(Denver, Colorado) — The Avalanche continues to ride the crest of an elite wave, extending their winning streak to five games with a dramatic 6-5 overtime victory over the Ottawa Senators Friday night at the Pepsi Center.
Matt Duchene took on the hero role with two goals – the last in overtime to secure the victory and two points in the standings for Colorado. The Senators came out swinging last night to take a 1-0 lead less than three minutes into the contest; but as they have done all season long the Avs found a way to quickly tie the score 1-1 on T.J. Galiardi’s fourth goal of the season. It was Galiardi’s first game from a broken wrist that sidelined him for 17 games.
The inconsistent Senators, playing inspired hockey, went ahead at 7:48 and then shutdown the Avs to take a 2-1- lead into the second period. The Senators tried to take the game to the Avalanche in the second period with some solid hitting and strong forechecking, but instead… they played to Colorado’s offensive style. The Avs pulled even midway through the period on Cody McLeod’s fourth of the season before the Senators’ struck less than 90 seconds later on Matt Carkner’s goal to go up 3-2. A resilient Avalanche team cashed in on a power play opportunity — courtesy of Matt Duchene’s 12th goal of the season – to send the game into the third period tied 3-3.
Just a few days ago, the Chicago Blackhawks got caught up in a run and gun shootout with the Avs, and they lost. Tonight, it was the Senators’ turn to attempt the same fatal feat. And for a moment it looked as if they just might beat the Avs at their own game.
After Kevin Porter gave the Avs the lead for the first time tonight at 2:08 of the period, the Senators erupted for two consecutive goals – a power play tally by Jason Spezza evened the score at 4-4, and a full strength goal by Daniel Alfredsson put them ahead 5-4. The never say die Avs started to force the play and hit pay dirt when Ryan O’Reilly scored with less than four minutes remaining to send the game into overtime.
The momentum gained by the Avs near the end of the final period carried over into the extra session. Their speed, in particular, came to light along with their ability to keep the puck in the offensive zone. And that’s how Duchene won the game – with breakaway speed after being sprung by Tomas Fleischmann. The 19-year-old winger made no mistakes with a well-placed wrist shot to ice the victory at 2:36 of overtime. Craig Anderson registered the win for the Avs, making 24 saves to record his ninth victory of the season. The high-flying Avs will go for six in a row tomorrow night when they entertain the Montreal Canadiens.
Game Notes: Tonight’s victory gave the Avalanche their longest winning streak of the season. T.J Galiardi didn’t appear to lose anything by being absent for the Avs’ past 17 games. Colorado’s Milan Hejduk missed his fourth game in a row due to a groin injury; and teammate Paul Stastny needed the night off to rest a sore back.
About the Author
Written by Donovan Wilson
Donovan is a professional writer with more than 10 years of corporate communications and public relations experience. He currently resides in the Phoenix, Arizona area where he currently does freelance work for the Arizona Repubilc. With a degree in English from Brandeis University in Waltham, Mass., and a Master's degree in journalism from the University of Missouri - Columbia, Donovan has written for a variety of newspapers across the country. The single parent of an 13-year old boy, Donovan is a physical fitness enthusiast whom you can find on a soccer field or in the gym enduring an intense cardio workout. A sports enthusiast, Donovan has played competitive college hockey, soccer, and track and field. During his spare time, it’s not uncommon to see Donovan volunteering his services to a homeless shelter in Phoenix where he helps to feed the homeless. Currently, Donovan sits on the board of two nonprofit organizations – Green Nonprofits, Inc. and Queens Sickle Cell Advocacy Network, Inc. in New York City.