Archive for the ‘Avs vs. Vancouver Canucks’ Category

The roller coaster ride continues for the Avalanche with a couple of shootouts, but one thing remains steady, their struggles in Vancouver.
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Remember that great moment when Matt Duchene was a rookie? You know, he scored the shootout winner against Vancouver to clinch a playoff spot for the Avs. Well, that was the last time Colorado won a game in Vancouver. This time was no different. From beginning to end, the Canucks dominated the game. In fact, the only reason Colorado didn’t get shut out was because the Vancouver announcers jinxed it.

The Avs came back from the road trip and had a golden opportunity to get back on the right track against Phoenix. Phoenix started backup goalie Thomas Greiss, which should have boded well considering Mike Smith’s domination over the Avs, but Greiss picked up right where Smith left off. For the second straight game Colorado managed only a single goal, and they certainly didn’t deserve it. A clearing attempt by Phoenix deflected off Patrick Bordeleau’s leg, off of Greiss’ leg, and into the net.

The struggling Jets were the next foe Colorado was up against, and early on it didn’t look like it was going to be much of a game. Winnipeg scored less than 30 seconds into the game, and added another 5 minutes, much to the pleasure of the home crowd. The Manitoban fans saw exactly what Matt Duchene could bring to the Canadian Olympic team, starting with a goal late in the first to cut the lead in half. The Avs came out and dominated the second period, adding a pair to give them a 3-2 lead heading into the third and once again putting their undefeated record when leading after 2 periods on the line.

Blake Wheeler tied things up exactly halfway through the third on a scramble in front, but that was all the scoring fans were going to get. The game went to a shootout, and a couple of slick moves from Duchene and PA Parenteau gave Colorado the victory.

Finally, the Avs went head to head with division rival Minnesota. The Wild, thanks to a late third period goal were able to end Colorado’s streak of winning games when leading after 2 periods. Nino Niederreiter scored with under four minutes left in the game to force the game into overtime. For the second consecutive game, and for the second consecutive matchup against the Wild, the game would go to a shootout. Unfortunately for Colorado, only Matt Duchene found the back of the net, while both Zach Parise and Mikko Koivu fired shots past goaltender Semyon Varlamov for the win.


Jan Hejda scored with 8 seconds remaining in the third to give the Avs a 4-3 win Saturday. Their first win against Vancouver since 2009.

Photo from

Photo from

With no shame I will say I intentionally didn’t watch the game, because of the Masters, but it’s safe to say that JS Giguere will cost the Avs that #1 pick.

The Avs got off to a strong start with Gabe Landeskog being gift wrapped a goal from Kevin Bieksa. Bieksa centered a pass in his own zone, right to Landeskog in the slot, who proceeded to beat Schneider blocker side.

But in the second period it looked like Vancouver was going to take control with goals from Max Lapierre and Jannik Hansen. Neither were particularly good goals, but the Avs wouldn’t go away. Cody McLeod scored early in the third to tie things up. It might be the prettiest goal he’ll score in the NHL, because he at least stick handled a little in front of the net.

Less than a minute and a half later, a Jason Garrison slapper from the point found its way past Giguere to give Vancouver the lead. But the never say die, unless Vegas is involved Avs, came back to tie it again when PA Parenteau tipped/whacked the puck past Schneider with 7 minutes left. And finally, with one last push in regulation, Jan Hejda slapped one home from the near point with traffic in front. Nice to see a defenseman other than Tyson Barrie score a goal this year.

Colorado has officially been eliminated from playoff contention, and will continue their pursuit of the #1 pick (well, at least having a 25% chance at it) on Monday against the Blue Jackets in Denver. The game will start at 7 p.m.

They made it interesting, but once again found a way to lose in the third period. The game was much closer than the 4-1 score.

Photo from

Photo from

I’ll admit, I didn’t get a chance to watch the first 2 periods, but I’ve seen enough Avs games to know how it went. Alex Burrows gave the Canucks the lead less than 5 minutes into the game, making the 80th? 90th? straight game the Avs have given up the first goal. Over the next 35 minutes, I’m sure the Avs had a decent scoring chance or two, but mainly, I’m going to assume Semyon Varlamov kept the Avs in the game.

In the third however, the Avs looked like they were as good as the Canucks…at least for a while. In fact, Matt Duchene tied things up 4 minutes in. The real credit goes once again to PA Parenteau, who found a way to get the puck through a couple of Canucks to Duchene right in the slot. Unfortunately, after 7 minutes of back and fourth action, Daniel Sedin broke the tie with a wrister with eyes. Great play by the Canucks to recruit Ryan O’Byrne to just stand next to Henrik Sedin right in front of the net, and screen Varlamov. Those crafty Canadians always have a trick up their sleeve.

The Canucks added 2 empty netters late, hence the 4-1 final score. But good news, the Panthers won, which pulled the Avs into a tie for last place. That extra 6.5% at the #1 overall pick would be really nice come June.

