Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Smyth Breaks Franchise Record as Avs STORM Back

What a great game to be an Avalanche fan. After missing the entire first period (not my fault) I turned on the game to see that the Avs were down 4-0. As you can imagine, I was shocked. It's one thing to lose...it's another thing to lose four minutes into the second period. However, I kept watching, hoping for some kind of miracle.

That's when Jose Theodore was brought in for Budaj. Could it be a miracle? Probably not.

But it was.

The Avs scored FOUR UNANSWERED GOALS in the second period. The kicker? Only one of them went off an Avalanche stick. Ryan Smyth got two of them, and both times, a Calgary player deflected it in. With Calgary's lead cut to 4-2, the Avs weren't going to go down without a fight on their undefeated home ice. That's when Andrew Brunette threw the puck in front to Smyth and before it could get to him, a Calgary defenseman's skate kicked the puck in. By the way, none of these count as shots on goal. To tie the game, who but Kurt Sauer would get his first goal in two seasons.

Theodore was phenomenal and the third period became a battle between Kipper and Theo. Both played well and Calgary seemed to have regrouped well after intermission. Nonetheless, neither the third period nor OT could decide this one. The Avs entered their first shootout of the season.

Shootout Order

Woijtek Wolski: A sick little move resulted in a goal for the Avs.
Ryan Smyth: In his first attempt as an Av, Smyth slipped it through the five hole as hats were thrown onto the ice. It was not a hat trick, however, as goals in the shootout don't count towards a player's total.
Joe Sakic: Sakic's shootout woes continued as he had Kipper on the ground, but put the backhand wide.

Theodore stopped 2/3 shots to give the Avs a 5-4 win and cap off a memorable comeback.

___________________________________________________________________

Last season, one point made the difference between making and missing the Playoffs. These are the kind of games that Colorado needs to win. It was a great effort all the way around.

Player Notes:

Ryan Smyth: Set a franchise record with 12 shots on goal. He is playing as advertised, bring plenty of grit and effort to the Avs. With two goals (albeit, they were really own goals) the Avs fought all the way back from a 4-0 deficit.

Paul Stastny: Staz continues to dominate teams and he added three more assists in last night's effort. Stastny is now tied with Henrik Zetterberg for the lead league in points. (13)

Woijtek Wolski: Another solid game for Wolski. The Kurt Sauer goal was a direct result of Wolski's play to go into the corner, pressure the Flames, and throw a loose puck out towards the blue line.

Jose Theodore: Coming in for Budaj, Theodore will be credited with a well deserve win after stopping all 17 shots that he faced. This included stopping Jarome Iginla, who already had two goals in the game.

Alex Tanguay: Tanguay had several chances to beat his old team, but the Avs and Theodore held strong. Tanguay was the last shooter for the Flames in the shootout.

Milan Hejduk: He was a scratch for the game. The Duke is day-to-day with a back injury. Svatos was moved up to the second line to replace him.

Special Teams

The Avs were 1/5 on the power play, with their lone goal coming on a four minute double minor.

However, bravo to the Avs penalty unit! 5/5 in tonight's game, including a big kill with just over two minutes to go in the game. They have quite a streak going and it's obviously something the coaches have been working on.

Three Stars of the Game

1. Ryan Smyth (Franchise record and two goals...not to mention his determination on every shift)
2. Jose Theodore (One goal would have killed the Avs momentum and he made sure that it didn't happen.
3. Paul Stastny (Three more assists and he forced Keenan to use a timeout when he went out onto the ice during a crucial situation in the third.

Next Up

The Avs will be visiting the Chicago Blackhawks on Friday, October 19. This will be Colorado's first look at rookies Johnathon Toews and Patrick Kane. Chicago is 3-2 this season.

Lets hope for an Avalanche victory and possibly a winning streak? Or is that too much to ask for already?

Northwest Standings

1. Minnesota (5-0-1)
2. Colorado (4-2)
3. Vancouver (3-3)
4. Calgary (2-2-2)
5. Edmonton (2-4)

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