Oh baby. That was quite a game in Arizona. Reto Berra was given the start after allowing three goals in the first against Carolina Hurricanes. In less than 11 minutes today, Berra allowed three more goals. Granted, the first took a funny bounce, and the second was deflected by Nick Holden, but given Berra’s track record, my thoughts were less than charitable as he skated off the ice and Calvin Pickard came in for his second straight relief game. Once Pickard entered the net, he seemed to be a calming presence, and the Avs in front of him played well. (The minutes under Berra weren’t bad on the skater’s side of things, but obviously three goals against doesn’t look good for anybody.)
Throughout the second period, the Avs really pushed the play, and worked hard. Gabe Landeskog scored a goal on a nice backhand shot from right up close. That was the only goal of the period, but it seemed as though the Avalanche had all of the momentum going into the third. Less than two minutes into the third, Landeskog shot the puck while falling and scored his second of the game. Two and a half minutes later, Matt Duchene scored a kind of crazy goal. Duchene put the puck past goaltender Mike Smith, and proceeded to celebrate. After wrapping around the net, Duchene spotted the puck was still on the line and that the referees had yet to blow their whistle, so he swung his stick behind Smith, and slid the puck into the net. After Toronto reviewed it, they declared it a good goal (in what was perhaps the first decision Toronto has made this season that benefited the Avs). At this point, the Coyotes woke up a bit, and the remainder of the period was an exciting back and forth between the two teams.
Once overtime started, there were two different situations where the referees chose not to make a call that would have favored the Avalanche. The first, Erik Johnson was hit in the head by Mike Hanzal. Johnson had leaned down in order to shoot, and then Hanzal deliberately shoved his hands forward and smacked him in the head, knocking Johnson down flat. While I can see not making any sort of call as a referee, if Johnson ends up injured, the league had better dish out some supplementary discipline. Then, at another point, Keith Yandle lost Matt Duchene and knocked down his own net to prevent the Avs from shooting. It looked pretty deliberate
and lame to me, but apparently the refs disagreed. Luckily, at the end of the night, it didn’t really matter. Danny Briere threw the puck in front of the net, where it was deflected off of a Coyote player and past Mike Smith.
For the first time this season, the Avalanche have won a game in overtime. Hopefully, Erik Johnson is okay, given the fact that he has been the Avs best player this season. Calvin Pickard should really be started for tomorrow’s game in my opinion (he only made 25 saves tonight in relief, and is sitting on a 95 minute shut out streak), but we’ll see what Patrick Roy decides to do.
-The team only took one unmatched penalty tonight (technically two Avs had penalties, but Cody McLeod’s came from a fight, so neither team ended up with an advantage). The boys have to realize how much more likely they are to win when they stay out of the box (with this game, the game against Carolina, and the game against New Jersey as exhibits A, B, and C.)
-Matt Duchene killed it on faceoffs today-77%.
-Landeskog had 6 shots on net and 5 hits.
-Nick Holden really looked rough again tonight. He’s got to turn it around.
-I always pronounce Calvin Pickard’s last name like Jean-Luc Picard’s last name on Star Trek: The Next Generation. Even though I know it’s not the same at this point, I’ve been doing it since he was drafted.