Thursday, Oct. 29, 2015 Game 9
Amalie Arena, Tampa Bay, FL
The first period launched with a great scoring chance for the Avalanche, well blocked by Tampa Bay goaltender Ben Bishop. The play set the tone for the period with both teams getting odd man rushes and the goalies staying strong in their nets. Avalanche forward Alex Tanguay finally nets a goal with less than four minutes left in the period, celebrating while the officials were forced to check replay before ruling the shot as a goal. The referees missed a stick to the face of forward Matt Duchene near the end of the period. Both teams failed to convert on two power plays each and goaltender Semyon Varlamov closed out the period with an excellent save on a Tampa Bay breakaway.
The second period continued with the see-saw back and forth action and both teams continuing to make the occasional bad pass. The Avalanche failed to take advantage of their first power play of the period, hardly putting a shot on net. Forward Nathan MacKinnon managed to beat Bishop off of a great second effort pass from fellow forward Jarome Iginla nearly seven minutes into the period. Tampa Bay forward Alex Killorn, however, seized their power play chance to ring up a hard earned goal. With just a hair over a minute left, the Avalanche earn another power play opportunity yet time runs out before they can capitalize. The period ended with the Avalanche taking a 2-1 lead into the break and fifty seconds of power play left.
The Avalanche quickly gained yet another power play less than a minute into the period and then both teams followed with matching penalties 22 seconds later. The Avalanche failed to capitalize on their power play, struggling to keep the puck in the offensive end of the ice. Varlamov came up big in this period, even as the team failed to convert on another power play four and a half minutes into the period and giving Tampa Bay a power play with seven minutes remaining. The team successfully killed the late penalty, and despite going zero-for-six on the power play, pulled out the win. Beyond getting two points, the return of Varlamov to his dominant form heralds the second-best piece of news for Avalanche fans .
3 STARS OF THE GAME
Semyon Varlamov, 35 saves on 36 shots, .971 save percent
Alex Tanguay, 1 goal, 1 assist, +2 rating, 19:51 TOI
Jarome Iginla, 2 assists, 2 points, 6 shots, 19:35 TOI
PLAY OF THE GAME
Alex Tanguay's first period goal off of excellent possession play from forward Nathan MacKinnon and the hustle of Jarome Iginla set the tone for the Avalanche play for the night. The "Dad" line, as MacKinnon called it, played together for the first time this season and ignited a spark on the offensive zone.
BY THE NUMBERS
[caption id="attachment_26600" align="alignnone" width="852"] Courtesy of rinkstats.com[/caption]
[caption id="attachment_26601" align="alignnone" width="900"] Courtesy of war-on-ice.com[/caption]
[caption id="attachment_26602" align="alignnone" width="900"] Courtesy of war-on-ice.com[/caption]
QUOTE OF THE GAME
"Varly was phenomenal in the net for us..he had a strong night from the start to the end...He made some great saves...I'm going to use him tomorrow, no doubt about it..." -Head Coach Patrick Roy
Tonight's win against last year's Stanley Cup finalist team, the Tampa Bay Lightning, stops the four game losing streak and earns two crucial points in their highly competitive division. Still seventh place in the Central, the Avalanche are four points behind sixth place Winnipeg and eight points behind the division leading Nashville Predators.
The Colorado Avalanche face a short night as they play the Carolina Hurricanes next evening, Friday, Oct. 30, 2015, 5:00pm MST at the PNC Arena in Raleigh, NC.