The way the 2010-11 season went certainly wasn't how Adam Foote wanted his career to end, but at least he and the Colorado Avalanche were able to pull out a 4-3 overtime victory over the Edmonton Oilers in the final game of the season.
The Avs were down 1-0 less than 90 seconds into the game, but Ryan O'Reilly and Mark Olver countered with goals less than a minute apart. But the Avs allowed two more goals in the second period, losing 3-1 at the start of the third period. Milan Hejduk scored a power play goal 30 seconds into the third period to tie the game at three. That was all of the offense for the period, leading to an overtime period. Unlike during most of the season, the Colorado Avalanche took advantage of a power play situation for a second time in the game. Liam Reddox, who scored one of Edmonton's goals, was called for tripping Matt Duchene at 3:11 in the period. At 3:57, David Jones scored the game-winning goal, with assists going to Duchene and Hejduk.
Foote spent over 15 minutes on the ice and had a nice hit here and there.
Avalanche goalie Peter Budaj, of course, allowed his requisite three goals, but this time it was enough to help win the game.
The Avalanche finished the season with 68 points on a 30-44-8 record.
82 regular season games have been played, and the Colorado Avalanche are looking at one of their worst seasons in franchise history. It was a long, frustrating road, but now Colorado will be watching the playoffs from the couch at home wondering what would have happened had more things gone right for them.
They will be facing a Edmonton Oilers team that hasn't had much to play for this season, having essentially been the frontrunners for the first overall draft pick since the first month of the season. With the loss of rookie forward Taylor Hall two months ago, Edmonton has been playing out the string of games with an eye on June.
The real story of this game is Avalanche captain Adam Foote. It will be his last time on an NHL hockey bench wearing a team sweater, his last time in front of the Pepsi Center home crowd, and his last chance to skate against NHL competition. It's a shame that the Avalanche couldn't stay healthy enough to give Foote one more taste of the playoffs, but at least he gets to exit the game he loves on his own terms.
It could also be the last game in an Avalanche sweater for players like Peter Budaj and Brandon Yip, two players unlikely to return to Colorado next season due to their price tag and cheaper replacements coming up behind them.
Peter Budaj will start in net, potentially his last game as a member of the Colorado Avalanche. Nikolai Khabibulin will start in net for Edmonton.