Saturday, March 29, 2008

Sakic the Hero in Shootout Win

There are some who say Super Joe has lost a step. Judging by last night, nothing is further from the truth.

It would be easy to say we all expected an Avs blowout when Andrew Brunette and Milan Hejduk put Colorado up 2-0 early on. This was right after Jose Theodore made possibly the best save of his entire career.

But three straight Edmonton goals put the blowout into question. From that point on, it was a real sea-saw of a game.

Brunette scored his second of the night but Sam Gagner eventually gave the Oilers the lead back. That takes us to our key moment.

Key Moment

With under a minute to go and the goalie pulled, Joe Sakic won not one, but TWO faceoffs in the Oilers' zone. With under 10 seconds to play, the Avs, putting on tremendous pressure through the puck to the front of the net when Super Joe put a wrist shot above Roloson's right shoulder. The goal set the Pepsi Center off into the frenzy and it was amazing to see the players on the ice jump up and down - partially because of disbelief and partly because of happiness.

In overtime, the teams eventually played their way to the shootout.

Wojtek Wolski - GOAL
Robert Nilsson - Goal
Joe Sakic - GOAL
Sam Gagner - SAVE
Milan Hejduk - GOAL

The Avs won the shootout and the game by a score of 5-4.

It was easily one of the most exciting games we've seen all season. Theodore's save, the last second goal, the thrilling shootout - it was exciting - a great night of hockey.

Forsberg Watch

Peter Forsberg had his second consecutive three assist night. However, Forsberg was not on the Avalanche bench for OT and did not skate out when his name was called a three star. There are no reports on a major injury.

Don't Stop Believin'

Ever since Forsberg and Foote rejoined the Avalanche, there has been a big change in the confidence of the players. There's a stronger feeling about the possiblity of coming back in games. The defense has improved tremendously and Avalanche fans no longer shrudder when the D tries to make outlet passes.

Three Stars of the Game

1. Peter Forsberg (Second consecutive three assist night, playing phsyical)
2. Joe Sakic (Tied the game with 6 seconds left, won key faceoffs)
3. Andrew Brunette (2 Goals, 1 Assist)

Next Up

The Avs will play their next game SUNDAY at 6 PM EST against the Minnesota Wild.

On the Bubble

This win went along way in maintaining a playoff spot. By the way, you'll notice that Dallas is the newest edition to this chart.

5. Dallas - 92 Points (4 Games Remaining)
6. Calgary - 90 Points (5 Games Remaining)
7. COLORADO - 90 POINTS (3 Games Remaining)
8. Nashville - 86 Points (4 Games Remaining)
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _
9. Vancouver - 86 Points (4 Games Remaining)
10 Edmonton - 84 Points (3 Games Remaining)
Northwest Division Leader: Minnesota Wild - 93 Points - 3 Games Remaining

A reminder to everyone that Colorado still plays Minnesota twice this seaosn. In order to stay in the race for the division, they MUST win tomorrow.

Tomorrow Night's Key Games

Nashville vs Detroit

The Predators have more wins than the Canucks and with Detroit struggling, a win is certainly possible in this key stretch game.

Dallas vs Anaheim

The Avs are now chasing Dallas for the 5th seed (although I think most would rather see Colorado play the third seeded NW Division winner) but a higher seed is usually the goal.

Calgary vs Vancouver

The Nucks have lost three straight and Calgary is looking to stay in the division race. Luongo's wife finally had her baby. Perhaps this will clear his head?

Video Fix

Enjoy Jose Theodore absolutely robbing Dustin Penner in the first period.

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Friday, March 28, 2008

What the Avs MUST do tonight to win

For the Edmonton Oilers, tonight's game is a must win. They currently have four games remaing and sit three points behind Vancouver (five points behind Colorado) for the final playoff spot.

If they lose tonight, it is actually impossible for them to be any better than the last playoff team.

The odds of that aren't very good. Even if they do win tonight, Nashville will still only be one point behind with a game in hand. Lets not forget Nashville plays tonight as well.

So what must the Avs do tonight to win this game?

Shut Them Down Early

In the last meeting, the Avalanche let the Oilers control the game and force play into their end where they scored three quick goals. The Avalanche need to make sure they play a strong, physical game early and force play into the Edmonton zone.

Keep The Big Line Together

The line that worked so well last game, (Hejduk-Stastny-Forsberg) needs to be and should be kept together. If they remain hot, the Avs become incredibly dangerous.

