Monday, December 31, 2007

Avs Lose to Last Place Kings, Theodore to Blame?

It was a boring game. There's no debate. All the same, it was a game the Avs should have won. Playing the last place Kings, the Avs got ahead early on a Jordan Leopold goal. Leopold, returning to the lineup (finally) played a very solid game both on offense and defense.

The rest of the game was just boring. With 21 shots through two periods for Colorado, the score was still 1-0.

That lack of finish ended up costing them the game. LA scored once and then they scored twice - in span of 2 minutes, the Avs were suddenly a few minutes away from blowing this game. And blow it they did.

Boring. Awful. Saddening. To play the great Red Wings so well and then to come out two nights later and lose to the Kings? It's these kind of losses that make a difference come April. We all saw how much one point can mean in any given season. This may come back to haunt us.

Where was our scoring line? Stasnty, Hejduk, and Smyth were non-existent throughout the entire game.

On the plus side, Jaroslav Hlinka has stepped into that second line center role and played exceptionally well. He's been an impact player as of later.

On the goalie front, Jose Theodore finally got a start and responded by having an easy first two periods, and then not being able to make two fairly simple saves. Theodore must go people. It'll be almost impossible to find a trade partner, but after this season is over, I'll be happy to see his salary go towards locking up some of our younger guys.

Three Stars of the Game

1. Jordan Leopold (A goal and a great defensive effort in his comeback performance)
2. Jaroslav Hlinka (His passing skills are starting to be noticed and the man is stepping up)
3. Marek Svatos (Showing great effort the last few games and was trying to make things happen all night long)

Next Up
The Avs last game of 2007 will be played against the SECOND worst team in the Western Conference, the Phoenix Coyotes. The Avs are 9-1 in their last 10 games against them. Peter Budaj will be in net tonight.

Against LA, Quenville dressed seven defensemen and made Brad Richardson a healthy scratch. The strategy didn't seem to hurt us too much, but it's an interesting move considering Sakic's injury.

Video Fix

Here's an NHL montage made by your's truly. Enjoy the memories as we head into 2008.

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Friday, December 28, 2007

Avs Play Well; Lose to Detroit - Sakic Out For 3 Months

The Avs-Detroit series hasn't been about the violence as much as it has been about the hockey as of late. These are clearly two of the most skilled teams in the NHL and last night they treated fans to a very well-played hockey game.

The Red Wings got off to a quick start in the first period, jumping out to a 2-0 lead. The Wings, a team that controls the puck better than anybody, is almost imposssible to beat if they've gotten the lead on you. But the Avs fought back.

First Goal Alert!

With under a minute to go in the period, Cody McLeod intercepted a pass in Detroit's zone, walked in all alone, and beat the great Dominick Hasek. It was a beautiful goal in which McLeod later commented:

"I'm not even sure if I was looking where I was shooting."

Congratulations to him.

With a 2-1 deficit going into the second, the Avs came out very strong, throwing puck after puck on net. The Red Wings, at 23 shots per game, give up the fewest in the entire league. The Avs had 21 through two periods, but just 3 shots in the third.

On a shot thrown on net by Jeff Finger and Jaroslav Hlinka, Marek Svatos scored one of his infamous "down-low" goals and tied up the game.

The rest of the second was played in Detroit's favor, but Peter Budaj continued his strong play. However, with 11 seconds left, Detroit scored again on a killer shot by Samuelsson to take the lead.

In the third, the Avs continued to press. The defensemen were coming up into the play, including Kyle Cumiskey who almosth had won with under two minutes to go.

After pulling the goaltender, Detroit scored to wrap up a 4-2 victory.

If this game can be considered a measuring stick, then we should be happy with the Avs game right now. They played very well against the best team in the NHL, even while missing some key pieces.

Important Notes

Joe Sakic will undergo hernia surgery which will make him miss 8-12 weeks. A blow to the Avs, this means players such as Wojtek Wolski, Jaroslav Hlinka, Andrew Brunette, and Ryan Smyth will need to continue to step up their games and put the puck in the back of the net. Get well soon, Captain.

