Archive for the ‘Avs vs. Washington Capitals’ Category

Colorado had their second 6 game win streak of the season snapped by Nashville, losing for only the second time this season, but Colorado rebounded nicely and picked up two more wins against Calgary and Washington.
The Nashville game was the first game where I thought Colorado wasn’t giving 100%. Coming into the game on a six game winning streak, playing Nashville’s backup goalie, it seemed like the Avs thought the game was going to be handed to them. Nashville consistantly got out to leads, and while Colorado fought back often, every time they re-tied the game, they sat back and thought Nashville was going to give up. Another game, another highlight reel goal from Matt Duchene. This time, he split the D with his speed and went backhand, forehand, over the blocker for a beautiful finish. What amazes me most about this goal is the little strides Duchene takes once he enters the Nashville zone and starts to protect the puck. You just don’t see that happen from other people. You’ll see them on the replay from roughly the 0:40 to 0:42 mark. It just gives him that extra burst up the middle.

After that disappointing loss, the Avs came out against Calgary, and got the job done. The Avs opened the scoring with a pretty passing play that eventually led to Ryan O’Reilly one-timing a shot from the slot into the back of the net. The Avs were able to take advantage of their first 5-3 powerplay of the season, giving Colorado a 2-0 lead when Paul Stastny lifted a shot over Kari Ramo’s glove. Erik Johnson took a shot from the point, missed wide, but bounced right to Stastny’s stick at the side of the net.

John Mitchell scored the eventual game winner for Colorado, but his goal was sandwiched by a couple of Mike Cammalleri goals, both coming off of pretty passing plays. Michell just set up shop in the slot, was untouched by any Flame, and let Nathan MacKinnon do all the work to get him the puck, but was able to wrist one over Ramo’s glove. Matt Duchene added an empty netter, sealing a win for the Avs.

Finally, the Washington game. From start to finish, the Avs were the better team. They killed off all penalties against the best powerplay in the league, including a 5-3, and there was never a doubt they were the better team. Here are the goal calls:

But the absolute goal of the night goes to Gabe Landeskog


Colorado continued to rip through their early NHL schedule, with a convincing 5-1 victory over the Washington Capitals, and avoiding a classic trap game at home, edging out the Dallas Stars on Tuesday 3-2.
Semyon Varlamov returned to Washington for the first time since he was traded to Colorado in the summer of 2011, and backed up a solid 5-1 victory. I feel given that Colorado was playing in Washington, during the government shutdown, that I need to work as many puns into the recap as I can. The Avs just Cruz’d (1) to a 5-1 victory, from beginning to end, controlling the game. Alex Tanguay caught a break in the first, when his pass? deflected off a Washington stick, and between goalie Michal Neuvirth legs. Without a doubt the highlight of the game was Matt Duchene blowing past Karl Alzner for a beautiful goal. Duchene is making these types of goals look commonplace at Avs games, but it really is something special.

From there, Washington just couldn’t make up the deficit (2) as the Avs were able to shut down Washington (3). In the second period, it was Nathan MacKinnon notching his first NHL goal, beating Neuvirth on the powerplay on a feed from Paul Stastny. If MacKinnon keeps his play up, he’s going to challenge incumbent Paul Stastny for the second line center spot (4-ish).

Surprisingly, it was Colorado and not Washington who found one of their players on doing their job in the third period (5), when Erik Johnson was in the penalty box for holding, but Alex Tanguay overcame adversity, and buried a shorthanded (I know there is a joke in there somewhere) goal to give Colorado a 4-0 lead.

Somehow, Washington found a goal in the budget (6) and Eric Fehr was able to yank a shutout away from Varlamov, but Washington couldn’t add to it. At the time, it looked like Washington was proposing a comeback, only to have Jamie McGinn race in and immediately shoot it down, or up…into the left hand corner of the goal, scoring the last of the game to make it a 5-1 final. After a performance like that, they should be calling for new management in Washington (7).

Varlamov for President (8).

Onto the Dallas game, where the Stars were shooting early on, specifically on the breakaway. Ok, ok, that was a stretch, but Rich Peverley did give Dallas an early lead with a breakaway goal, with assists going to the stars of the Dallas team, Tyler Seguin, and Jamie Benn. Two of Dallas’ first five shots were breakaways, but Varlamov was able to stick out his right pad, to deny the other.

Matt Duchene continued his scoring ways, when Sergei Gonchar whiffed on a pass in his own zone, which Duchene grabbed, and quickly launched past Dan Ellis for the goal. And with just 7 seconds left in the first, Jan Hejda was able to pin ball a slap shot off of a couple of Stars, and into the net.

Dallas tied it up in the second on the powerplay, their first powerplay goal in Denver since 2009, but again, it was Matt Duchene who came flying (almost literally) into the Stars zone 3 and a half minutes later, and fired a laser past Ellis’ glove for the 3-2 lead.

The Stars ultimately went out with a bang, or should I say supernova? They came up short, but fought til the very end, winning a faceoff with 1.8 seconds left in the third, and somehow got the puck to Alex Chaisson right in front of the net, for an uncontested point black chance, but Varlamov was a black hole, sucking up the puck, and securing the victory.

It was not long ago when I was counting the Avs out, but I honestly think the Avs have turned a corner. I love how they played tonight, and how can you not love Erik Johnson? He seems to have found his game.

For the 2nd straight night, Erik Johnson has had a great game, and he finally scored a goal! That has got to be a huge monkey off of his back. There is no longer that pressure to get that first one, and I think the floodgates have opened for EJ.

And how about Cody McLeod? What a bomb from the point? Just picked a corner and sniped it. But in all seriousness, that goal was hilarious. My first reaction was a laugh. Of all the bad goals I have seen this year, that is undoubtedly the worst. It is definitely worth watching again, and especially if you have not seen it, so here it the link to WATCH

Once again JS Giguere was solid. He has been a great free agent pickup. I was really hoping Varly was going to start tonight, and was quite upset with Sacco for not starting him until I saw that he had a minor back problem. I’m sure it’s not much and he will be between the pipes against the Flyers, but it is very nice to have a great insurance policy in JS Giguere.

Sure the Capitals are struggling right now, but look at the lineup the Avs had out there. Brad Malone, Matt Hunwick, Evan Brophey, Cody McLeod: These are hardly NHL caliber players, but they still got the job done. No Ryan Wilson, no Peter Mueller, and even without Kevin Porter, the Avs still got it done.

Once again, right after Semin scores, the Avs come back, and in less than a minute, EJ blasts one from the point that finds its way into the net. If this was baseball, I would be typing the phrase “seeing eye single” right now.

I can’t help and think the Avs have turned a corner. Five in a row at home, and three very well played games in a row. This is the most optimism I’ve had with the Avs since the 5 game winning streak at the beginning of the season.

I can’t let them off the hook completely though, because last year, during these exact dates, the Avs were on a 6 game winning streak, where Duchene and Fleischmann were looking like Crosby and Malkin, and then the Avs played the Kings on December 21, lost 5-0, and I’m honestly not sure if they won another game that season.

The Avs still six 6 points back of a playoff spot having played 2 more games than the eight seed, but they are far from being out of it, like I said they were a few weeks ago. If they continue to play how they have been playing these last three games, I honestly like their chances for the playoffs.

The Avs next game is Monday against the Flyers at Pepsi Center. The game starts at 7 p.m. Mountain Time.