the ice, and skating, for a couple of seconds before any of the Kings realized they had 6 men on. The refs missed an elbow to Daniel Winnik’s head when the puck was right next to him. Terrible. They also missed a slash that broke Hejda’s stick when the puck was right next to him. It was obvious to the casual fan they were pulling for the Kings.

I also want to mention that Jonathan Quick should be suspended, or at least fined for his slash on Winnik. Daniel Winnik did clip Quick’s skate late in the game, and I thought it would be a penalty, but the ref was watching, and didn’t make the call. As the puck was in the neutral zone, Winnik had fallen behind the net and was the only player in the Kings zone. As he got up and started skating out of the zone, Quick went out of his way, out of the crease, took his stick by the nob at the top, and one handed, full out swung at Winnik’s torso. If that does not deserve a suspension, I’m not sure what does. But I guess the Avs got the last laugh by winning.

The Avs next game is Sunday against the Ducks at the Honda Center. The game starts at 6 p.m. Mountain time.

What a game by Semyon Varlamov. The crazy thing is he was even better than his .969 save percentage suggests. The Kings had at least 6 or 7 great chances that were somehow kept out of the net by Varlamov. If Giguere was playing tonight, it would have been a blowout.

The first period was one of the worst periods I’ve watched them play all year. The Kings dominated, which included the Kings keeping it in the Avs zone for what felt like between 2 and 3 minutes. Varlamov was at his best, and kept the Avs in the game during the period. Somehow the Avs escaped the first period tied at zero, even though they were out shot 12-5.

Justin Williams may have scored a goal early in the game, but his high tip-in was waved off and there really was no good angle on the replay, so the call stood.

Another problem in the first was penalties. The Avs took 2 pretty bad penalties, but the double minor by O’Reilly 20 seconds in just cannot happen. The Avs were bailed out because Mike Richards took a penalty 7 seconds later, but there could not have been a worse start for the Avs than tonight.

The Kings came out early in the second and scored a goal 1:34 into the period. Right then I thought the game was over. The Avs seemed to have absolutely no decent chances at all in the first, and I didn’t think things were going to get any better, and for the most part I was right.

It is that kind of offensive performance that I was expecting with Duchene out of the lineup, and if the next couple games are similar, and not due to LA having solid D, then the Avs are in serious trouble.

The Avs had some decent looks in the second. Milan Hejduk had an empty net, but the puck bounced on him and he couldn’t get a shot off.

Right at the end of the period, Paul Stastny got at pass right in front of the goal, and literally all he had to was elevate the puck at all, but he fanned on the shot and it slid and hit Quick as time expired. If you’re getting paid $6.6 Million a year, you need to score those.

The third period was not looking too promising for the Avs, and after the 10 minute mark of the period, I thought there was no way the Avs would get one. But on a nice play from Kyle Quincy to keep the puck in the offensive zone, O’Reilly picked up the puck, faked a shot, and rang one in off of the far post on a great shot.

The Avs somehow got the game to overtime, and even after taking a penalty and giving the Kings a 4-3 powerplay to end the overtime, they killed it off and got to the shootout, which they love.

The shootout has saved the Avs season this year. They are 7-0, which is remarkable. That’s 7 extra points from the shootout. Without those points the Avs would be sitting in 12th instead of 8th. They would be 6 points back of the 8th seed, having played at least 4 more games than the 8th and 9th place teams. That would be very difficult to overcome and make the playoffs.

A ton of credit goes to Varlamov tonight, but the penalty kill was great for the Avs as well. They killed off all 5 penalties against a dangerous Kings powerplay that includes Kopitar, Richards, Brown, Johnson, and Doughty. That is 5 all-star caliber players on the ice.

It was a huge win for the Avs tonight, considering for most of the game it looked like they were not going to get any points at all, none the less 2. But the road does not get any easier for the Avs: There next 8 games are against teams currently in the playoffs, or within 3 points of the Avs having played at least 2 fewer games. But at least the Avs have 3 days to begin preparing.

The Avs next game is Friday against the Chicago Blackhawks at the United Center. The game starts at 6:30 p.m. Mountain time.