The Avs took their first penalty in this game with just nine minutes to go in the third period. Discipline is important and the Avs are very good at keeping out of the box.

Three Stars of the Game

1. Cody McLeod (First NHL goal, provided grit and great defensive work ethic)
2. Marek Svatos (The other goal, drew two penalties)
3. Ryan Smyth (In his return, Smyth probably should have had at least two goals)

Next Up

The Avs will play the Los Angeles Kings, whom they beat 4-2 in their last meeting. This is a crucial time for the Avs, who really need to take advantage of these games and start racking up two points each night.

Video Fix

Here are all of the highlights from the Wings-Avs game. McLeod's goal can be seen starting at 1:27 on the video.

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Sunday, December 23, 2007

Avs Beat Nucks, Improve to 15-3 at Home

Some games are just fun to watch. This was one of them. It was nice to FINALLY see some things in this game that the Avs have lacked for awhile.

It was a 3-1 win in favor of Colorado, but look at some of these notes:

Cody McLeod may as well be credited with Colorado's first goal. His check in Vancouver's zone set the play up so Marek Svatos could put the puck behind Luongo.

With the game tied 1-1, Cody McCormick laid a huge hit on Ryan Kessler. He followed this up with the GWG a few minutes later on a beautiful shot that got past Luongo on the stick side. McCormick was physical all night long and this kid may have finally cracked the lineup for good.

Andrew Brunette's insurance goal in the third period was a thing of beauty. Planting himself in front of the net, Brunette used "Gordan Bombay's" triple deke to beat Luongo. It was, perhaps, one of his finest goals that he has ever scored.

Peter Budaj is now the #1 goalie again. His sixth straight start resulted in another win. With 21 saves, Budaj has been playing some great hockey.

Ben Guite, Ian Laperriere, and Cody McCormick make up the best fourth line this team has seen in awhile. Not only did they start the game for the Avs, they also finished it. They were consistently put out against the Sedins and contribute energy, grit, and great defensive hockey.

John-Michael Liles's 21+ minutes of ice time tonight was well-deserved. He has played his two best defensive games the past two games and consistently jumped up into the play tonight, taking calculated risks each time.

Special teams were a huge factor against Vancouver. The penalty killing (6/6) and power play (1-6) came through at the biggest of times.

This win helped move the Avs into FIRST PLACE in the Northwest Division before the Christmas break. They are doing all of this without their stars - Joe Sakic and Ryan Smyth and are playing some of their best hockey right now.

The Avs have gone in and beaten two of the best goaltenders in the game (Luongo and King Henrik) and have tons of momentum going into their next game.

Three Stars of the Game

1. Cody McCormick (Talk about a hardworker. That goal was the biggest he's ever scored)
2. John-Michael Liles (An assist, tons of ice time, and starting to show some leadership)
3. Peter Budaj (21 saves, outdeuled Luongo)

Next Up

Hold on to your seats folks! The Detroit Red Wings are next up for the Avs as Colorado tries to keep busting out the wins. Detroit has been far and away the best team in the league this year, but Colorado is playing very good hockey right now. Look for Budaj to get his seventh straight start.

The game will be on Thursday, Colorado's first after the Christmas freeze.

Another great night in Avalanche Country!

Video Fix

A new feature on the blog! In future editions, you'll see more current action, but lets just start out with an old favorite!

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2-Game Recap: 12 Shots/1 Point vs Ducks, Big Win vs Rangers

Anaheim

In one of the worst offensive performances in Avs history, Peter Budaj saved the day and stopped 35+ shots in a 2-1 loss. However, the Avs did get a point in OT.

Cody McCormick scored the lone goal and to be fair, Ryan Smyth and Joe Sakic were still out of the lineup. It was more of a game where the Avs were just trying to hold on and grab a point.

And to give credit where credit is due, the Avs managed to get one point in the very close Northwest Division.

