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Balanced Avs Attack Downs Coyotes in Desert

AJ Haefele Avatar
March 20, 2015

Colorado’s desperate run towards the playoffs got a needed boost Thursday night as the Avalanche beat the Arizona Coyotes 5-2 in Glendale, Arizona. While the teams they are currently chasing did not provide much help, the Avs stayed focused and took care of the business they could control by beating one of the NHL’s worst teams in the first game of a five-game road trip.

Goaltender Semyon Varlamov’s recent stretch of exemplary play continued as the netminder stopped 27 of 29 shots, giving him 7 goals against in his last 6 starts, as the Avalanche (33-26-11) moved to 77 points on the season.  With Winnipeg, San Jose, and Calgary all winning on Thursday the Avalanche ending the night exactly where they started – 11th in the Western Conference and 7 points removed from a playoff spot. With the first tiebreaker being ROWs (Regulation/Overtime wins), the Avalanche for all intents and purposes are 8 points out with 12 games to play despite the spirited effort to remain relevant in the race.

Things started off poorly in this one for the Avs as the Coyotes came out and pressured Colorado early and built a 1-0 lead off the back of Oliver Ekman-Larsson’s 18th goal of the season just over 3 minutes into the game.

The top line of the Avalanche would respond with a goal of their own to tie the score at 1 apiece as Ryan O’Reilly’s hard work splitting the Arizona defense would result in what appeared to be an own goal with the Coyotes defender accidentally knocking the puck into his own net as he tried to give the puck to goalie Louis Domingue.

Just 29 seconds later, Jarome Iginla scored his 23rd goal of the season in transition on a shot Domingue would probably like to have back to make it 2-1 Avs. Despite the surge in momentum, the Avs would end the first period down 12-8 in shots on goal.

The Avs came out in the second period with significantly improved energy and at the 8 minute mark a re-direction of a Brad Stuart shot by trade deadline-acquisition Freddie Hamilton resulted in Hamilton’s 1st career NHL goal and gave the Avs a 3-1 lead, putting them in a commanding position as the Avs improved effort ended in them out-shooting the Coyotes 13-6 in the second period.

Going into the 3rd with a 3-1 lead and on the first night of a back-to-back, the Avs seemed to relax a bit and things got tight when Joe Vitale scored a goal that was eventually disallowed because it appeared he kicked it in. The Coyotes would continue to press and Ekman-Larsson netted his 19th goal of the season on an impressive display of hand-eye coordination as he knocked the puck out of the air multiple times and off Stuart’s body and into the net, making it 3-2 Avs.

Dennis Everberg would respond minutes later with a one man rush into the Coyotes zone and in typical Everberg fashion he bulled his way to the net and caused a juicy rebound to be an easy tap-in goal for Matt Duchene, his 18th of the season to bring the score to 4-2 Avs. A late empty netter by captain Gabe Landeskog, his 20th, would bring the final score to 5-2 as the Avs polished off their 3rd straight win.

3 Stars of the Game:

  1. Oliver Ekman-Larsson – 2 goals, 8 shots, 3 hits, 25:50 TOI
  2. Freddie Hamilton – Game-winning goal
  3. Jarome Iginla – 1 goal, 3 shots, 19:02 TOI

 

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