Likewise, Quenville shouldn't do too much juggling between Brunette and Smyth in trying to find that winger to play with Sakic and Jones. Let one of them develop chemistry with the other. (Most likely Smyth)

Discipline, Not Stupidity

The Avs are the least penalized team in the NHL and the penalty kill isn't great enough for them to take five or six penalties in a game. They should be playing with discipline, not stupidity. If Cody McLeod wants to hit a guy, fine, he just needs to make sure he's doing it legally.

The defensemen on this team have a knack for taking holding and hooking penalties and that is a direct result of their positioning on the ice. Don't jump into the play if you can't get back. John-Michael Liles and Scott Hannan both do a great job jumping into the play, but Hannan is a huge culprit when it comes to holding.

Get The Lead

During their four-game losing streak, the Avs didn't have the lead in any of the games. In each of their past two wins, they've scored the first goal each time.

In my next post...

As promised, the expanded On the Bubble

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Stastny-Forsberg-Hejduk Line Golden in Win vs Nucks

Prior to Wednesday's game versus Vancouver, a game that would break tie for seventh place, Peter Forsberg had played almost exclusively with David Jones and Joe Sakic.

After his three assist game playing with Stasny (1 Goal, 2 Assists) and Hejduk (2 Goals, 1 Assist) for a combined total of 9 points, I doubt the Forsberg-Jones-Sakic line will be seen much more this season.

And why should it be?

The Avs beat the Canucks, scoring four unanswered goals in a six minute span in the second period. With a 5-3 lead heading into the third, the line of Stastny-Hejduk-Forsberg came right out and produced a goal, capping off a 6-3 victory for the Avalanche.

Goal scorers were Hejduk (twice), Stastny, Leopold, McLeod, and Guite.

The McLeod goal was tremendously fun to watch. Cody had a breakaway after a perfect cross ice pass by Liles and the puck squeaked through Roberto Luongo's legs.

Guite's goal was the product of hard work. A lot of traffic in front of the net and a great job by Wojtek Wolski to poke the puck under Luongo's glove gave Guite an easy put away.

Jordan Leopold scored his second straight power play goal. The Avs PP is really heating up right now.

Once Again

Once again, the Avs forechecked very well and they really took it to the Canucks after trailing 2-1 heading into the second period. Luongo was pulled halfway through but the Avs didn't let up for one second.

Three Stars of the Game
1. Peter Forsberg (Three assists to raise his totals to 6 points in 6 games)
2. Milan Hejduk (Two big goals including the game-winner)
3. Paul Stastny (Centering what might be the new hot line in hockey, three points)

Next Up

The Avs play the Edmonton Oilers TONIGHT at 9 PM EST. This is a game the Oilers must win to keep their hopes for the 8th spot alive.

On the Bubble

I'm skipping it for this post to prepare for an expanded On the Bubble in a post later tonight. It will include schedules for all of the teams, predictions, and best/worst case scenarios.

Video Fix

Here are highlights from a very exciting game for Colorado fans.

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Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Avs Shutout Flames, Win 2-0 // Wolski/Smyth hit milestones

When the Avs took the lead in a game for the first time since March 13th, I was just thinking to myself - "how long will it take for the Flames to get it back?" Well combined with outstanding defense and a 23-save shutout performance by Jose Theodore, the Avs managed to hold onto the lead and win 2-0.

The first goal was scored by Jordan Leopold on the power play. It was his first power play goal of the season. Interesting to note that the goal was not scored by some down low play, but on an odd-man rush in transition. That's the kind of hockey the Avs should be playing and they were defintely doing more of it in this game.

The second goal was scored by Milan Hejduk late in the third. After the goal, the Flames pulled Kipper and replaced him with Curtis Joseph.

Key Play

With a 5-on-3 in the second, the Avs were leading 1-0 when the Flames picked up the puck and cruised in on a breakaway. A goal by the Flames, already down two men, would crush the Avalanche and probably change the game. Obviously, Theodore made the save and that was the last major rush against the Avs all game.

The Defense

Anchored by Liles, Sauer, Salei, Hannan, Leopold, and Finger, the defense played very well. Finger and Liles, in particular, had extremely strong games. Liles has been one of the best defensemen for the Avalanche since the trade deadline. He's been jumping up into the play often, registering four shots in this game.

Penalty Kill

The Avs killed off all five penalties they acquired and did it by only allowing four shots on those five Calgary powerplays. They held the blueline well, not letting the Flames get set up in the zone.

This is the way the Avs penalty kill needs to be every game. No more passive box waiting for a mistake. They need to cause the mistake.

Forechecking

Excellent work by all the players, especially Ian Laperriere. He was in the face of every Calgary player all night long. But each time Calgary had the puck in their end, Colorado had at least one guy forechecking and providing pressure. This made it much more difficult for the Flames to sustain offense.

