The Colorado Avalanche played a mostly complete game in Peter Forsberg’s first game in an Avalanche sweater since 2008. Unfortunately, a couple of defensive lapses in the second period and very strong play by Columbus Blue Jackets goalie Mathieu Garon prevented Colorado from breaking their losing streak, which is now at six straight games.
Goalie Peter Budaj was spectacular in net, turning aside 29 of 31 shots. He stopped 12 shots alone in the third period, keeping the Avalanche in the game when the outcome was still in doubt.
Peter Forsberg was very good in his debut, moving the puck well and setting up his teammates. He had 17:38 of ice time and started all three periods, even mixing it up with several Blue Jackets players. Unfortunately, Garon turned in a great performance and the Avalanche were unable to beat him.
After dominating the first period and resembling the Colorado Avalanche team that dominated in December, the sloppier version from 2011 reared it’s ugly head ovnce again. Turnovers and miscues allowed the Columbus Blue Jackets back in the game, and their stars took advantage.
Goals by Rick Nash and Derick Brassard allow Columbus to head into the locker room with a one goal advantage, despite being outshot and outhit for the game. The Brassard goal was particularly painful, as John-Michael Liles failed to clear the puck from the corner of the zone. Brassard took the puck to the front of the net and pushed it past a sprawling Peter Budaj.
The game has been physical, as both teams have been called for three fighting major penalties. Cody McLeod, Daniel Winnik, and David Koci have all served time in the penalty box so far.
Colorado holds a 25-20 shot advantage over Columbus.
For the first time since the All-Star Break, the Colorado Avalanche have a lead after the first period of a game. Mired in a five game losing streak, and with the season hanging in the balance, Colorado needed a spark. Most were expecting the return of Peter Forsberg to provide that burst of energy (and he has), but it was forward Philippe Dupuis who provided the initial score.
Colorado was the better team in the first period, outshooting Columbus by a 12-6 margin and maintaining constant pressure on the Blue Jackets throughout. One period in, and the Peter Forsberg experiment appears to be going well.
Colorado can desperately use the help, as they have now lost five games in a row and have falled out of the Western Conference playoff picture. Injuries continue to plague the team, as Kyle Cumiskey and T.J. Galiardi are out for an indefinite period of time.
Columbus is a single point ahead of Colorado in the standings and has won three of their past five games -- including impressive victories over the Detroit Red Wings and Pittsburgh Penguins. They have been led by R.J. Umberger, who has five goals and 12 points in the past 10 games.