Tied 1-1 in the second after Paul Stastny's 22nd goal of the season, the game could have gone either way. But three more New Jersey goals in the second and the third were too much for the Avs who were completely dominated by Martin Brodeur. John-Michael Liles scored Colorado's second goal on the power play.
Brodeur moved 17 wins away from Patrick Roy's all-time wins record and played sensationally. Robbing the Avs a few times each period, the Devils showed us why they may be the team to beat this year.
Playing with the lead, New Jersey is almost unbeatable. Remember, this is the team that popularized the trap after winning the 1995 Stanley Cup while using the system. They bring five men back every play and rely on strong forechecking to squash their opponents' offensive hopes.
This game was particularly tough for Avalanche fans because both Vancouver and Minnesota won on the same night. This dropped the Avs from first in the NW to a virtual tie for the division.
Jose Theodore had his first bad game in awhile, allowing relatively soft goals that weren't deflected. Lets hope he bounces back. Seeing Theodore's attitude progress over the last two years, I'd bank on it not being a problem.
Three Stars of the Game
1. Paul Stastny (Two points, running the power play very well, lead fowards in minutes)
2. John-Michael Liles (Two goals this month, four shots in a good effort, 25 minutes)
3. Jaroslav Hlinka (Hustled back on defense, tried to create offense)
The Avs will battle for first place in the division TONIGHT against the Minnesota Wild. The winner of this game will move up to 86 points and 3rd place in the conference. 7 PM start.
On the Bubble
It continues to be an extremely tight race for the final spot.
6. Calgary - 84 Points (10 Games Remaining)
7. COLORADO - 84 POINTS (9 GAMES REMAINING)
8. Vancouver - 82 points (10 Games Remaining)
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9. Nashville - 80 Points (9 Games Remaining)
Northwest Division Leader: Minnesota Wild - 84 Points - 10 Games Remaining
Tonight's Key Games
Just two games for the NHL tonight but both of them (including the Avs game) are ones to watch.
Vancouver vs Phoenix
The Coyotes are holding on to the 10th spot and are five points behind Vancouver for that final spot. If they want any chance of making the playoffs, they cannot afford to lose this game or even win it in overtime. Look for the Coyotes to come out with a very strong effort tonight.