08 June 2010
So I said I'd get around to doing a Top 10 of '09-10 and here it is, more than a month after the season ended for the Avs. I'll be counting down all 10 of the top 10 Avs moments of the season. I thought about breaking this into 2 posts, but then realized I could easily milk it for 10. Without further adieu, here we go:
When the season started, everyone (including yours truly) thought that the Avs would really take their lumps this season. There were two reasons for this attitude. First, the Avs sucked last year. The second was that the Avs were going with a youth movement, and likely would rely so much on rookies that bumps and bruises were unavoidable. But this random groundhogs day game pretty much personified the entire season, with a handful of the rookies stepping up and dominating this game.
While a 5-1 win against lowly Columbus in the depths of winter may seem like an odd time for a season highlight, this game really personified the excitement that the youth movement brought to the season.
More after the jump
Believe it or not, this was actually a close game going into the third period. Columbus opened the scoring in the first, and Kyle Quincey knotted it late in the same period. Brandon Yip scored the only goal of the second on a beauty of a pass from Kyle Cumiskey, who was jumping up in the play. Then, to start the third, Yip would put a puck between Garon's after Galiardi's strong effort led to him sending a backhand wide of the net.
That goal would give the Avs a 3-1 lead, but that lead would look tenuous, at best, when Paul Stastny took a 4min high sticking penalty. Little did any Avs fan know that that would lead to one of the best moments of the season. On the penalty kill TJ Galiardi would win the puck at the Columbus blue line and dish to Ryan O'Reilly who turned on the jets (something he's not really known for having) blow by the Columbus defender and put the puck in the net top shelf on the short side (just 10 seconds into the 4minute penalty). 4-1 and Avs and their lead now looked safe. Just to be sure, O'Reilly would add another short handed goal on the same penalty kill*, again off of an assist from Galiardi. In fact the passing demonstrated between Galiardi and O'Reilly on this penalty kill was nothing short of beautiful, as you can see by the 5th and final goal of the contest
This game was special because three Avalanche rookies were the three stars of the game. O'Reilly had two short-handed goals and was the third star of the game. Yip's two goals were only good enough for second star. Galiardi got the first star due to his four assists, and the first star was well deserved. On every goal he assisted he made a nice pass to set things up. Galiardi, Yip and O'Reilly, Average age: 21 years old. These three rookies combined to turn a close contest into a blowout, which is something good teams do. Avs fans were ecstatic about the surprisingly good season up to this point, and this game was a reminder that there's plenty of excitement in the future too.
*Technically it wasn't the same PK, because it was in the second half of the 4 minute penalty on Stastny. Semantics.
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