First story written by new AnthonyRod.com contributor Sammy Mugharbil! Welcome to the crew! -Anthony
In a night where the Colorado Avalanche played one of their best games of the season, luck was not on their side as Greg Zanon was trying to clear the puck and strange deflection of a referees skate sent the puck right towards Phoenix Coyote player Kyle Chipchura who passed to the wide open Shane Doan who’s wrist shot beat Varlamov for the win. A truly bizarre way for the game to end and the Avs poor luck to begin this season continues. Now, there are positive to take out of this game. The first two periods were excellently played by the Avalanche who took the fight straight to the Coyotes.
The scoring was started by Phoenix midway through the 1st period when Coyotes captain Shane Doan wraparound attempt squeaked by Varlamov for the probably the weakest goal he has given up all year.
The Avs responded with two early goals in the 2nd period with the first goal scored by Mark Olver for his first off the season after he sent his one-timer into the roof of the net passed Coyotes goalie Mike Smith. Milan Hedjuk got the assist on the goal for his 799th point of his career. Only Joe Sakic, Paul Stastny, and Michel Goulet are part of the 800 point club in Quebec/Colorado history.
The Avs took the lead with an absolute beauty of a goal by Matt Duchene three minutes later when P.A. Parenteau sent Matt Duchene on a breakaway and Duchene speed did the rest as no Coyote player on the ice was going to touch him. Duchene did a little shimmy and froze Mike Smith and slid the puck underneath him for the goal to give the Avs the lead. The third period was a different story all together as Phoenix came out the hungrier team and pressured the Avs throughout the period.
To make matters worse, the injury bug hit the Avalanche again as Erik Johnson was hit hard into the boards and had to come off the ice visibly very upset and did not return. Just another name to the long list of injures that have plagued the Avs just 11 games into this shortened season. Unfortunately, the Coyotes pressure finally paid off and with just over eight minutes remaining Varlamov was beaten by a wrist shot from a tight angle from Oliver Ekman- Larsson. Still the goal came from a defensive turnover and if the Avs want to have any chance to make the playoffs they are going to need to cut out their defensive mistakes.
So the first overtime game for the Avs this season ends in a loss and only one point gained. It’s unfortunate because the Avs produced 43 shots on goal by in truth Mike Smith was excellent in goal for Phoenix. Additionally the Avs were great on the penalty kill shutting down the Coyotes, equally the Avs were just as poor on the power play but what else is new! Overall, a tough loss and we can only hope that this team can stick together and keep on fighting.
One thing is for sure. Our young 22 year old forward Matt Duchene keeps getting better and better. Next up for the Avalanche is a two game road trip to Minnesota and Edmonton.