Avs Win a Thriller over Flyers

Monday
night the Colorado Avalanche returned home with a big win following a
disappointing road trip, having lost two in a row to division rivals.  Even more disappointing was the manner in
which they lost.  In each game they had
at least a two goal lead and in each game they simply wore down and surrendered
the lead late, losing to the Oilers 6-4 and then the Canucks 5-2. 

Coming back
home after two consecutive heartbreakers, the fans had a chance to see how this
new, young Avs team would respond to adversity. 
The Avs were squaring off against a very good Philadelphia Flyers team
and without their team captain, Adam Foote, who was out with a jaw injury.

The Avs
took the ice looking angry, landing numerous stinging hits and skating with physical
aggression.  It paid off quickly, as just
over a minute into the period the Avs charged into the offensive zone, Paul
Stastny centered the puck, and David Jones slapped it into the net to give the
Avs an early 1-0 lead.  Then, 5:32 into
the period, the Avs added to their lead as Stasny scored a breakaway goal with
a nice assist from Kyle Cumiskey.  Before
you could blink, the Avs were up 2-0.

With time
running out in the first period, the Avs seemed to have the game under
control.  Then, with just 33 seconds left
in the period, the Flyers’ brought pressure and Danny Briere slapped a rebound
into the net to cut the lead in half and to give the Flyers momentum heading
into the locker room.

Surrendering
a goal right before intermission always gives the scoring team confidence and momentum
going into the next period, and tonight was no different.

Not even 30 seconds into the second period,
the Flyers attacked and Jeff Carter pushed the puck into the net to tie game at
2-2.  Just when the crowd was silenced with
thoughts of yet another blown lead, the Avs stole back the momentum as Cody
Mcleod scored with a beautiful and difficult shot that zipped past Brian
Brochure, the Flyers’ starting goalie, to put the Avs back on top.  A couple minutes later the Avs added to their
lead with another beautiful and difficult shot, this time by defender Scott
Hannan with another assist by Stasny. 

With the
Avs up 4-2 halfway into the second period, the intensity picked up and the
Flyers were looking for a fight to break the Avalanche momentum.  After a brief shoving match in front of the
Avs net and an arm’s length confrontation with Cody McLoud, the Flyers’
Laperriere wound up with a double minor, giving the Avs a power play
opportunity.  The Avs have been struggling
to score on the power play as of late, but this time they were successful as
Jones scored a nice wraparound goal for his second goal of the night. 

Later in
the period, Marek Svatos enjoyed the first fight of his professional career,
dropping the gloves against Flyer Claude Giroux in front of a cheering Avs
bench. Then Avs goalie Craig Anderson made highlights with many incredible
saves, including one in which he was laying flat on his back and yet managed to
reach out his glove to snatch a racing puck at the last second.

After a
wild and action-packed second period, the Avs went to the break with a
comfortable 5-2 lead.

The cushion
held halfway through the third period. 
But then the Flyers’ Briere scored his second goal of the night, and a
few minutes later Carter joined him with his second goal of the night as well.

Suddenly with 4:30 left in the game, the Avs were nursing a one goal lead and
memories of their two recent collapses came to mind.  In a very tight finish, the crowd held its
collective breathe in fear that it would happen again.  But solid defense, a penalty by the Flyers’
Scott Harnell, and stellar goaltending by Anderson
helped protect the lead and seal the win. 
In what was a thrilling contest with exciting twists and physical play all
the way to the end, the Avs escaped with a narrow 5-4 victory.

“We really
got away with that one,” said Stasny, “we only played 50 minutes, last
time it was 40 minutes.  You gotta do a
whole 60 minutes, especially when you’re playing a team that’s skilled up and
down the line.”

Stasny was
a primary reason that the Avs got the win. 
With team captain Adam Foote out with an injury, Stasny assumed role of
captain for the night and really came through, scoring a goal and getting two
assists.

Another
star of the game was David Jones, who put in two goals to get his season total
up to 10. 

“We did a good job of getting
it to our point guys in order to get odd-man rushes going,” said Jones.  Asked about his two-goal night, he simply
smiled and said, “it’s sweet!”

After this
great contest, it’s a shame that these two teams don’t meet more often.  With momentum shifting rapidly, hard checking
on each side of the ice, and nine total goals, this was an exciting, action-packed
thriller that left the entire stadium roaring.

“It’s
always exciting to play a different team, especially an eastern conference
team,” said Stasny. “It was a high scoring game, but it was fun!”

The win
over the Flyers left the Avs in first place in the Northwest Division.

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