October 16, 2009
Propelled by a third period goal from Ryan O'Reilly(notes), his first National Hockey League tally, the surging Colorado Avalanche continued their winning ways with a 3-2 victory over the Montreal Canadiens. The Avs win put them atop the Western Conference standings with 11 points and a 5-1-1 record to spoil Montreal's home opener.
Colorado managed to hang on for the one-goal win despite a final minute flurry from Montreal that featured seven Canadiens on the ice at one time. With Carey Price(notes) on the bench and Montreal head coach sending out an extra attacker to try and notch the equalizer, defenseman Hal Gill's(notes) penalty ended during the final minute and he remained on the ice, not realizing he was the seventh skater for the Canadiens:
In case you missed it, here's a still shot that captures all seven Habs attempting to tie the game:
This now becomes the second time in a recent memory that NHL refs missed an extended "too many men" situation. The last time we saw this was during Game 3 of the Stanley Cup finals when the Pittsburgh Penguins had six skaters on the ice for 21 seconds. Pittsburgh would end up winning that game 4-2.
Any breaks were not going in favor of the Avs last night. Earlier in the third period as Montreal played the puck deep into the Colorado zone, there was some question as to whether or not the puck hit the screening behind Craig Anderson(notes). The Avs goaltender was heard yelling to the referees with his stick pointing in the air to no avail. Moments later, defenseman Kyle Quincey(notes) had his stick knocked out of his hands just before Andrei Kostitsyn's(notes) pass found Tomas Plekanec(notes) to knot the game at two. Just over five minutes later O'Reilly put home his own rebound for the eventual game-winning goal.
Through seven games, it appears not even the refs can stop the Colorado Avalanche.