Third Line's Play First-Rate
(from the Denver Post)
By Terry Frei
The Denver Post
November 8, 2007 - The third line?
On a night when the Joe Sakic- and Paul Stastny-centered lines were unproductive - as in, completely pointless - the Avalanche needed others to step up against the Edmonton Oilers on Wednesday at the Pepsi Center.
And that turned out to be the members of what is considered the third line - Tyler Arnason centering Ian Laperriere and Andrew Brunette - in Colorado's 4-3 shootout victory.
Laperriere had his first two goals of the season and an assist as the Avalanche left the Oilers with only three regulation victories, and seven overall, in a stretch of 36 regular-season games dating to Feb. 24. Arnason pitched in with a goal and an assist.
"I like playing with Tyler and Andrew," Laperriere said. "It's not hard when you're playing with two guys like that. For me, when you're playing with two guys like that, you just go to the net, put your stick on the ice and hope for the best."
Laperriere's second goal pulled the Avalanche into the 3-3 tie that got the game to overtime, and ultimately to the shootout. It wasn't a work of art, as Arnason backhanded the puck out front from behind the goal line, and it went off Laperriere's stick and in.
"I just crashed the net and Arnie put it on my shaft, and it went in," Laperriere said.
Laperriere wasn't on the ice with Arnason for his first goal, a deflection of Jeff Finger's shot from the point that slipped inside the right post and beat Edmonton goalie Dwayne Roloson at 3:46 of the first period. But with the members of what was a line for most of the night producing all three goals, it was an indispensable group contribution as the Avs fell behind 3-2 after one period and survived to get the two points.
On the sixth three-point night of his career, Laperriere had a chance at a hat trick, but his shot - with the Avs shorthanded - went off the post in the third period.
Avalanche coach Joel Quenneville said the line "was very good. Arnie has the magic touch when we play Edmonton. He's really productive against them, and their overall game as a group was extremely strong."
Avs goalie Peter Budaj was shaky in the first, giving up goals to Kyle Brodziak, Dick Tarnstrom and Ales Hemsky on 12 shots. But Budaj settled down, finishing with 30 saves - including 13 in the third period.
"He was outstanding the last two periods," Quenneville said. "(Roloson) was good at their end, too....When you look at the number of chances both teams generated, it was an exciting game in that regard, and tough on the coaches."
Colorado ended up getting credit for the win in a shootout that went four shooters. Wojtek Wolski and Marek Svatos were successful, while only Raffi Torres got the puck past Budaj for the Oilers. It ended with Marty Reasoner's shot off the goalpost.
The win came in the final game of a 4-1 homestand for Colorado, and made the Avs 8-1 at the Pepsi Center this season.
2: The number of goals right wing Ian Laperriere scored Wednesday. Oh, and it's also the number of goals Ian Laperriere has scored this season.
Avs Recap: Three stars
1. Tyler Arnason. Avalanche center scores a goal and sets up another.
2. Dick Tarnstrom. Oilers defenseman logs nearly 30 minutes and pitches in a goal.
3. Ian Laperriere. On a big night for the Arnason-centered line, Laperriere gets his first two goals of the season.
Terry Frei: 303-954-1895 or email@example.com