Three Stars of the Game

1. Peter Budaj (Huge saves and the entire game was played in Colorado's zone)
2. Cody McCormick (Continued to be impressed by him)
3. None

Notes

Cody McLeod played in his first ever NHL game and managed to bring some grit to the lineup.

New York

What a great effort by Colorado in this one! Despite missing Sakic and Smyth, the Avs played a very strong offensive game. Down 1-0 in the second, Milan Hejduk came through on the power play to tie the game up. Four minutes later, Hejduk scored again to make it 2-1. That success was short lived when Rozisval came down the ice to tie the game. One minute later, the Rangers took the lead back and made it 3-2.

The third period turned out to be a fun one when Marek Svatos scored with 12 mintues to go to tie the game up.

In OT, just one minute in, the Avs had a 2-on-1, had it broken up, and Jeff Finger came through the slot, put the puck on net, and Wojtek Wolski was there to knock it in.

To quote Mike Haynes, Wojtek Wolski! Wojtek Wolski!

A big two points for the Avs and another big game for Budaj. (Especially in the third period)

Notes

Due to the Ryan Smyth and Joe Sakic injuries, the Avs called up David Jones from the Monsters. He had two golden chances to score his first NHL goal, but just missed on both of them. Look out for this kid in the future.

TJ Hensick notched an assist for his second NHL point.

Three Stars of the Game

1. Milan Hejduk (Yeah! Two more goals as he ties Stastny for the team lead!
2. Wojtek Wolski (The OT winner and he received some penalty kill time)
3. Peter Budaj (20 saves, including some huge ones in the third. 3/4 on PK)

Next Up

The Avs played the hated Vancouver Canucks TONIGHT at the Pepsi Center. The Avs are looking for their 5th straight home win and this should be a fun one.

Apologies

Look for longer posts from now on and no more "2-Day Recaps"

Enjoy the game.

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Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Three Stars Standings

Three Stars of the Game - Standings (Through 33 Games)


1. Paul Stastny: 25
2. Milan Hejduk: 17
3. Ryan Smyth: 13
3. Peter Budaj: 13
3. Ian Lapperiere: 13
6. Jose Theodore: 11
7. Joe Sakic: 10
8. Marek Svatos: 9
9. Wojtek Wolski: 7
9. Brett Clark: 7
11. Ben Guite: 6
11. Andrew Brunette: 6
11. Tyler Arnason: 6
13. Wyatt Smith: 5
13. Jaroslav Hlinka: 5
15. Jeff Finger: 3
15. Scott Parker: 3
15. TJ Hensick: 3
18. John-Michael Liles: 2
18. Scott Hannan: 2
20. Kyle Cumiskey: 1
20. Karlis Skrastins: 1
20. Kurt Sauer: 1
20. Tyler Weinman: 1
*First=3 Points
*Second=2 Points
*Third=1 Point

Analysis

The highest d-man on the list, Brett Clark, is tied for 9th, and this is probably accurate in how the defense has been playing this season. Very up-and-down, with Clark being our best guy.

Out of the top three, there aren't many surprises, except for Ian Laperriere and Peter Budaj being tied for that spot. As shown by the Avs losing streak, Lappy does make a difference. When it comes to goaltenders, they clearly have an advantage when they win a game at getting a first or second star vote.

Joe Sakic behind Jose Theodore? Blame the nine games Sakic has missed in the last month.

Most points since the 10-game update? Try Paul Stastny's 16-point jump. It's one point more than Milan Hejduk's 15-point jump.

Fewest points since the 10-game update? Tyler Weinman earned the third star (1 point) in an early season game. He hasn't seen any action since. (0 points)

Most Likely to Ovetake Stastny: Milan Hejduk
Most Likely to Rise: Joe Sakic
Most Likely to Fall: Ian Laperierre

Hope you enjoyed the update!

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2-Game Recap: Another Win vs Nashville, Third Straight vs LA

Short Ones:

Nashville

A huge 60-minute effort resulted in a beautiful 3-1 win against Nashville on Saturday night. After getting outshot 17-5 in a scoreless first period, the Avs score two goals unanswered, including one by Marek Svatos, which would go on to be the winner. In the third, with a 2-1 lead, Jordan Leopold showed Colorado fans a flash of what he can bring, by scoring his first goal of the season.

