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Matt Duchene's 12th goal of the season gave the Colorado Avalanche a 2-1 overtime victory over the visiting Tampa Bay Lightning on Friday night. The goal from Duchene, with game with less than 90 seconds to play in overtime, was assisted by Stefan Elliot (his fourth) and Gabriel Landeskog (his 10th).
The win for Colorado moves them to 18-17-1 on the season, which bumps them above the Calgary Flames and into third place in the Northwest Division. The win is also their eighth straight victory at home, which is the longest home winning streak put together by the Avalanche since the team moved to Denver. The defeat of the Lightning was the ninth of the season for Colorado over an Eastern Conference opponent, moving their overall cross-conference record to 9-1-0.
The scoring started with less than two minutes left in the first period, when Lightning defenseman Pavel Kubina netted his second goal of the season to put Tampa up 1-0. The Avs countered halfway through the second period when center Ryan O'Reilly tied the game at one with his eighth goal of the season.
The Avs are off for the rest of the weekend, and will pick things back up again on Monday when they go on the road to face the Minnesota Wild.
Despite outshooting the Tampa Bay Lightning by seven shots (10-3) in the third period, the Colorado Avalanche were unable to break the game's 1-1 tie, and so the two teams will head into overtime after the scoreless third period. The Avalanche did actually put a puck in the net in the third period, though the "goal" was called off after referees ruled that Ryan O'Reilly had batted the puck into the net with his hand.
In order to get to overtime, the Avs had to fend off a Tampa power play after O'Reilly was called for tripping Lightning star Steven Stamkos. But, like they have all night, the Avs effectively killed Tampa's power play, keeping the game tied at one. Unfortunately for Colorado, they've also been unable to cash in any of their power plays when given the man advantage by the Lightning.
After being outshot by nine in the first period, the Colorado Avalanche put one more shot on net in the second than did the Tampa Bay Lightning. But more importantly, they tied the game 1-1 heading into the second intermission. The tying goal came almost exactly midway through the second period on winger Ryan O'Reilly's eighth goal of the season, which was assisted by Shane O'Brien and Milan Hejduk.
The Lightning were shut out in the period by Jean-Sebastian Giguere, who now has 22 stops on the night. The Avs escaped a Lightning power play late in the period when Dominic Moore drew a second penalty on the night on Avs center Jay McClement, this time for tripping. The Avs, whose penalty kill rate ranks in the bottom half of the NHL, have managed to escape both penalties without relinquishing a goal.
Defenseman Pavel Kubina's second goal of the year put the Tampa Bay Lightning up 1-0 over the Colorado Avalanche with just under two minutes to go in the first period on Friday night. The goal by Kubina, who only had five points on the year coming into the game, was assisted by Tampa's star duo of Vincent Lecavalier and Martin Saint Louis.
Despite the close score, the Avalanche were outplayed in the first period by a more energetic Lightning team. Tampa put up 14 shots to Colorado's five, eventually cashing in on the Kubina goal. The Lightning will start the second period on the power play after Jay McClement was sent to the box for hooking Tampa center Domonic Moore with only nine seconds left to play in the period. Tampa has converted 16% of their power plays on the season.
The Colorado Avalanche have discovered how to win at home; Jean-Sebastien Giguere in net, solid special teams, and a swarming defensive pressure. After Wednesday's home victory over the streaking St. Louis Blues, the Avalanche have won the first three games of this homestand and have improved their record to 17-17-1 on the season. The Tampa Bay Lightning come to town as the last game on this home stretch, giving Colorado an excellent chance at heading back on the road with a winning record and in the Western Conference playoff discussion.
The Lightning were a game away from their franchise's second Stanley Cup Finals appearance last season, but that same success has not continued this season. Despite Steven Stamkos continuing his constant presence among the league scoring leaders, their offense as a whole has struggled to produce on a consistent basis. Vincent LeCavalier and Martin St. Louis are the only other Lightning players to even reach double digits -- in fact, Tampa Bay only has five players on their entire roster that have scored more than 5 goals on the season. Their top heavy offensive production has not helped their defense either, allowing 114 goals on the season (good for 27th in the league).
For Colorado, Giguere will once again get the start in net. His excellent performances this week have allowed Semyon Varlamov plenty of time to rest his strained back. Defenseman Kyle Quincey is healthy once again, but head coach Joe Sacco will use the same lineup that has outhustled other teams this past week.
Puck drops at 7:00 p.m. MDT.
The Colorado Avalanche have struggled to find consistency so far this season, and with a 17-17-1 record and 35 points they find themselves in the bottom third of the NHL league standings. When it comes to expert power rankings, the opinions offer slightly more variation in where the Avalanche currently stand. Real Clear Sports, which looks at several leading sports sites across the internet, reveals that the Avalanche have a composite ranking of 22.67. A deeper look does show some disagreement on what direction the team is headed, however.
