Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Avs Get Lazy, Lose in OT, Wild Lead 2-1

Here's a fact for you to chew on:

This series marks the 4th time in NHL history that the first three games have all gone to OT. To go even further, it's the 2nd time they all ended in the same score.

Exciting hockey, right? Not for an Avs fan.

All we've seen is shutouts in the first two periods, a third period lead, and then we watch as the Wild force us to tie it or force us to try and win in OT. When you have a third period lead in playoffs, you must hold it.

But while some people (ESPN) will have you believe this game was lost in the overtime period when Pierre-Marc Bouchard scored on a play that could have/should have been icing, those same people will be wrong.

The Avs really lost this game in the second period when the Avs went 0-4 on the power play, including 10 seconds of a 5-on-3. While the power play did generate chances, it didn't put the puck in the net and failed to put the Wild away in a series that has been hard pressed to find goals before the third period.

The Avs threw 46 shots at Niklas Backstrom but just two got past him. That's either a testament to Backstrom, who has played very well, or a stat that shows our skill players not being able to finished.

Paul Stastny is having a brutal series. While superstar Marian Gaborik has been held to no points through three games, the same can be said for Stastny. He threw a lazy pass back to the blueline on a third period power play which lead to a 2-on-1 which lead to a Wild shorthanded goal. He's young, but he should know that every play needs to be strong in the playoffs.

Avalanche goals were scored by Andrew Brunette (Sakic, Wolski assists) and Joe Sakic (Forsberg, Brunette assists). It's good that the top two lines are stepping up, but what about Tyler Arnason? He's been held off the score sheet and hasn't generated anything on a line featuring Ryan Smyth and David Jones.

Jose Theodore turned in another strong performance, making 36 saves including 11/12 in OT.

Avs Need to Take Adavange TONIGHT

These two teams go back at it tonight and the Avs must take advantage. Burns, Johnsson, and Skoula all played 30+ minutes last night for Minnesota while Gaborik and Rolston both logged 25+. Adam Foote was the high man for the Avs, logging just 27 minutes.

Keys To Tonight

-Keep shutting down Gaborik

-Contain Koivu: Mikko Koivu has been the Wild's best player in this series. He has already scored two goals in this series and has made an impact on every shift.

-Tighten Up Game With Lead: The Wild have succeeded in opening up the game when they have been trying to come back and the Avs need to make sure they don't sustain any pressure in the defensive zone.

-Special Teams: Special teams can win/lose games and if the Avs have four power plays in a period, they better convert on one or two of them.

Three Stars of the Game

1. Jose Theodore (Gave the Avs a chance to win and deserves to be up 3-0 right now)
2. Joe Sakic (Two more points for Super Joe, needs to show leadership in critical Game 4)
3. Andrew Brunette (Two points, having impact in front of the net)

Next Up

As previously mentioned, game four is tonight at 10 PM EST on Versus. Wild lead the series 2-1.

Last Night...In The Playoffs

(8) Nashville defeated (1) Detroit
5-3 (Detroit Leads Series 2-1)

(2) Pittsburgh defeated (7) Ottawa
4-1 (Pittsburgh Leads Series 3-0)

Tonight...In The Playoffs

(2) San Jose vs (7) Calgary
Game 4 - 10 PM EST
Calgary Leads Series 2-1

(4) Anaheim vs (5) Dallas
Game 3 - 8:30 EST
Dallas Leads Series 2-0

(1) Montreal vs (8) Boston
Game 4 - 7 PM EST
Montreal Leads Series 2-1

(3) Washington vs (6) Philadelphia
Game 3 - 7 PM EST - VERSUS
Series Tied 1-1

Try To Watch

See if you can catch the Montreal-Boston game tonight. After the thrilling OT victory in Boston, the Bruins will try to use their momentum to even the series at two games apiece.

Video Fix

This is an unbelievable play in a college skills shootout. Think he got some style points?

BallHyped.com - Best Sports Blogs, Sports Blogger Rankings


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