Ryan Smyth had a two point night, while Peter Budaj registered an assist.

Three Stars of the Game

1. Peter Budaj (30+ saves and finally won the Avs the game)
2. Jordan Leopold (Got on the score sheet and played a solid game overall)
3. Ben Guite (Has stepped up and is now starting to shoot the puck more)

Los Angeles

The Avs came out fast and furious, scoring THREE first period goals (Smyth, Hlinka, and Stastny) while allowing ZERO through the first two periods. In the third, the Avs slipped up a little bit, and their lead was cut to TWO before five minutes have gone by in the third. From that point on, the defense played very well, and the Avs outshot the Kings 40 to 21 in a 4-2 victory.

Three Stars of the Game

1. Brett Clark (2 assists, 28 minutes of ice time, +2, and four shots)
2. Paul Stastny (2 more points for the amazing sophomore)
3. Ryan Smyth (Another goal and continues to average 20+ minutes of ice time)

Next Up

@Anaheim
Wednesday - 10 PM EST

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Saturday, December 15, 2007

Two Very Different Games - Loss vs Columbus, Win vs Nashville

The first game, on Wendesday, was a disaster. Losing 4-1 to Colubmus may be bad, but when you realize it's the second loss within the last 30 days? Disgusting. The lone goal was scored by Ben Guite, but besides that, Theodore was awful. In the second period, the Avalanche defense let just one shot get by - for a goal. Offense was almost impossible to generate and it was a miracle Pascal Leclaire didn't get ANOTHER shut out. Not a fun one.

Three Stars of the Game

1. Ben Guite (One goal, increased minutes)
2. Ice Girl
3. Ice Girl #2

The second game was completely different. For the third out of fourth time in back-to-back games, the Avs pulled out an impressive victory. In a 2-1 victory (in which Nashville scored their only goal with 20 seconds left to play) the defense was stellar. Ian Laperriere and Jordan Leopold were both back in the lineup and Lappy even had the GWG. Tyler Arnason was out for the game, as was Joe Sakic. This lead to a BIG increase in Ben Guite's ice time. On a night with a short bench, Ryan Smyth was double shifted and added a goal to reward his efforts. Peter Budaj played very well, securing the start for the next game. Great job, boys!

Three Stars of the Game

1. Ian Laperriere (GWG and is finally back!)
2. Ryan Smyth (On back-to-back nights, he was being double shifted and he added a goal.)
3. Ben Guite (Talk about a guy taking some extra responsibility)

Next Up

The Avs complete a home-and-home series with the Predators TONIGHT in Colorado. Look for Budaj to get the start.

Go Avs!

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Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Avs Beat Blues In Blowout - Hejduk: 6 Points, 1,000th Franchise Win

It was one of those nights where you love to be a hockey fan. Tons of scoring and even better, an Avalanche victory. A lead that was 6-2 going into the third, was cut to 6-4 just two minutes in, and every Avs fan was ready to turn off their TV. But they responded and ended up winning 9-5. Here are some highlights:

First off, this was win # 1,000 in franchise history. They are one of the fastest teams to EVER reach this terrific milestone. Congratulations!

Not only did Milan Hejduk have three goals, but he had three assists as well. A six point night is something special and Hejduk has been working hard and deserved it. He was also named the NHL's First Star that night.

Paul Stastny had a "pretty good" game as well. A five point night for the kid would have been terrific if Hejduk hadn't one upped him!

Wojtek Wolski had a solid two goals in the game. Even more impressive is his 17 minutes of ice time and his improved defensive work.

Brett Clark had a goal and an assist. Also in on the scoring was Ryan Smyth (two goals, one assist), John-Michael Liles (two assists), Jaroslav Hlinka (one assist), Scott Hannan (two assists), Andrew Brunette (two assists), and TJ Hensick (one assist).

