T.J. Galiardi made his return to the Avalanche lineup on Friday night against the Ottawa Senators, and it couldn’t have come at a better time for the team.
Already without injured forwards Milan Hejduk
(groin), Chris Stewart (hand) and Peter Mueller
(who is yet to play this season due to a head injury), Colorado was also forced to take on the Senators without the services of Paul Stastny
. The Avalanche assistant captain was held out of tonight’s contest after being checked awkwardly into the boards by Blackhawks forward Bryan Bickell and sustaining an upper-back injury during Wednesday’s 4-3 victory in Chicago.
That made the return of Galiardi – who had been out of action for five-and-a-half weeks (17 games total) – all the more crucial. The forward sustained a wrist injury on Nov. 9 versus the Calgary Flames after taking a hit along the boards from Jarome Iginla and jamming his wrist into the dasher.
Galiardi certainly didn’t take long to make his presence felt in his first contest back. He began his second shift of the evening by taking a shot from the low left circle, only to be denied by Ottawa netminder Brian Elliott. Although he also took a hit on the play after he tried to go after his own rebound, Galiardi got back up and reestablished himself in the low shot, where seconds later he tipped home a Kevin Shattenkirk point shot for his first goal since Oct. 28 against Calgary.
The goal turned out to be the first of many Colorado tallies in a 6-5 overtime victory that extended Colorado's winning streak to five games.
“It’s always nice to come back to a win," said Galiardi. "I don’t think I expected a shoot out like that but it’s been happening to us a lot this year. Anyway you can get it we will take it. We just have to go back to the drawing board in the D-zone.”
Against Ottawa, Galiardi centered a line that featured Brandon Yip and Kevin Porter
on the wings. Although he has played primarily on the left side over the past two years, Galiardi has plenty of previous experience at center.
The Calgary native played both center and left wing while coming up through the Avalanche’s system, skated at center on occasion during his brief call-up at the tail end of the 2008-09 season and started the 2009-10 campaign as Colorado’s fourth-line center before quickly being promoted.
The 6-foot-2, 190-pound forward, who had recorded six points (3g/3a) with a +2 plus/minus rating in 14 games before the injury, saw 17:51 of ice time and led the Avalanche with four shots on goal.Game Notes
With the Avalanche’s two assistant captains (Hejduk and Stastny) out of the lineup tonight, John-Michael Liles wore an ‘A’ on his sweater. He was Colorado’s lone assistant captain during the game…Matt Duchene
scored his 12th goal of the season during a 5-on-3 power play in the second period and then netted the winner 2:36 into overtime, giving the sophomore center seven points (4g/3a) in his last three games and 20 points (11g/9a) in his last 14 contests. Duchene was also originally credited with an assist on Cody McLeod
’s goal in the second period, but there was a scoring change during the second intermission and the helper was given to Philippe Dupuis instead…With two assists tonight, Dupuis recorded the second multi-point game of his career. The forward had a three-point night (1g/2a) on Nov. 6 versus Dallas.