|(courtesy of Tim Vander Tukk)|
In the opening night of the season the Colorado Avalanche absolutely plummeted the Chicago Blackawks, ok that is a lie this is a biased recap but let me make it realistic. Before the start of the game the Avs '96 Cup team was honored for their 15 year reunion although based on the coverage on Versus you would think the game was between the Chicago Blackhawks and Chicago Blackhawks considering there was no Avalanche coverage except for the last 3 minutes of pregame. After about 45 minutes of the Versus pregame crew performing inappropiate sexual actions on the Hawks the game finally got underway.
The puck dropped to open the 1st period, the Hawks won the exchange and the game was over, no. The 1st period started sloppy for the Avs as they seemed quite anxious as the Hawks worked to set up early opprotunities, but the first real chance came after a tripping penalty on Mark Olver (who didn't see a second of ice time after this foul). While short handed Paul Stastny raced toward Marty Turco got the puck between his legs but the puck went off the side of the net. About 20 seconds later on the Hawks counter, while still on the PP, Bryan Bickell found the puck on his stick in a great scoring area and buryed it top shelf on Craig Anderson giving the Hawks a 1-0 lead that they would easily hold, nope. The Avs commited two more penalties in the 1st, and drew no power plays, but they seemed to have more chances on the PK then the Hawks has on the PP with a slew of SH chances. After they killed off an interference penalty by Adam Foote The Avs were on an odd man break with Chris Stewart holding the puck as Cumiskey skated along with him. Turco seemed sure Stewart would pass across to Kyle but instead Stewart held the puck and put on a sweet move to knot the game at 1-1. The 1st period would end with the game tied at 1-1 and the Avalanche leading in shots 15-11 (shocking).
The Avalanche seemed to be setting the pace early in the second period as they seemed to hold the puck much more than the Hawks. A few seconds after Duchene got back on the ice following a penalty kill the Avs drew a penalty but in the delayed penalty time Adam Foote made a shot toward goal which Matt Duchene masterly tipped right past Turco to give the Avs their first lead 2-1. The Avs kept up the intensity, pressure, and physicallity as the Hawks seemed more inclined to wait for an Avs mistake, but the Hawks were the team to make the next mistake. On the Avs 2nd PP of the game Stastny won a FO which Liles saved at the blue line and sent it back toward net. Stastny found the puck back on his stick tipping the puck to himself in better position and sneaked it past Turco to give the Avs a 3-1 lead. This led to the Pepsi Center chanting "TURCOOOOO" which was absolutely incredible I must say. Toward the end of the period the Avs had a three minute stretch where they looked like a QMJHL team and at the 18:24 mark of the 2nd Marian Hossa tipped in a shot past Anderson tocut the Avs lead to 3-2.
To the surprise of no Avalanche fans the Avs seemed to hold back to often in the 3rd period and the Hawks strategy of waiting for the young Avs to make a mistake paid off about ten minutes in. The Avs had a holding call on Cumiskey and at the 10:25 mark of the 3rd Patrick Sharp put in a shot past Anderson to tie the game at 3-3; which of course would lead to four more Hawks goals as they ran away with the game, wrong again (are you catching the drift yet?). After a number of gut wrenching chances on both ends (leaving me with a large ulcer in my stomach) the game would go to OT. The OT was very fast based both teams going up the ice back and forth even though there was only 3 shots. The Avs made their one shot in OT count as a 4 man line including Stastny, Duchene, and Liles passed around the puck until Stastny found himself a shooting lane as he snuck another one past Turco to give the Avs the win. A great start to a season with a ton of questions for the Avs.
The Actual 3 stars: 1: Stastny (2 goals- GWG) 2: Stewart (1 goal 1 assist) 3: Hossa (1 goal 1 assist)
The Biased 3 stars: 1: Stastny 2: Duchene (1 goal 1 assist) 3: Stewart
Honorable Mention: Craig Anderson (35/38 SV) Liles (2 assist)
Up Next: Avs @ Flyers Monday 10/11 7:00 PM EDT