Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Smyth returns to Edmonton as Avs get first road win

It was an emotional scene in Edmonton as the Oilers honored their long time hero, Ryan Smyth, before last night's game. Smyth, who shed tears during the tribute, was given a standing ovation for most of the night.

After a tough lost a few night's ago, the Avs came storming out of the gate with a Tyler Arnason goal, to take a very rare lead on the road. Last season, Arnason had eleven points against the Oilers. (In other words, he owns them.) But Edmonton quickly struck back to even the score. However, Jarsoslav Hlinka got his first career NHL goal and Wojtek Wolski scored on a puck that barely squeezed through the legs of Roloson, and the Avs went into the first intermission leading 3-1.

In the second, the Avs concentrated on defense and they did an outstanding job. Budaj made some tremendous saves as he stopped all twelve shots during the period.

In the third, the Avs clearly did not learn their lesson from past games. In this era of the NHL, even if you have a lead, you need to ATTACK. If you sit back and play a "prevent" defense, you're going to get scored on eventually. And that's what happened. With practically no time spent in the offensive zone, Budaj eventually let up a big rebound which the Oilers put home, to cut the lead to 3-2 with under ten minutes to go.

However, despite pulling their goalie, the Avs were able to put this game away with a Brett Clark empty net goal and they got their first road win, 4-2.

Interesting...

With an extra attacker on and one guy in the penalty box for both teams, Joel Quenville sent out Wyatt Smith, Ben Guite, Brett Clark, and Kurt Sauer to seal the game. The Avs controlled the puck and Smith slid it over to Clark for the empty net goal. The fact that Quenville trusts these guys to play in the last minute of games speaks volumes to the depth the Avs have.

On the play, both Clark and Smith had their first points of the season.

Scratches:

Milan Hejduk and Karlis Skrastins were both out. Hejduk is day-to-day.

He still looks like he's 12...

Those were the words of Mike Haynes when describing Kyle Cumiskey. Cumiskey, who was playing as the Avs 7th defenseman, logged valuable minutes and wasn't afraid to join the rush. He also made several key defensive plays to break up an odd man rush.

In his return...

Ryan Smyth had numerous chances, including a blistering slap shot which Roloson gloved, but was held pointless in the game.

Three Stars of the Game

1. Tyler Arnason (One assist and one game and he created many offensive chances. (Including a sick pass to Svatos across the ice)
2. Peter Budaj (That second period was big and stopped 25/27 shots)
3. Ian Lapperiere (A huge fight and the puck getting lost in his equipment provided some comic relief)

Next Up
Ready for Calgary? They'll be out for revenge after surrendering a 4-0 lead to the Avs last time. A second straight road win would be huge for Colorado, especially one against a divisional foe.

Friday at (TBD)

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