Although he received a taste of the National Hockey League during a late-season call-up in 2008-09, Avalanche forward T.J. Galiardi saw his first extended action in 2009-10.
Galiardi enjoyed a fine rookie campaign, finishing with 39 points (15g/24a) and a +6 plus/minus rating in 70 games. His 39 points ranked sixth among first-year skaters and placed him fifth on the Avalanche’s scoring chart.
The following is a look back at Galiardi’s rookie season.Opening Night Roster – Oct. 1, 2009
Galiardi, who recorded four points (3g/1a) in 11 games at the tail end of the 2008-09 campaign, made his career first appearance on an Opening Night roster in 2009-10.
The forward and his teammates started the season on the right foot, gaining a 5-2 victory over the San Jose Sharks at Pepsi Center. Galiardi picked up an assist on the Avalanche’s first goal of the season, which came just 2:03 into the contest. After gaining control of the puck behind the San Jose net, Galiardi threw a pass back to John-Michael Liles at the right point. Liles’ shot was redirected into the net by Darcy Tucker, giving the Avalanche a 1-0 advantage.Early Adversity – Oct. 28, 2009
Even though he was primarily playing a defensive role early in the season, Galiardi experienced some success on the score sheet. Through his first 12 contests, the rookie had scored one goal and added five assists while averaging over 15 minutes of ice time.
In his 13th game, Galiardi returned to his birthplace of Calgary for a contest against the Flames. Unfortunately, the homecoming wasn’t a sweet one. Galiardi suffered an ankle injury in the contest that forced him to miss Colorado’s next nine games. He would return to action on Nov. 20 at Vancouver.Late-Game Heroics – Dec. 2, 2009
The 6-foot-2, 190-pound winger would gain quite a reputation as a clutch player during his first full NHL season, and his late goal against the Florida Panthers was just the start of it.
The Avalanche was trailing the Panthers by a 5-3 count with time winding down in regulation when fellow rookie Matt Duchene
cut the deficit in half with 57 seconds remaining. Galiardi made sure that it wouldn’t be a case of “too little, too late” as he netted the game-tying goal with just 16 seconds left in the third period. Colorado would go on to lose in a shootout, but Galiardi helped the club claim an all-important point in the process.Clutch Again – Jan. 2, 2010
Exactly one month after his clutch goal in Florida, Galiardi was at it again. This time, it was the Columbus Blue Jackets that couldn’t contain the forward late in the contest.
With the teams tied at 2-2 and the clock winding down, the Calgary native crashed the net and deposited the rebound of a Milan Hejduk
wrist shot from a tough angle with 58 seconds remaining. It was the first game-winning goal of his career and the first of three he would record during the 2009-10 season. Defense To Offense – Jan. 24, 2010
From the start of the season, Avalanche head coach Joe Sacco put a tremendous amount of faith in Galiardi’s ability to kill penalties. In fact, the winger would go on to lead all Colorado forwards in short-handed time on ice (3:01 per game). Against Dallas, that solid defense resulted in some offensive output.
Leading 1-0 during the first period, the Avs were forced to kill a Scott Hannan holding penalty. Skating short-handed, Galiardi made an aggressive play and poked the puck away from Dallas defenseman Matt Niskanen just inside the Avalanche’s blue line. Galiardi then raced toward the net on a breakaway and fired a shot at Marty Turco. The Dallas netminder made the initial stop, but Galiardi knocked in his own rebound.Four Pack – Feb. 2, 2010
Galiardi enjoyed the highest-scoring night of his career against the Columbus Blue Jackets, assisting on each of Colorado’s final four goals in a 5-1 triumph at Pepsi Center. In doing so, he became the first Avalanche rookie to have four assists in a game since Milan Hejduk
on March 28, 1999 vs. Los Angeles.
Included in those four assists was a pair of helpers on two Ryan O’Reilly short-handed goals that came 3:15 apart in the third period. Galiardi would finish the season leading all NHL rookies in short-handed points (1g/3a), a total which also marked the most short-handed points by an Avalanche player since 2000-01 when Peter Forsberg and Joe Sakic each had six.Late Again – March 22, 2010
Once again, Galiardi provided some late-game heroics when the Avs took on the Los Angeles Kings at Staples Center. With Colorado firmly in the midst of a battle for a playoff berth, the rookie helped the Avs gain a critical point after scoring with 10 seconds remaining in regulation to tie the game at 3-3.Paul Stastny
started the play by putting a nice move on Kings defenseman Rob Scuderi before throwing a shot on goal. Stastny’s attempt was stopped by Jonathan Quick, but Galiardi swooped in and cleaned up the rebound to send the contest to overtime.Playoff Debut – April 14, 2010
Galiardi also cemented his reputation as a big-game player during the 2010 Stanley Cup Playoffs. Though his offensive numbers weren’t eye-popping (two assists in six contests), his contributions were numerous. The winger was seemingly all over the ice and drew the ire of many San Jose Sharks players, notably defenseman Dan Boyle.
In his postseason debut, Galiardi picked up an assist on Chris Stewart’s game-winning goal during Game One of the Western Conference Quarterfinals.