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Avalanche Shuts Down Canadiens, 3-2

Posted By Donovan Wilson On Dec 19 2010 @ 11:50 pm In Colorado Avalanche | No Comments

(Denver, Colorado) – Yes, COLORADO, the Avalanche can play defense.

Tonight at the Pepsi Center it was the number one offense against the top defense in the league; and as the stars seem misaligned… it was the offensive-minded Avalanche that came out on top, 3-2. This contest had all the markings of a playoff game with some tight checking, reckless shot blocking, and sparkling goaltending.

After  Mark Cammalleri connected on a power play goal at 10:50 to give the Canadiens a 1-0 lead, the  Habs were able to shut down the high-flying Avalanche – until six seconds to go in the period when a Ryan Wilson blast from the point tied the game 1-1 and gave Colorado the lift it needed going in the second period.

Elevating its power play to a perfect 2 for 2, the Canadiens grabbed a 2-1 lead early in the second period on Alexandre Picard’s man advantage goal at 2:58. And this is where tide began to turn in favor of the Avalanche. As they have typically done all season long, when Colorado falls behind by a goal they come right back to even the score; and Kevin Porter did just that at 4:01 off a nice play by Philippe Dupuis to make it 2-2.

Relishing the momentum, the Avs began to play inspired hockey spurred by some strong defensive plays. By recapturing the play, the Avs forced the issue with the Canadiens and were able to draw an interference penalty at 13:03. Although Montreal was able to kill the penalty, the Avs remained relentless in their pursuit of the puck and connected  on a T.J. Galiardi  wrist shot at 16:12 to take a 3-2 lead into the third period.  The dominance by the Avs in the second period was seen in the shots on goal column that gave them a 15-8 advantage.

The third period began much like the first period did with some solid hitting and tight checking.  The doubts that have surrounded the Avs all season long was put in check tonight,  as they were able to play effectively in their own zone – minimizing the pressure on goaltender Craig Anderson who played a strong game with 27 saves.

The Canadiens pulled Corey Price with 1:08 left in the game for the extra attacker;  but they  failed to get anything past the Colorado defense and Anderson.

For sure, the team defense displayed tonight won this game for the Avalanche and answered some questions about their ability to clamp down defensively when the chips are down. It was the sixth victory in a row for the Avs who catapult back into first place in the Northwest Division ahead of the Vancouver Canucks.  The Avs next play the exciting Los Angeles Kings at the Pepsi Center on Tuesday.

Game Notes: The Canadiens power played clicked at 50percent tonight – going 2 for 4.  T.J Galiardi scored his first game winning goal of the season.  Paul Stastny returned to the lineup tonight for the Avs after sitting out the last game with a sore back, while Milan Hejduk sat out the game with a sore groin. Montreal has now lost four of its last five games.

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