When I found out Marek Svatos was a scratch last night, my first thought was "wow, I guess Tyler Arnason hasn't been the worst player on the team so far." While the decision to bench Svatos in favor of McCormick happened to pay off last night, there are other guys who just as easily could/should have taken a seat. (IE Budaj, Arnason, Tucker, etc)
Anyway, the Avs lost last night with Enemy #1 ending up with the game-winning goal in 5-4 Flames victory. Budaj was still mediocre, especially in the first when he let in three pretty soft goals. One of them was actually a dropped fly ball. Score the play an E6.
Other problems, besides goaltending, include the penalty kill, which allowed a putrid three goals and is now ranked 30th in the NHL. Somehow, Idon't think that the in-game adjustment of putting David Jones out there is going to fix the problem.
And again, the defense was not up to par. There were several times when Ruslan Salei and Scott Hannan made me wish Martin Skoula was back on the roster.
Cody McLeod is coming to play this season. He already has two goals (it would be a successful season if he could put up ten) and continues to bring energy with every shift. His quote during intermission that "Phaneuf was going to remember #55" was a great soundbyte.
John-Michael Liles scored. That's always good - especially since it seems that the Avs are going to have to put up four or five goals in order to win a game.
Granato has continued to protect Jordan Leopold against any kind of injury. With just over 13 minutes, Leopold had far less ice time than the other defensemen. Leopold did end up as a +1 with an assist, however.
The power play looked decent at times and horrendous at other times. The Avs either score (as Ryan Smyth and JM Liles did) or can't get it into the attacking zone and end up giving the opposition an odd-man rush.
A Rivalry Is Born
When Cody McLeod and Dion Phaneuf exchanged two cheap shots at the end of the first period, and Cody McCormick went on to fight Jarome Iginla immediately after, it was clear that the possibility for a rivalry is certainly there.
In exactly 11 minutes of ice time, Arnason had no shots, no assists, and obviously, no points. He was a +1, thanks to Cody McLeod and Cody McCormick's beautiful play on which Arnason did absolutely nothing.
Three Stars of the Game
1. Cody McLeod (I jumped on his bandwagon last year, the 4th liner scored his 2nd goal of the year and had a +2 rating)
2. Paul Stastny (Two assists, including a beautiful one to Ryan Smyth on the PP)
3. Ryan Smyth (Finally scored on the power play, Smyth had two points while leading everyone in ice time)
The Avs head back to Colorado for a very important game when it comes to my pride. They'll take on the Philadelphia Flyers at 9 PM ET on Thursday night. Of course, the fact that I live around huge Flyers fans makes this game a must-win. Granato recently said that Andrew Raycroft would start about once per week (or once every four games) so that makes this his time. Budaj needs the rest, but I'm nervous about Raycroft's ability to do anything.
Here's one that sums up Raycroft's career pretty well: