The Colorado Avalanche (9-1-2) are playing tonight in Calgary (7-2-1) at the Pengrowth Saddledome (Wednesday October 28, 7:30 pm MT). The Colorado Avalanche are playing their second game in as many days in Alberta. As an Oilers fan, I thought that I would change things up and take in a game that I can dispassionately watch. Are there any lessons to be learned from our foes in the North West?
Calgary Flames projected lineup:
Glencross – Conroy – Iginla
Dawes – Langkow – Bourque
Sjostrom – Jokinen – Moss
Prust – Nystrom – McGrattan
Regehr – Phaneuf
Bouwmeester – Sarich
Giordano – Johnson
Kronwall – Pardy
Colorado Avalanche projected lineup:
Period 1 Calgary 2 – Colorado 2
- Iginla opened up the scoring in the first minute of play on the second shot of the game. He took a quick snap shot from deep in the slot with a partial screen from one of the Colorado defensemen. It looks like it got through the defenseman’s skates and probably got redirected too.
- Jokinen scored just 15 seconds later on a wrap around effort.
- Colorado answered back with some good pressure down low and possession in Calgary’s zone. From what I recall, they got a few point shots off–one that went in and the other that lead to a rebound goal.
- Overall, both teams seem to play fairly simple styles of hockey–lots of dumping and chasing, battling for the puck in the corners, hard hits, simple plays like shooting on net if they have a clear shot or passing to the point for a quick shot, clogging the neutral zones.
- Neither team had made any glaring turnovers in the neutral zone leading to odd man rushes. In fact, neither team has had any highlight-reel quality rushes or plays.
- With Colorado down 2 goals, they avoided risking pinching to maintain the puck in the offensive zone.
- No fire-wagon hockey to watch here.
- Of course, neither team seems to want to pass the puck into the net like the Oilers. For the most part, if they have a shot they take it and go to the net for a rebound or get the puck to the point for a quick shot.
- Shots: 13-8 favoring Calgary
- Other than Colorado running Kipper twice, for the most part, both teams are making hard but clean hits.
- Perhaps there’s some mutual level of respect, neither team has taken cheap hits. Even Phaneuf has been cleanly taking the body.
- Colorado’s been more effective at generating pressure down low.
Period 2 – Colorado 2 / Calgary 2
- Wow, the zebras actually called a boarding call against Colorado! Imagine that? Of note, the call in this game was for a cross-check from behind that didn’t look nearly as egregious as the two involving Cogliano and Chorney.
- Calgary over-passed on the power play. Surprisingly, Calgary did not manage to get one of their trademark redirect goals on the powerplay. Why? The Calgary player was covered/tied up by a defensemen.
- Overall, this period was more of the same with both teams playing tight positionally.
- I appreciate that Chorny’s pretty green in terms of the NHL, but Calgary’s powerplay reminded of the Vancouver’s recent PP goal vs. the Oilers. I can’t remember who tipped it in for the Canucks, but I do remember that Chorney left the Nuck about 6 feet of space wide-open in front of the net.
- Calgary was held scoreless despite out-shooting Colorado 12-4 in this period alone.
Period 3 – Colorado 3 / Calgary 2
- Calgary managed to pretty much crush Colorado’s powerplay without allowing a single shot on goal.
- With Stasny on what looked like a long shift, he made a nice pass to Wolski who walked in and undressed two Flames to put the puck in the net top shelf on Kiprusoff.
- Jokinen’s looked a little more dangerous in terms of offense tonight. He showed some good speed and got a shot on net forcing Anderson to make a good save (no rebound left).
- Colorado killed a Calgary Flames power play without letting the Flames set up in their zone.
- Colorado looks like a real hockey team tonight despite getting severely out shot. They’ve played smart positionally and with a ton of hard work and effort including a pretty hard forecheck.
- Anderson looks to have pretty decent rebound control.
Post game thoughts:
Colorado managed to score three goals despite getting only 14 shots on net. Kiprusoff was beat twice high on his right side during the game and one goal resulted from a juicy rebound. Colorado seems to play a fairly tight defensive game complete with clogging up the neutral zone. The Calgary Flames fired a lot of rubber at Anderson, but to my eye, they didn’t have a very high proportion of scoring chances relative to their 32 shots on net. However, Anderson did make some timely saves and more importantly, he prevented the Flames from capitalizing on rebound chances.
After the recent Flames / Oilers game, I don’t think that I was alone in commenting on the Flames playing a particularly dirty brand of hockey. Surprisingly, they weren’t taking too many liberties against the Colorado Avalanche. The Flames were forced into taking many of their shots from the perimeter with only 8 or 9 from prime scoring locations. Unlike the earlier games vs. Edmonton, the Flames weren’t able to tip what seemed like every floater from the point into the net. Colorado was pretty effective in tying up the Flames in front of the net while giving their goalie good visibility on shots from the point. Perhaps Colorado’s been taking some supplements.