The Avs will likely lose again on Saturday, against the Predators, in the Pepsi Center. The game starts at 1 p.m. Mountain time.

A late powerplay goal made the game interesting, but Colorado was still bested by a better Canucks team, 3-2.

I miss this

I miss this

Of course it was Vancouver who scored first, I just wouldn’t expect anything less, especially with how the previous games have gone. But the Avs did a good job battling back, and Jamie McGinn finished for a goal on a 2-1 after a pretty pass from PA Parenteau. I believe Mike Haynes said it earlier in the year, but Parenteau continues to throw passes are amaze me. He’s got to be a top 10 passer in the league, he always seems to find a hole and put it right on his teammate’s tape. This goal actually got my hopes up, but Vancouver quickly shot them down in the second.

First was Mason Raymond, who got a semi-breakaway and rocketed a wrister over Giguere’s blocker. Can’t fault Giguere, if I had to lay blame, I’d go with Erik Johnson, who didn’t seem to make much of an effort of trying to stop Raymond. Next was Alex Burrows, on another questionable play by EJ. Burrows blew past him and roofed a backhanded that Giguere had no chance at. I’m not blaming Johnson for the goals, but he wasn’t his usual shutdown self.

Parenteau banged one home late in the third as a 5-3 powerplay expired, but the Avs couldn’t muster one more in the last 2:31, and lost another division game.

The Avs are done. At this point, I’m almost rooting for losses for a higher draft pick. And considering Calgary is 26th in the league, matching O’Reilly’s offer just looks terrible right now. The Avs could have had 2 top 5 picks in the draft. Also, from this game, both Paul Stastny and Ryan Wilson were hurt, and will miss time. Wilson has been put on the IR, while Stastny is expected to miss about 10 days.

With the trade deadline less than a week away, Colorado has some decisions to make. It should be an interesting week.

Colorado will next play the Flames in Canada on Wednesday. The game starts at 8 p.m. Mountain time.

The Vancouver Canucks took advantage of their opportunities, the Colorado Avalanche did not, which directly explains the 3-0 final score.

Roberto Luongo makes a save with the nub of his stick in the first period against the Avalanche. Photo from

Roberto Luongo makes a save with the nub of his stick in the first period against the Avalanche. Photo from

Believe it or not, I saw a lot of things I liked from the Avs tonight, starting with effort. The Avs started the game off strong, and controlled the play for the first seven minutes…right up until Vancouver scored the first goal on a Jason Garrison slapshot from the blueline. It was one that I think Semyon Varlamov would want back, but I’m not sure he saw it to begin with. But Erik Johnson deserves some blame too, as a bad turnover led to Garrison getting the puck at the point.

The Avs just struggled offensively tonight, and now have just 1 goal in their last 3 games. McGinn missed a backhand right in front of the net, where all he needed to do was shoot it into any part of the upper half of the goal. Matt Duchene wasn’t able to convert on a breakaway. The Avs had 1:25 of a 5-3 powerplay, and didn’t really have any decent chances. All of that adds up to another loss for the Avs.

The problem in my opinion is that the Avs are not going to the scoring areas on the ice. They’re keeping the puck on the perimeter, along the boards, along the blue line, behind the net, but almost never in the slot. Even during the Avs 5-3 powerplay, they were holding the puck along the half boards, shooting from angles, and just refusing to get the puck in high percentage areas.

And can someone tell me why Joe Sacco thinks Greg Zanon is a better option than Matt Hunwick? Sacco has never given Hunwick a fair shake, and Zanon cost the Avs tonight, allowing the Max Lapierre to score the second goal. Zanon wasn’t able to control the puck in the Canucks zone which led to a 2-1 and a goal between Varlamov’s legs.

The last goal for the Canucks came on the powerplay (big surprise) when Zach Kassian tipped a slap pass from Dan Hamhuis past Varlamov. The Avs were a lot better on the penalty kill tonight (3-4) but still couldn’t keep the Canucks off the board all together on the PK.

Photo from

Photo from

Despite the Avs offensive struggles, I thought some players still had good games. I liked what Milan Hejduk did tonight, he had a lot of decent chances, but just couldn’t beat Luongo, who also had a great game. But how about Michael Sgarbossa? I thought he had a great game. I can’t wait until he scores so the many puns with his name can be used. He was physical, especially for being 5’11”. He played his position well, and he created some good offensive chances…just give him some linemates! I think it was a mistake to play him with Hejduk and McLeod. Throw him right in there with Duchene and Parenteau, and I think he’ll thrive.

Right now though, I think the Avs struggles are coming from lack of scorers. This is nothing new for the Avs, and it seems like after every game for the last 2 years, that’s what I’ve been saying, but it remains true. Missing Landeskog, Downie, and O’Reilly certainly doesn’t help, but of the players that are out there, the most goals anyone has scored in a season is 28, and that was Paul Stastny’s rookie season. I’m going to go out on a limb, and say that would be one of the lowest numbers in the NHL. And Stastny has just 1 point in 6 games so far this year…that needs to improve.