For example, Sports Illustrated has the highest ranking for the team (No. 19 overall), while Fox Sports drops Colorado all the way down to No. 25 overall. The crew over at SB Nation's Colorado Avalanche blog, Mile High Hockey, has no doubt taken notice of all this, but they are more focused on the chance to make franchise historyagainst the Tampa Bay Lightning on Friday night:
The Avalanche host the Lightning tonight and the Avs are trying to do something that no other Avalanche team has accomplished: win their 8th straight game at home. The franchise has seen two different 10-game streaks by the Nordiques (most recently in 1995), but the longest Avalanche streak is 7 home wins from January 23rd - February 25th 2003. The Avs haven't lost in Denver since falling 3-1 to Dallas on November 28th. Of course, they haven't won any road games in that stretch - not since October 22nd, actually - but the Avs have owned at home. Colorado is also trying to move above .500 for the first time since mid-November.
Stay tuned to SB Nation Denver for more information, and for in-depth analysis on the Colorado Avalanche be sure to visit Mile High Hockey. Visit SB Nation NHL for more news and notes around the league.
Make it seven straight wins at the Pepsi Center for the Colorado Avalanche, who defeated the surging St. Louis Blues 3-2 at home on Wednesday. The win was Colorado's third straight, and improves the team to 17-17-1 with 35 points on the season. St. Louis falls to 19-10-4 with 42 points after the loss.
Jean-Sebastien Giguere was stellar in net all night for Colorado. The Avalanche asked the world of their goalie on Wednesday, and Giguere was up to the task. Despite a multitude of quality scoring chances in the third period, the Blues failed to score. Colorado was out-shot 39-22 by St. Louis, but Giguere was good enough to preserve the win, his seventh of the year.
The Colorado Avalanche may be riding a modest winning streak, but the St. Louis Blues, winners of five of their last six games, are even hotter. After taking a 2-0 lead into the second period, Colorado will head into the third up 3-2.
The Blues finally found the scoreboard three minutes into the second when David Backes scored his 11th goal of the year off a set-up from Carlo Colaiacovo. Chris Stewart would knot the game at two for St. Louis when he beat Jean-Sebastian Giguere midway through the period for his fifth score of the season. Stewart's goal was assisted by Patrik Berglund and David Perron.
St. Louis has out-shot Colorado 28-21 through two periods. The Avalanche hold a 23-22 edge in faceoffs, while the Blues are leading in hits 16-15.
The Colorado Avalanche are looking to build a wining streak after consecutive impressive victories over the Washington Capitals and Philadelphia Flyers, and so far in their Wednesday night contest against the St. Louis Blues, the Avs are off to a good start. After one period, the Avalanche lead the Blues 2-0.
Star Paul Stastny got the scoring started with his 11 th goal of the year off assists from Matt Hunwick and Stefan Elliot just four minutes into the period. Cody McLeod would push the Avs' lead to 2-0 with his second goal of the season just a minute and a half later. McLeod's score was set up by Kevin Porter and Jan Hejda.
St. Louis out-shot the Avs 14-10 in the period. The hits were even at 7, and Colorado held a slight edge in faceoff wins, 10-9.
The Colorado Avalanche have finally found out how to win at home. After defeating the Philadelphia Flyers on Monday night, Colorado extended their home winning streak to six games and have used this surge to move up into the standings. With a win against the St. Louis Blues, Colorado would leapfrog their way into 10 place within the conference -- and potentially two points away from tying for that last playoff spot.
The Blues are a formidable opponent. Since hiring Ken Hitchcock as their head coach, St. Louis has been on an absolute tear through the league with a 13-2-4 record. They boast the hottest goaltending tandem in the league with Jaroslav Halak and former Avalanche goalie Brian Elliott in net. Elliott, acquired from the Ottawa Senators last spring, struggled in a Colorado sweater, but currently leads the league in Goals Against Average (1.43 GAA) and Save Percentage (.948 SV%). He will get the start in net for St. Louis.
For Colorado, Jean-Sebastien Giguere will get his third straight start in net as Semyon Varlamov has been plagued by a minor back strain. Giguere would have likely earned the start even without the injury, as he has been simply sensational in net for Colorado. He ranks fourth in the league with a 1.85 GAA and his .929 SV% ranks ninth. The veteran goalie has been a consistent performer for the Avalanche this season, and a big reason for this recent home streak.
