Saturday, March 8, 2008

Avs Win Five Straight (W vs Ducks), Theodore Gets Shutout, Finger Returns

Undefeated since the trade deadline, the Avs continued their impressive streak with a well-played shutout win over the defending champs, the Anaheim Ducks.

It would be an understatement to say the Avs have played boring hockey as of late. Since their 5-2 win over the Kings last Saturday, the Avs have won games by scores of 2-1 and 1-0. That's what happens when top line talent is sent down.

Outshooting the Ducks 30-27, Wojtek Wolski scored the Avs only goal in the second period. Since regaining his place in the regular lineup after injuries to Smyth and Svatos, Wolski has been involved in the last three Avalanche goals (1 Goal, 2 Assists) and has been one of the main reasons the Avs have managed to pull out wins.

The other reason? Jose Theodore.

Theodore, who just appeared in a wonderful story in The Hockey News might be the Avs MVP this season. According to NHL.com, this five-game streak is his longest since 2004 and this shutout marked his second this season.



"I've always believed I could be one of the top goalies in this league," said Theodore, the 2001-02 Hart Trophy winner. "I put a lot of pressure on myself. So far, things are going well."

It's been a magical season for Theodore, who has been playing his way into the hearts of Avalanche fans this season. After being booed in last season's finale, Theodore will probably find himself on the receiving end of a very different sound this year.

Leopold Scratched / Finger Returns

Jeff Finger finally returned to the lineup, playing just over 18 minutes and registering a +1.

Jordan Leopold and Kyle Cumiskey were the healthy scratches.

The defensive pairs since Foote and Salei have joined the team have looked like:

Sauer-Foote (Playing with Forsberg-Sakic-Hejduk)
Liles-Hannan
Finger/Leopold-Salei

It's a much more physical defensive corps and they have been playing extremely well. Foote, Salei, and Hannan have been stepping up their games big time during the streak.

Forsberg Report

Playing close to 22 minutes, Forsberg registered a +1 and had one or two great scoring chances, narrowly missing the net both times. He is working very well with Sakic and Hejduk, creating plays for both of them.

Three Stars of the Game

1. Jose Theodore (27 save shutout, playing the best since his Hart season)
2. Wojtek Wolski (Second goal of 2008 came at great time)
3. Kurt Sauer (He's been a rock on D all season and didn't allow Selanne to do anything)

Next Up

The Avs finish up their five-game homestand at 3 PM EST against the Dallas Stars. The Stars have been on fire since trading for Brad Richards and will be looking to solidify the #2 seed.

On the Bubble

There has been a flurry of activity on the bubble since my last post.

6. Minnesota - 80 Points (13 Games Remaining)
7. COLORADO - 78 Points (14 Games Remaining)
8. Nashville - 78 Points (13 Games Remaining)
9. Vancouver - 76 Points (15 Games Remaining)
Northwest Division Leader: Calgary Flames - 80 Points - 14 Games Remaining

With a win today, the Avs would move into a three-way tie for third place in the conference with the Flames and the Wild. Minnesota is collapsing with a record of 3-5-2 in their last 10 games.

Tonight's Key Games

Ottawa vs Phoenix

Although they no longer appear in my bubble watch, the Coyotes better win this game. Five points behind the Canucks, Phoenix needs a collapse by both Nashville and Vancouver to make the playoffs.

St. Louis vs Vancouver

Avalanche fans will be rooting for the Blues with fury on Hockey Night in Canada. The Canucks have a game-in-hand on the Avalanche and it would be best for them not to capitalize.

Video Fix

Today, I'm bring you the Peter Forsberg tribute video played on March 4th, Peter's first game back in Colorado. Enjoy.


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