Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Avs back in playoff spot after win over Kings

If you were to ask any of the hockey experts out there if they thought we would be sitting here just after the new year and have the Colorado Avalanche, they would probably all say no way. Well here we are 3 days into the new year and the Avs find themselves holding down the number 8 seed after their shootout victory over the Los Angeles Kings last night at Staples Center.

The Avs got a break early when Jason Williams allegedly tipped the puck into the net with a high stick. It didn't look like it was high but the war room in Toronto felt otherwise since they kept with the call on the ice that it was no goal. The Kings kept the Avs in their own zone for much of the 1st period and ended the first 20 with a 12-5 shot advantage but couldn't score a good goal.

It didn't take long for the Kings to find the back of the net in the 2nd period. King's captain Dustin Brown was able to slip the puck between Semyon Varlamov's legs just over a minute and a half into the period. The Avs were able to keep the shots a little bit closer in the 2nd but the Kings still had the 9-7 edge in the period.

Jonathan Quick looked like he was on his way to his league leading 6th shutout heading into the 3rd but Ryan O'Reilly had other plans. With just under 6 minutes left to play in the 3rd, he made a nice move around a Kings defenseman and fired a beauty of a wrister off the pipe and in the net on the far side of Quick.

Varlamov stole the show. He was brilliant the whole game and the reason the Avs held on for the win as he stopped some really good Kings chances in the final frame and all 3 shooters he faced in the shootout. Varly improved to 6-0 in shootouts. He ended the game with 31 saves and was the game's 1st star.

The win gave the Avs a 22-18-1 record on the season and moved them into 8th place in the West 1 point ahead of San Jose. The Avs have played the most games in the league so the teams behind them all have games in hand. It is very important that the Avs just keep winning to avoid losing that spot. Avs now have a 3 game win streak and have won 8 of their last 10 overall.

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