Defenseman Erik Johnson -- the centerpiece of the blockbuster trade last spring -- will get his first home start against his former team. Johnson was on the Injured Reserve list earlier this month when Colorado defeated the Blues 3-2 in a dramatic shootout victory on December 2.
Puck drops at 7:30 p.m. MDT
When three periods and an overtime session wasn't enough to give a winner, the Colorado Avalanche and Philadelphia Flyers went to a shootout on Monday. Ryan O'Reilly scored the decisive goal past Ilya Bryzgalov to give the Avs a 3-2 victory at the Pepsi Center.
The Flyers had a chance to extend the shootout, but Matt Read hit the post on a 20-foot wristshot.
The Avalanche held a 2-1 advantage until the final minute of the third period. Wayne Simmonds scored his 10th goal of the year off assists from Dnny Briere and Scott Hartnell with :19 seconds reminding to send the game to overtime. Five straight shooters would score in the shootout before Read's bid went unsuccessful.
Philadelphia out-shot Colorado 33-27 in the game. Colorado held an edge in hits (17-13) and faceoffs (33-32).
The win improved the Avs to a 31-point team with a 15-17-1 overall record. The Flyers fall to 20-8-3 with the loss.
The Colorado Avalanche have made Philadelphia Flyers goalie Ilya Bryzgalov work throughout the night, and the Avs were rewarded for their effort in the second period on Monday. The Avalanche will take a 2-1 lead into the third at the Pepsi Center thanks to persistence on the offensive end.
Gabriel Landeskog tied the game at one with eight minutes remaining in the second when he scored his sixth goal of the season off assists from Shane O'Brien and Erik Johnson. Just before the period closed, T.J. Galiardi would give Colorado the lead. Galiardi beat Bryzgalov with :45 seconds left in the period for his fifth goal of the campaign. Brad Malone and Paul Stastny assisted.
Philadelphia has out-shot Colorado 22-18 through two periods, but the Avs hold an edge in faceoff wins (24-21) and hits (14-10). Philadelphia is 1-for-3 on the power play thus far, while the Avalanche are 0-for-2.
The Colorado Avalanche and Philadelphia Flyers traded shots without success for most of the first period on Monday, but a late goal by Philadelphia's Scott Hartnell gives the Flyers a 1-0 lead heading into the second period at the Pepsi Center. Hartnell's power play goal to beat Jean Sebastian Giguere was his 16th of the season, and came off assists from Jakub Voracek and Jaromir Jagr. Hartnell's goal pulls him into a tie for the lead with center Claude Giroux.
The first period was mostly even. Philadelphia out-shot Colorado 12-8. but the Avs finished with more htis (6-2) and more faceoff wins (12-9).
The first also featured three penalties. Hartnell's goal came after Gabriel Landeskog was whistled for a four minute double minor for high sticking against Kimmo Timonen. Colorado's Paul Stastny and Philly's James van Riemsdyk also drew minor penalties.
These days, former Colorado Avalanche and Montreal Canadiens goaltender Patrick Roy is coaching the Quebec Remparts in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, but as he told reporters following a victory by his team on Sunday, he'd be willing to listen to offers from NHL teams:
"Once the end of the season arrives and if a team shows some interest in me – Colorado or Montreal for example – it’s certain I would listen to see what kind of role I would have in the organization"
Roy was offered the Avalanche job back in 2008 but the two sides were not able to come to an agreement because of the amount of money for which Roy was asking.
The Colorado Avalanche played some of their best hockey of the season last week, and yet only came away with a 2-1 record after blowing a two goal lead late against the San Jose Sharks. The Avalanche return home for the next week and will play some fierce opposition. Monday night's opponent is none other than the Eastern Conference leaders, the Philadelphia Flyers.
The Flyers may lead the conference, but there are some serious issues developing in the City of Brotherly Love. Captain and future Hall of Fame defenseman Chris Pronger will miss the remainder of the season with a concussion. Leading scorer and blossoming superstar Claude Giroux has also suffered a concussion. The league's leading scorer is out indefinitely, and the Flyers will absolutely miss his scoring presence.
In goal, the Ilya Bryzgalov experiment is not quite working out as expected. Philadelphia traded away two of their top centers this offseason, clearing space for the 31 year old Russian goaltender. So far this season, Bryzgalov has a very average 2.92 GAA and .896 SV%. Then again, Philadelphia cannot complain about his 14-6-2 record in net.
For Colorado, Kevin Porter finally returns to the lineup after serving a four game suspension for his hit on Vancouver Canucks' forward David Booth. Jean-Sebastian Giguere will start his second straight game in net for the Avalanche after a quality performance against the Washington Capitals this past weekend.
The puck drops at 7:00 p.m. MDT.
Colorado has three games this week -- all at Pepsi Center.
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