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Rookie, Special Teams Make An Impact

Saturday, 02.4.2012 / 5:33 PM MT / News
By Ron Knabenbauer
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Rookie, Special Teams Make An Impact
Goaltender Jean-Sebastien Giguere admitted that Colorado probably took a few too many penalties against the Vancouver Canucks, but his team came up big when they needed to.

“They were the No. 1 team on the PP coming into the game, so we knew we had to come up big,” Giguere said. “To be honest, we had too many penalties against a team like that, but we found a way to kill them. I thought we had some huge blocks.”

Maybe no block was bigger than Daniel Winnik’s in the second period.

With the Canucks grabbing momentum in the Avs’ zone after a Chuck Kobasew tripping call midway through the second period, Winnik slid across the slot and got enough of his body on the puck to deflect it wide.

Colorado would kill all five of Vancouver’s power play chances in the game. Coming into the Saturday’s contest, the Canucks were scoring on a league best 22.9 percent of their man-advantage chances, including a 24.5 percent mark on the road .

The Avalanche matched the physical intensity of the Canucks on special teams, keeping Vancouver on the perimeter and only allowing five shots to reach Giguere on the power play.

“I think it was the same type of game as the Minnesota game,” said Jay McClement, who scored his seventh goal of the season in the game. “A real physical game. It has felt like a playoff game the last two games and that is what we need. We need that intensity.”

Colorado will look to keep that intensity going on Tuesday when they host the Chicago Blackhawks at 7 p.m.

Landeskog Record

Gabriel Landeskog did his part in trying to give the Avalanche the win over the Canucks.

The rookie from Sweden set a new franchise rookie record with nine shots in the 3-2 shootout loss on Saturday at Pepsi Center.

The previous mark was eight shots, done five times before, most recently by Marek Svatos during the 2005-06 campaign.

Landeskog’s nine shots were the most by an Avalanche player since Milan Hejduk on Dec. 19, 2009 vs. Columbus.

Overall, Colorado outshot Vancouver 46-29 and have now taken more shots than its opponent in nine of the last 11 games.

“I think we played a pretty solid game to be honest,” Landeskog said. “I think we took it to these guys for the majority of the game.”

Firing a lot of pucks on net is nothing new for Landeskog, who leads the team and all NHL rookies with 161 shots this season. He needs just 24 to tie Paul Stastny’s Avalanche rookie record of 185 shots set in 2006-07.

Rough Welcome Back

In his first game in the NHL since the 2009-10 season (with Florida), Vancouver’s Byron Bitz received an unusual welcome-back present from  Cody McLeod – a fist to the face.

Bitz had only played 2:02 on the ice when he and McLeod dropped the gloves after a faceoff at center ice with 3:18 left in the opening period.

They don’t keep official win-loss records in fights, but it is safe to call it a draw, as Bitz hung in there as McLeod threw hooks and haymakers all over him.

The fighting major was McLeod’s 11th of the season. He now has 120 penalty minutes on the year.

Bitz was recalled from AHL Chicago on Friday.

More Notes

Gabriel Landeskog fired nine shots-on-goal, setting a new franchise rookie record for shots in a single game…The previous mark was eight shots done five times before, most recently by Marek Svatos during the 2005-06 campaign.

9   Gabriel Landeskog  Feb. 4, 2012 vs. Vancouver

8   Dale Hunter         Nov. 2, 1980 vs. Colorado

8   Peter Stastny       Dec. 20, 1980 at NY Islanders

8   Andrei Kovalenko     Jan. 14, 1993 vs. Montreal

8   Marek Svatos       Nov. 16, 2005 at Phoenix

8   Marek Svatos       Feb. 10, 2006 at Columbus

The Avalanche saw their 10-game shootout winning streak come to an end, falling one short of the NHL record for consecutive shootout wins…Dallas won 11 straight during the 2005-06 season…Colorado is still 7-1 in tiebreakers this year and 18-2 in their last 20 shootouts.

11 straight      Dallas             Nov. 5, 2005 - March 24, 2006

10 straight     Colorado       March 19, 2011 – Jan. 2, 2012

9 straight        Minnesota      Feb. 2, 2006 - Nov. 16, 2006

Roberto Luongo made a season-high 44 saves.

Ryan Kesler extended his goal streak to three games (3g) and his point streak to five games (4g/1a).

Jean-Sebastien Giguere has started six of the last seven games and eight of the last 10.

The Canucks have won each of the first three meetings between these two teams.  

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