Saturday, October 13, 2007

Avs Win Behind Sakic's Hat Trick

Adam Foote returned to the Pepsi Center.

Back-to-back games are always tricky for a hockey club. For the Avs, it always feels like at least one loss, if not two. Coming off that awful third period against St. Louis, the Avs played Columbus tonight and attempted to remain undefeated at home.

In the mortal words from 2001, Mission Accomplished.

Both teams had 5 on 3's early on in the game, but neither powerplay was successful.

Last night, I criticized Joe Sakic for his somewhat lazy play while coming back on defense. Super Joe scored the first goal of the game on a tip in. It was the only goal of the first.

In the second, Colmbus scored about 90 seconds in. The shot was a weird one...Budaj never even saw it. Budaj, for his career, is 3-1 against Columbus. This was a game we knew he would be good in. But all of a sudden, it was 2-1. It didn't stay that way for long. The Avs got a powerplay, and Milan Hejduk, who was one of my three stars last night, put the Avs ahead on a powerplay goal. Hejduk also scored six minutes later on an assist from Scott Hannan. Going into the third, the Avs had a nice 3-1 lead.

Once again, the Avs refused to sit back in the third period. Sakic got a quick goal and nine minutes later, Sakic completed his hat trick. This was Colorado's second hat trick this year, in just five games.

Some Thoughts:

Penalty killing was absolutely incredible. The Avalanche were 5/5 on penalty kills and they are now 9/9 in their last two games. If the PK continues to be this tight throughout the entire season, the Avs will win a lot of games.

Jordan Leopold and Ben Guite were scratches tonight. Leopold is said to be day-to-day while I still can't find information on Guite's information.

Scott Parker played his first game tonight. "The Sherriff" is as scary as ever, and couldn't help but get a penalty (for taking a jab at a cross-checker. The crosschecker ended up with a 10 minute misconduct) with just 1:19 to go in the third period. But that wasn't all. A little tussle broke out with just under a minute to go. As an Av made his way to the penalty box, Parker looked like he was on the verge of jumping out of the box and dropping the gloves with somebody. In the end, he was just sent to the locker room. But hey, he's Scott Parker. It's why he's on our side.

The line of Wojtek Wolski-Joe Sakic-Andrew Brunette was reunited for this game. They looked great, and combined for a total of six points.

Paul Stastny played alongside Milan Hejduk and Ryan Smyth tonight. The line looked great, as Jaroslav Hlinka spent time on the third line with Arnason and Svatos.

Props to Scott Hannan for shutting down Ryan Nash. We finally have our Adam Foote back.

Needs Improvement:

Faceoffs will haunt us when it comes time to play teams like Minnesota, Detroit, and Anaheim. It's an area that the team needs to work on.

Three Stars of the Game (10-13)

1. Joe Sakic (A hat trick and showed why he's still one of the best in the game)
2. Peter Budaj (24 saves, including some beauties)
3. Milan Hejduk (Put him down for the game winner, and he continues to be one of the most consistent Avs early in the season.)

Next Up

The Avs will play Calgary on Tuesday, October 16th and try to remain unbeaten at home. In three games, the Avs have scored 15 goals in the Pepsi Center. Calgary is just 2-2 to start the season, but beat Nashville 7-4 tonight. Calgary-Colorado games were shootouts last year, and lets hope it stays that way. I like Colorado's chances a lot better in a high scoring game.

The Avs played with a real energy tonight. They're at their best when they can get into the game early and get the first few shots on net. The creativity of this team is infinite.

Breaking News: Kyle Cumiskey has been recalled by the Avalanche.

More to Come in Next Post.

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