Yeah, we were that good.

On the goalie front, Theodore made 24 saves on 28 shots, not counting the penalty shot goal scored against him.

Most of the goals were good ones. But no complaints.

Three Stars of the Game

1. Milan Hejduk (A hat trick is rare, six points is just extraordinary)
2. Paul Stastny (Five point night, keeping pace in scoring race)
3. Brett Clark (Very solid defensively AND he jumped into the play more)

Next Up

The Avs hope to build on their two game winning streak TONIGHT against the Columbus Blue Jackets. We all remember what happened last time these two teams met, so hopefully the Avs get some revenge.

Q is officially off the immediate chopping block if they can win this game impressively.

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Sunday, December 9, 2007

Avs Beat Flyers!!!! WOOHOO!

Yeah, baby, yeah! My hometown Flyers were defeated and I couldn't be happier. The Avs played a fantastic game and their 60-minute effort paid off tremendously.

A high energy, scorless first period saw some great chances for both teams. The Avs were without Joe Sakic for the fourth straight game and Ian Laperierre had been placed on IR earlier in the day. This being said, the lines of Stastny-Hejduk-Smyth and Arnason-Hlinka-Brunette were the two big ones of the night.

In the second period, the Avs went on the power play pretty early when a bad cross ice pass was made. Mike Richards, who has been Philly's MVP this season flew in on a breakaway and was STONED by Jose Theodore, who played remarkably well. Four minutes later, the Avs carried the momentum from that save and Jaroslav Hlinka remained hot, scoring his second goal this season. However, a bit of a defensive breakdown lead to a Daniel Briere goal a few mintues later.

Then, with under a minute left in the period, the Avs received a second power play. And with that power play, Milan Hejduk continued his hot streak with a big time goal with just over 2 seconds to play.

That goal held up to be the last, as the Avs continued to play a great defensive game all the way into the 3rd as they held on for the win, 2-1.

Big Time Players

Scott Hannan has been torn apart in this blog, but he played extremely well. He was physical all game long and helped control the front of the net. He made ZERO turnovers at the blueline and looks like the man from San Jose who Colorado thought/knew they were getting.

John-Michael Liles played a great game as well. Using his stick effectively, Liles broke up numerous plays. He also helped create countless scoring chances by jumping up into the play and starting odd man rushes.

Paul Stastny not only continues to show up on the score chart, but also is playing well in his own zone. He played two way hockey tonight and showed us why he is the future of this franchise.

Jose Theodore earned this win and should be rewarded with another shot. His save on Richards's breakaway was one of his biggest this season.

Ben Guite's line played with high energy and helped get the Avs moving. Props to Cody McCormick as well.

More Positives:

The penalty kill pressured the Flyer's fowards each and every time and were rewarded with a very solid game.

The power play also looked good, getting a lot of shots and chances each time.

Colorado did a much better job of finishing their hits in this game. I could barely believe it when I heard that beautiful sound of bodies hitting boards. Great job all around.


Three Stars of the Game

1. Jose Theodore (28 saves, including a few big ones - he won us this game)
2. Scott Hannan (Played his physical style and was a force down low)
3. Paul Stastny (It was his playmaking and energy that helped make the Avs go)

Next Up

The Avs will play the St. Louis Blues and Manny Legace TONIGHT. Their record against Legace is less than extraordinary, so lets hope they can make it TWO IN A ROW!

GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO AVSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS!

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Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Fire Q? Loss @ Columbus an utter disaster - Greast game

One word comes to mind after witnessing this game.

Wow.

To think that the Avs were up 3-1 going into the third period, Pascal Leclaire left the game in the third period, and momentum was completely on our side. It seems like such a long time ago.

Despite goals by Finger, Hejduk, and Wolski to give the Avs a 3-1 lead, the Blue Jackets managed to tie the game and eventually take the lead, 4-3, with about 5 minutes to go. They didn't hold onto it for long, as Scott Hannan, who I'll get to later, managed to tie it up. Of course, during these stretches, teams tend to have no luck. Columbus marched right back down the ice and took the lead for the final time. 5-4. We lose. Disgusting.

