The Burgundy Letter
by Martin Krantz on 10/31/11 at 04:47 PM ET
The Colorado Avalanche won against the LA Kings, 3-2, after criticized Matt Duchene scored the game-winner early in the third period. It was the first win on home ice of the season, which would’ve been a horrible start to the season if it wasn’t for the Avs dominance in road games. There was an almost audible breath of relief from the fans at Pepsi Center as the game ended. I know, because it was one of the few sounds I actually heard from the audience. In a 3-2 win against a strong opponent like the Kings, the stadium was so quiet you’d think the announcer had just said that the rest of this season’s games would be presented by Amway.
The Avs got off to a 1-0 lead in the first period with rookie Gabriel Landeskog playing on the PK (another testament to how fast he’s become one of Colorado’s more important players). He got the puck at his own blueline from Kyle Quincey, skated through the neutral zone and passed it to Chuck Kobasew. While Kobasew rounded the net, Landeskog tied up his defender by skating to the far post, making sure that Kobasew was unopposed as he scored the shorthanded goal. Landeskog’s hockey IQ is really spectacular to watch. He makes the correct decision time and time again.
The audience (12 500) cheered at Kobasew’s goal, but was quieted again as Scott Parse scored his second goal of the season. I didn’t even notice that the Kings had scored - I was watching the game on Gamecentral Live and minimized it to check out HFBoards right after the goal, only to come back to a tied game. And that’s with my earphones plugged in and a high sound setting - that’s how quiet it was.
Besides the poor attendance rating and the fact that the audience consisted of mute people (it must’ve been some special offer from the Avalanche), what do the Avs take with them from this game?
I’ve already mentioned my man-crush on Landeskog, so let’s instead take notice of former King Kyle Quincey, who’s off to a hot start with the Avs. Quincey has 8 points in 11 games (2 goals, 6 assists) and has started the year very well. He’s usually a fast starter who starts to trail off in December, but if he can keep this level of play up he’ll be incredibly important to the Avs’ playoff hopes. He seems to benefit from playing second fiddle to Erik Johnson (6 points in 11 games). Johnson wants to be the stud d-man who gets a lot of icetime and draws the attention from the other team, while Quincey can slide in under the radar.
Also, it was incredibly important for the Avs to get a goal from Matt Duchene. Mark Kiszla of the Denver Post had an article about Duchene’s slow start to the season before the Kings game. I had noted Duchene’s slow start early (October 18th), and since then he has continued to struggle, being demoted to the 4th line against Chicago last week. Getting the gamewinning goal against the Kings might’ve been just what the talented young center needed. My guess is that this goal will be remembered as the goal that broke him out of his slump and really got him going in November.
On the other hand, I’m notoriously bad at jinxing these things. With my luck, he’ll find himself on the 4th line again by next week.
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