The Avs finally broke the curse of their third jerseys to go on to beat the Tampa Bay Lightning 2-1 in a shootout.
The Avs got a goal from Wojtek Wolski while Steve Downie scored for the Lightning.
The Avs were mostly comatose in the first 20 minutes but dominated the rest of the game, outshooting the Lightning 18-4 in the third period to get their legs moving.
The real key to this game was the two powerplays back-to-back that the Avs got. They failed to score on either but kept the puck in the zone, wheeled it around and got some good shots.
The problem with the Avs powerplay isn't personel related, it's mostly scheme related. The Avs need to denote shooters on their powerplays: people whom the other skaters look to shoot. They should have maybe two players, one high and one low, that are the shooters while the others try to get them open through picks or passing. However, the powerplay was much better than it was on Wednesday (nowhere to go but up right?)
The real reason the Avs won this game was because of two players: Wojtek Wolski and Craig Anderson. Anderson returned between the pipes for the first game since Ballard ran into him last Wednesday. He was sharp and focused but a little rusty. He let a few rebounds out that he should not have but was otherwise very good.
Wolski was mostly invisible for the first two periods but emerged in the third period. He got three scoring chances in the third and pocketed one, when he allowed a Paul Stastny shot to bounce off his hip and in. He also made his first great shootout move of the year, faking a forhand shot and put a backhander up top on Antero Niittymaki who was really good tonight.
Another guy that deserves mention but won't be mentioned in the newspapers is Ryan O'Reilly. Radar is the smartest player on the Avs. He knows when to jump in, when to fall back. When a defenseman is caught too low, he is able to fall back and that player's position. He won 58 percent of his draws, had four takeaways and was really solid on the penalty kill. If the rest of the Avs 2009 draft turns out like him, they'll be really set for years to come.
So, at the end of the day, the Avs found a way to win this game and now they get to practice tomorrow and prepare for the Calgary Flames a team with whom they are tied for first place in the Northwest division. Screw Broncos-Colts, Avs-Flames is the game to watch on Sunday.