Wow.

But hey, it was a great game. By hockey standards, it's a game that should be shown to a national audience and used to market its potential.

Anyway...

Scott Hannan

He's a shutdown defenseman. He has one true job - take out the other team's best player. In this case, it's Rick Nash and on his two goals, Hannan didn't do his job. He either went to the puck carrier (or who he thought was the puck carrier) and didn't take care of Nash. Both times, Nash put the puck in the back of the net.

For a guy who was supposed to be a big time player in Colorado, he certainly has exceeded expectations...or even met them. Forget +/-. It's Hannan who consistently turns the puck over at the blueline, a feat which lead to ANOTHER goal in this game.

Cody!

Cody McCormick got into a fight tonight. Yippee. Maybe it means we won't need Parker in the coming weeks.

Fire Q?

I haven't exactly stated my position yet, but I'm coming very close. Blowing games like this - there's no positive for anybody. We'll see how Q gets them to respond against the Flyers, but Q is absolutely killing our goalies right now and Giguere needs to start looking around. A Pat Burns or Larry Robinson wouldn't be a bad place to start.

Hejduk Stays Hot

Two more points for Hejduk tonight. Team MVP thus far.

Peter Budaj

Player very well most of the night. I actually missed two of the goals because the feed on Center Ice went in and out, but on the three goals I did see, there was really nothing that could have been done.

Hard Work

To be fair, the Avs did work hard most of the night. They scored on the powerplay and will hopefully try and rally around this loss and try and go on a run.

Laperriere and Svatos Return

Both players were in the lineup and played pretty well. Svatos had a nice chance in the second period and hasn't appeared to have lost any steps. Lappy wasn't heard from most of the game.

Three Stars of the Game

1. Paul Stastny (Another multipoint night, and it's even more impressive since he's playing as the #1 center right now)
2. Milan Hejduk (He's a regular in the Three Stars right now. A bright spot)
3. Karlis Skrastins (Played well tonight, jumped up into the play, and made key plays which turned out not to matter)

Next Up

The Avs return to home ice to play my second least favorite team, the Philadelphia Flyers. This one has personal meaning to me and I'll have a special post about it on Friday.

Tough night, Avs fans.

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A full 60 minute effort in Avs loss

They didn't play badly. In fact, the Avalanche outshot the Sharks all game, played the majority of the 3rd period in San Jose's zone, and even managed to respond to an early goal by scoring one of their own.

However, the goals by Hejduk and Brunette were not enough to defeat San Jose, who scored three very weak (albeit, bouncing) goals.

For once, it wasn't about the lack of effort. The forecheck looked very good and the penalty kill, 4-4 on the night, put pressure on the puckhandler instead of just staying in the passive box.

Jose Theodore, who let up three goals in which the puck was deflected, was given his second straight start after a strong effort against the Kings

One Positive

Shots! The Avs were finally shooting the puck and on Brunette's second goal, which cut the lead to one with about 3 minutes to go, the puck went in because it was thrown at the net.

Notes

AS of 12/5, Wyatt Smith has been put on waivers. More news to come.

Ian Laperriere has been activated and is expected to play tonight.

Joe Sakic will miss his second straight game tonight with a groin injury.

Three Stars of the Game

1. Milan Hejduk (100% effort on every shift...responded to San Jose's goal right away)
2. Andrew Brunette (Despite being sick and receiving limited ice time, he finally scored)
3. Francois Giguere (At least he's trying to put together a real team)

Next Up

The Avs take a 1-day road trip to Columbus, tonight, to try and solve the mystery that is Pascal Leclaire. Peter Budaj will start in net.

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Monday, December 3, 2007

Hensick Gets First Goal In Win

The first 18 minutes were pretty awful. The stinking Kings took it to the Avs and managed to ttake two goals from Jose Theodore in the first 18 minutes of the game. The Avs looked basically dead in the water until Paul Stastny got another point on the road to cut the lead to one.