All season, the Avs have surrendered the neutral zone in hopes of not getting caught. Taking notes from great defensive teams like Detroit and New Jersey, forechecking is most certainly the way to go.

Milestones

With an assist on Leopold's goal, Wojtek Wolski registered his 100th career NHL point.

Likewise, with an assist on Hejduk's goal, Ryan Smyth recorded his 600th career NHL point.

Forsberg

Played 15 minutes in his return, mostly on the power play. He registered an assist on Leopold's power play goal.

Check Out This Stat!

As opposed to the 7-5 game against Edmonton, every single player was an even +/- or better.

Three Stars of the Game

1. Jose Theodore (A 23-save shutout and a huge save shorthanded to save the game)
2. Jeff Finger (Probably the best player on the ice for the Avs in this game)
3. John-Michael Liles (A monster game, including breaking a 2-on-1 pass)

Next Up

The Avs do battle TONIGHT with the Vancouver Canucks at 9 PM EST. Theodore and Luongo will be the goaltenders.

On the Bubble

This Avs-Nucks game is going to be a huge one. It's worthy to note that the fifth seeded Dallas Stars also have 89 points.

6. Minnesota - 89 Points (5 Games Remaining)
7. Vancouver -86 Points (6 Games Remaining)
8. COLORADO - 86 POINTS (5 Games Remaining)
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _
9. Nashville - 84 Points (5 Games Remaining)
10. Edmonton - 83 Points (5 Games Remaining)
Northwest Division Leader: Calgary Flames - 90 Points - Five Games Remaining

Tonight's Key Games

Edmonton vs Minnesota

The Oilers beat the Wild two nights ago so Minnesota will be looking for some revenge. The Oilers are 8-2-0 in their last ten games and it would be nice if the Avs could win and the Wild could stop Edmonton's streak, virtually eliminating Edmonton's playoff chances. Remember, the Oilers play Colorado on Saturday.

Video Fix

Highlights of Theodore's shutout. Thank you NHLVideo on YouTube.

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Monday, March 24, 2008

Forsberg Playing Tonight vs Flames

http://avalanche.nhl.com/team/app/?service=page&page=NewsPage&articleid=357859


The Colorado Avalanche will be bolstered by the return of Peter Forsberg during Monday night's game against the Calgary Flames.

After taking part in a full practice Sunday at Family Sports Center and participating in today's morning skate, the Ornskoldsvik, Sweden, native pronounced himself ready to return to the lineup.

"It should be exciting to get back again. It’s tough to sit out, especially like this at the end of the year," said Forsberg. "It feels great to be back and to be in the mix again. We’re playing for two big points tonight."

Monday’s game will mark the eighth and final meeting of the regular season between the clubs, with Colorado winning four of the first seven matchups. The results between the Avs and Flames have been a bit strange this year, with a trio of three-goal games being sandwiched in between four games decided by one goal.



Great news for the Avalanche who really need a good 60-minute effort tonight to beat the Flames. The staff should be monitoring Forsberg and try to not overplay him yet.

Look for him to be on a line with Sakic and Jones.

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Avs Play For 20, Lose Critical Game // Sakic 1,000th Career Assist // Quenville's Blunders

Heading into Saturday's game against Edmonton, the Oilers trailed the Avs by five points. Few teams have been hotter than Edmonton, a team that has scraped its way back into the playoff chase over the past few weeks.

This was a must-win for the Oilers, thus making it a near must-win for the Avalanche.

But before you could blink, the Oilers had put three first period goals past Jose Theodore, who was pulled quickly for Peter Budaj.

After two really dismal periods of play, with the score 4-1 and almost a sure Edmonton win, the Avalanche decided to show up, scoring three quick goals in the third.

With the score tied 4-4, it looked as if the Avs might be able to pull off a miracle, when don't you know it, Budaj didn't cover up a puck and Edmonton took back the lead. The Oilers extended that league 6-4 a few minutes later and it looked as if the Avs were cooked until Colorado scored with two minutes remaining.

However, an empty-net goal later, the Avs were going home in shame, losing to the Oilers 7-5 and extending their losing streak to four.

Notes

Joe Sakic registered assist #1,000 on a second period goal by Tyler Arnason. He registered #1,001 in the third, setting up Wojtek Wolski.

Goal scorers for the Avalanche included Arnason, Salei, Wolski, Hejduk, and Liles.

The only players with an even or better +/-? Stastny, Liles, Salei, Hejduk, Brunette, and Sakic all managed to finish even.

Quenville's PP Blunders

Quenville needs to smarten up and tell his players to start shooting from the point on the power play. How many times do we watch this team work down low for 30 seconds only to stuff one wide or to fumble the puck and have it cleared? It's time to dish it back to Liles or Salei and have they start shooting.