Well, essentially I think the season comes down to tomorrow’s game. They can’t fall to 2-5, that’s 1/7th of the season after tomorrow’s game, and to only have 4 points would be unacceptable. And it will be no easy task as it’s another division/road/Calgary game.

Oh, and another high stick was missed tonight, as the Avs should have had a 4 minute powerplay early in the third, but somehow the refs missed it again. I swear the Avs get the fewest calls in the NHL. Actually, the stats back me up here.

The Avs next game is Thursday against the Flames in Calgary. The game starts at 7 p.m. Mountain time.

If there was any hope left for the Avs to make the playoffs before the game, there no longer is after the game.

The Avs got off to a good start tonight. They came out how I expected them to play against San Jose. I saw a lot of energy and quickly got a 6-1 shot advantage against the Canucks, but tonight it was the powerplay that doomed them.
Colorado did a great job killing off a 5-3 powerplay for the Canucks halfway through the period that seemed to give them a lot of momentum, but momentum went right back to the Canucks when Chris Higgins scored on a shorthanded breakaway with less than 3 minutes left in the period.

The breakaway was a result of some sketchy stick handling by Matt Hunwick followed by his indecision about whether to go for the puck, or get back on defense. The goal took a ton of energy away from the Avs.

The rest of the game reminded me of the Avs of early in the season. They were getting chances, they were getting a lot of shots, but they couldn’t find the back of the net. I have to give a lot of credit to Cory Schneider because he played fantastic, but the Avs had 5 powerplays, plus an empty net for 1:30 at the end of the game, and just couldn’t score.

They definitely had some chances, but nothing that absolutely should have gone in. Schneider didn’t allow the Avs to score on him all year. All 85ish minutes. Vancouver is 15-0-2 against the Avs in the last 17 games, and I thought Calgary gave the Avs fits.

The bottom line this year is the Avs blew it. They had games against Phoenix and San Jose, a 2-0 lead against Vancouver, and allowed only 1 goal to Vancouver in a separate game, all down the stretch. If the Avs get even 4 points from those 4 games they probably make the playoffs, but they ended up with only 1. That truly shows that the Avs are the youngest, most inexperienced team in the league. These next 3 games will be interesting with no meaningful games for the Avs or any of their opponents left.

The Avs next game is Friday against the Calgary Flames in Alberta. The game starts at 7 p.m. Mountain time.

The quicker I write this one tonight, the better, because it is hard to swallow. The Avs did manage to get a point but lost ground on most of the playoff contenders.

I didn’t get to watch all of the first period, but it looks like the Avs had a great period. Just over a minute into the game Landeskog knocked one in on the powerplay to take the early need. Exactly what the Avs needed against such a good team. But a terrible penalty by the Canucks to take a too many men penalty on the first line change of the game.

Then the Avs kill off a 5-3 powerplay for the Canucks. That has to be a huge momentum swing toward the Avs for killing off over a minute of a two man advantage. All and all, I couldn’t have asked for a better period from Colorado.

And then halfway through the second period, Semyon Varlamov makes the play of the game when he makes a tremendous pass from his crease to the Canucks blue line right to Paul Stastny who quickly got it to Jamie McGinn who beat Luongo stick side for a 2-0 lead.

I think the Avs relaxed after the goal and Vancouver never let them get their edge back. Six minutes later, Mason Raymond scored a powerplay goal over Varlamov’s glove and you could just feel it coming. The Canucks were turning it on and the Avs were sitting on the side of the road with their hood up and steam coming out.

Two minutes later, Chris Higgins got the puck in the slot, skated left, shot right, and beat Varlamov over the glove again. The tie game awoke the Avs, but Roberto Luongo is too good for a team to blow a 2-0 lead against him.

The Avs actually did a good job getting back in the game by not letting Vancouver get another goal. There was a lot of sitting back in the third period, they had chances of their own but Luongo was solid.

Overtime was a disaster. The Avs looked as comfortable on the ice as two strangers in a long elevator ride. Tyson Barrie made a TERRIBLE play by letting Jannik Hansen push him off the puck in his own zone with the force of a 10th grader. Hansen quickly got the puck to Higgins who one timed it past Varlamov for the win. Terrible play, terrible loss, terrible night for the Avs.

Other notes:

-Duchene looked better and worse. He had A TON of chances, but was not even close to scoring.

-Luongo had a great game for the Canucks

-Peter Mueller a healthy scratch for Chuck Kobasew? You can do that in November, but not with 6 games left fighting for a playoff spot.

-Three point game for SJ/PHX so the Avs lose ground on SJ and don’t gain any on PHX. Just awful. The Stars also won and the only good thing that happened for the Avs was a Kings loss to Boston.

-The Avs have an essential win or you’re not making the playoffs on Monday. They have to get it done.

The Avs next game is Monday against the San Jose Sharks at HP Pavilion. The game starts at 8:30 p.m. Mountain time.