In the second and third, it was all Avs. 11 minutes into the second, TJ Hensick took a pass at the red line, put on a burst of speed, and score on a breakaway to net his first career NHL goal in just his second game. May it be the first of many!

Heading into the third, with the game knotted at 2, it took Ryan Smyth just 11 seconds to give the Avs the lead, and they never looked back, with Smyth getting the insurance goal and Hlinka providing the fifth one, the Avs beat the Kings 5-2.

Big Positives

-A win on the road!

-Hensick's first career goal

-A 42 minute effort instead of the usual 20

-3 for 3 on the penalty kill

Notes/Injuries

Joe Sakic is listed as day-to-day with a groin injury. No news on tonight's game.

Kurt Sauer was placed on IR on Sunday - No defenseman has been called up

Brad Richardson was called up soon after Sauer got injured. No clue as to why

Marek Svatos is still game-to-game with a groin injury

Ian Laperriere is scheduled to come back soon, hopefully for the Flyers game.

Andrew Brunette was given just four minutes of ice time. Scott Parker actually played 46 more seconds in the game.

Three Stars of the Game

1. TJ Hensick (CONGRATULATIONS to him on his first NHL goal, especially since it changed the momentum)
2. Ryan Smyth (Three point night for Smyth, also accidentally injured LaBarbera in the third)
3. Paul Stastny (He's starting to score on the road and he had not only the first goal, but the assist on the fourth goal)

Next Up

The Avs will play the San Jose Sharks for the second time in three nights in San Jose. The Avs are looking to rebound from their loss on Friday night. Look for Jose Theodore to get the start, considering Peter Budaj's last performance against San Jose. Go Avs!

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Saturday, December 1, 2007

Avs Lose - Road Struggles Continue

It wasn't a really good start. That's actually an understatement. Taking a penalty and allowing San Jose's best player, Joe Thornton, to be wide open in front of the net and put away the goal is a REALLY bad start. To make it somewhat worse, the Avs failed to score on a 90 second 5-on-3 and failed to score on the regular PP that followed. However, the game was still close, 1-0, going into the second period.

In the second, the Avs quickly saw their deficit increase to two on Joe Thornton's second PPG. Another powerplay by the Sharks a few minutes later looked to be on the brink of converting until Milan Hejduk picked up a loose puck and scored a rare shorthanded goal. Assisted by Scott Hannan and Paul Stastny, the goal put some life into the Avs. That life was short lived, when two mintues later, Mike Grier, who played a very physical game, got the goal back to make it 3-1. The Avs refused to quit, however, as Andrew Brunette scored the fourth goal of the period, assisted by Stastny and Sakic. It was 3-2 at intermission.

Despite several chances in the third, that is how the game ended. A 3-2 loss for Peter Budaj.

Key Event: The Sharks were physical all game long, but when you piss off Joe Sakic, you know you did something wrong. In the third period, Sakic got very upset at Vlastic, who proceeded to stick his fist into Sakic's face. Had it not been for the refs, Sakic might have tried to instigate his second career fight. A scruffle ensued, but it was all under control. (No Lappy or Parker)

Debut: TJ Hensick made his NHL debut and was rewarded with over 16 minutes of ice time.

Despite the loss, the Avs managed to show a bit of energy in the game and hopefully, they can carry that energy over into tonight's game.

Three Stars of the Game

1. Peter Budaj (He was BIG at times in this game. Despite allowing one soft goal, he couldn't have done anything about the other two and the score probably should have been higher)
2. Paul Stastny (Two primary assists and he finally scored on the road!)
3. Kyle Cumiskey (Becoming extremely reliable and cool under pressure)

Next Up

The Avs have no time off as they make a pit stop in LA tonight. The Kings are dead last in the Pacific Division with just 21 points on the season. The Avs are one of the worst teams on the road this season with a 3-8-1 season. Something has to give.

I'm almost 99% sure that Jose Theodore will be in net tonight. Lets hope that we can enjoy the game!

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