It just goes to show that when the Colorado Avalanche score three or more goals, they are a difficult team to contain.
The Avs broke a two-game skid against the visiting St. Louis Blues Monday night, and they did it as a team, not as individuals.
Even though the Avs got the eventual win, it didn’t come easy, as it took them a while to figure out Blues goalie Jaroslav Halak. The first period would remain scoreless, but saw the Avs come out strong and used their speed to generate many chances.
To start the second, Avs forward Brandon Yip sent a shot from the blue-line that snuck under the pads of Halak.
Just like Saturday against the Boston Bruins, the Avs took the lead but were unable to maintain the lead. Jay McClement sent a shot over the left should of Avs backup-goalie Peter Budaj, and knotted the game at one.
Five minutes later, the Blues took the lead, as Eric Brewer was fed a nice pass and sent it over Budaj’s right shoulder.
Just like the Bruins game, the Avs took the lead and then lost it with unanswered goals. The Avs were wondering if they were going to be able to come together and fight back.
Yip would turn out to be the hero, as he would score a power-play goal to tie the game back at two. Yip would find a rebound behind the net and wrap it around and under the skate of Halak.
It had been 18 games since Yip had scored and has been a healthy scratch lately, due to his lack of performance.
The third period would be an exciting period, as Kevin Shattenkirk would score another power-play goal, and forty second later, Ryan Stoa took a shot that trickled behind Halak and into the net. Initially, the referee signaled no-goal and play continued. Upon further review, it was clear that the puck completely cross the goal-line.
The Avs were in control of the game and had put the Blues in the rear-view mirror. However, the Blues didn’t plan on going quietly into the night.
With less than two minutes to go in the game, the Blues pulled Halak for the sixth-attacker. Philippe Dupuis would carry the puck into the Blues zone and shoot at the empty net to seal the deal; except that wouldn’t be the case. Dupuis would carry the puck into the zone, but the shot would be blocked and the Blues would send the puck into the Avs zone and score. David Backes would bring the Blues within one goal, and change the game completely.
The late goal fueled the Blues to fight even harder and to send everything they had at the Avs and Budaj.
With ten seconds to go, Alexander Steen found himself on the doorstep with Budaj, but Budaj would flash the leather and shut-down Steen.
The Avs would go on to protect the puck for the final few seconds and secure the victory.
Despite the score being 4-3 in favor of the Avs, this young team got the message that they need to play much better.
They came out with lots of energy and were using their speed to control the puck in the Blues zone. Yet, that wasn’t the reason why they were able to beat the Blues. The special teams were the difference in this game, as the Avs went 2-5 on the power-play and killed all three penalties.
With the special teams being the Achilles heel for this team, it was clearly night and day as to why the Avs were able to hold on to beat the Blues.
Another aspect that helped the Avs win was the help from the blue-liners. An Avs defenseman would account for at least one point on all four Avs goals. When the defenseman get the puck deep or find an open winger, the Avs tend to have a lot more success than when relying on the forwards alone.
The Avs have one more game before the All-Star break, as they will host the Phoenix Coyotes. It is not clear as to which Avs team will show up on Wednesday night, but one could hope that it is the speedy team that played Monday night.
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Written by Adam Lanning