Posted 12:21 AM ET | Comments 0
In a game that would have even Jeff Goldblum studdering, the Avs beat the Red Wings.
It was a wierd game, Saturday night, one that the Avs were supposed to lose. Thanks to Oli Jokinen and a snow blower, the Avs were without Paul Stastny and Joe Sakic, respectively. They had Tyler Arnason taking Paul Stastny's spot. They were starting Peter Budaj, who hasn't played well against Detroit.
However, the Avs got a few breaks. Thanks to Nasvhille, Detroit was without its captain Nicklaus Lidstrom, who had a swollen ankle ater blocking a shot. They also got their power play going.
In the first period the Avs got Power Play goals from Ruslan Salei, John-Michael Liles and Ryan Smyth. All three goals involved the Avs' new power play strategy. Before, the Avs would wheel the puck around the zone while the audience members would be shouting to shoot. In the past two games, the defensemen have been shooting more and the Avs forwards have been crashing the net. This has forced the opposing team to adjust to the shot, giving the forwards more room. It has worked, giving the Avs 5 power play goals in the last two games.
The Avs' lead wouldn't last though, as Detroit did what they do best. They stormed back forcing turnovers and trapped the Avs deep in their zone for minutes at a time. It took about seven minutes to bear fruit but in a span of about 4 minutes, the Wings scored three times on goals from Datsuk, Holsmtrom and Franzen (the guy sure loves playing the Avs.)
With the score tied going into the third the Avs weathered Detroits storm in the third (14 shots) and forced a shootout.
In the shootout, Wolski deked Conklin out of his net and just poked the puck in. Budaj stopped all three Detroit shots, with help from a post on Pavel Datsuk's shot and the Avs won.
It wasn't the prettiest win but it was a win, the second in a row vs. Detroit.
My only question is: How?
How did the Avs pull this win out of their pocket? They were outmatched on all fronts and yet they won. It will be interesting to watch and see if this team can take momentum from this and go on a slight run to catch up to the division leaders. However, after watching the last game, three things are clear:
1. Without our top two scorers out, our margin of error has completely evaporated.
2. The fate of this team rests on Ryan Smyth's shoulders.
3. The Avs will have to win the games on special teams plays.
It was a great game, but just one game. The Avs must use this as a catalyst for the second half of their season.