Final score: Avs 4 Kings 3 (SO)
The Colorado turned in a hard-fought but costly victory Saturday night.
Saturday night's game against the Kings saw a return of some of the up-tempo hockey we saw to start the season. The Avs put a lot of shots towards the net (29 shots on net). The Avs passed really well and got some good play from their top two lines.
The power play benefited from a new "two pass then shoot" strategy. They were rewarded on Wolski's goal. They finally activated the defense in the offensive zone and made the defense adjust to them, opening up passing, shooting and skating lanes.
The penalty kill made some key kills. Some teams use a box, others a diamond but the Avs are use an amoeba. All the players move to block passing lanes and get into position to block shots. However, it will be easy to beat once the team with the power gets enough zone time.
Overall, it was a good victory. The Avs reverted to a very simple game. They got the puck and put it on net. It got them some really good chances and three goals.
Though the Avs won, we'll have to wait and see the cost of victory. I'm guessing Zeiler will be in street clothes the next 5-10 games for his hit on Foote. The hit on Wolski, however, was just an unfortunate play the probably is going to keep Wolski out for the next two weeks (concussion I am guessing.)
Stastny found some chemistry with Wolski and Svatos, before Wolski was injured. The line really fed off one another and provided a change of pace
Hensick also found some great chemistry with Hejduk and Smyth. Hensick was really active in both ends. He ended the night with two shots, one takeaway, one blocked shot and a lot of nice passes. So many times tonight, he would thread a pass that would hit the opposite boards because the other Avs' player wasn't expecting it to get through. He is just seeing the ice really well right now.
The third line, however, is in disarray. Tucker had one of the worst games I've seen him play in the Blue and Burghundy. He had two giveaways, a two minute minor late in the third and a lack of speed. Arnason wasn't terrible tonight but he didn't make anyone afraid of him either. Willsie, on the other hand was a great call up. He was instrumental in killing penalties and played smart, defensive hockey. Chances are good that he stays with the NHL club.
The fourth line was excellent. They charged this team with the energy they needed to overcome the injuries.
The defense also did a good job. They protected Budaj and all but shut down their first line. They adjusted well to the loss of Adam Foote and maintained their defensive zone coverage. However, the presence of Adam Foote was sorely missed. He is such a warrior and a leader, it was the toughest thing to lose him. With Sakic watching in street clothes, he is the captain and it's hard to see your captain go down on a dirty hit like Zeiler's. It will be interesting to see who takes Footers spot if he can't go on Monday.
1. Paul Stastny- a two point night, with a key goal late in the game to tie it. He was also key on the PK.
2. Dustin Brown- Had a lot of key chances and was the Kings' best player tonight.
3. T.J. Hensick- Set up the first goal and was a great change of pace. Kept the Kings' defense on their heels.