Because teams collapse towards the net on the penalty kill, what works 5-on-5 doesn't always work with the man advantage. Salei has shown he can shoot from the point and Smyth has shown he can deflect those shots. Lets start putting a plan in action.

Quenville's Goalie Blunder's

I understand Jose Theodore is the #1 and the hot hand, but he hasn't exactly been solid the past few games. Peter Budaj's career record against Edmonton is 9-1. Think he should have been given the start?

Three Stars of the Game

1. Joe Sakic (Two assists including #1,000)
2. Ruslan Salei (20+ minutes of ice time, three shots, 1 goal)
3. N/A

Next Up

The Avs will take their four-game losing streak to Calgary TONIGHT at 9:30 PM EST.

On the Bubble

The Avs still control their own destiny but they better start winning again.

6. Calgary - 88 Points (7 Games Remaining)
7. Vancouver - 86 Points (7 Games Remaining)
8. COLORADO - 84 Points (6 Games Remaining)
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _
9. Nasvhille - 82 Points (6 Games Remaining)
10. Edmonton - 81 Points (6 Games Remaining)
Northwest Division Leader: Minnesota Wild - 89 Points - 6 Games Remaining

Tonight's Key Games

Minnesota vs Edmonton

If Colorado pulls out a victory tonight against the Flames, the Oilers must win this game to keep pace. Falling five points back with five to play could be detrimental to their playoff chances.

Video Fix

In honor of Q possibly getting fired if the Avs miss the playoffs, here's a video of him in the good old days.


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Saturday, March 22, 2008

Congratulations to Alex Ovechkin

Last night, Alex Ovechkin scored two goals against the Atlanta Thrashers to become the first player since Mario Lemieux twelve years ago to score 60 goals in a season.

Ovechkin has quickly become one of my favorite players not on the Avalanche and hopefully he doesn't go the way of other notorious Russians such as Alexei Yashin or even Pavel Bure and leave the league in a few years.

It seems that Ovechkin is different, however. Sure, he just signed a 120 million dollar contract, but when you watch how excited this kid gets every time he scores or how much he truly loves the game, you feel like this kid should be the new face of the league, not that other guy in Pittsburgh.

Ovechkin is going to win the Rocket Richard and Art Ross this season, and whether or not the Capitals make the playoffs, he should win the Hart as well.

Congratulations Ovie.

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Friday, March 21, 2008

Avs Losing Streak Moves To Three (1-2 vs Calgary)

Paul Stastny and Peter Forsberg missed the game.

It's still no excuse for the effort Avs fans saw last night.

Allowing two first period power play goals is bad enough, but to see a team play a period with no drive is really ugly. With just 16 shots in the game and the only goal coming from third-line spark plug Ben Guite, the Avs lost a crucial game to the Calgary Flames. I want to make a few points:

The Penalties

The Avs are usually one of the least penalized teams in the NHL. In the past few weeks, this statistic is now non-existent. That's not always a bad thing. Aggressive teams take more penalties. But look at what each penalty was for:

Ruslan Salei - Hooking
Joe Sakic - Holding
Jeff Finger - Hooking
Cody McLeod - Holding

Hooking and holding penalties are taken when players are out of position or weren't hustling at times when they needed to. Judging by the players who took these penalties, it's rare when one of them isn't hustling, but it can be inferred that they were out of position.

REMEMBER, there are good penalties to take. But when a team is taking four hooking/holding penalties in a game, something is wrong.

Shots

Sixteen shots is not enough to win a game. The Avs need to shoot, shoot, and shoot. With scorers such as Milan Hejduk, Joe Sakic, and even a guy like Wojtek Wolski, shots should be coming at all angles. Ryan Smyth was brought in to cause traffic in front of the net. The Avs are trying to hard to stuff pucks home when the goals that they are known for scoring are on backdoor passes and shots from the slot. Putting the puck on net is key in the playoffs, as anything can happen once the puck is heading towards the net.

Theodore

He bounced back really well in this game, stopping all 22 shots he faced during 5-on-5 hockey. That leads me to...

Penalty Killing

The Avs play a box style in which they cut off the shooting lanes and wait until the other team juggles the puck to attack them. The problem usually is a guy like Iginla juggles the puck, recovers, and hits a point man. The guy covering this point man attempted to attack Iginla when he juggled the puck, leaving the point man all alone to get off a shot.

The Avs also seem to have a problem clearing the puck. So often do they take possession of the puck and get it taken away. Or, a loose puck is in the corner and the Avs won't be the first ones there. This also goes for the...

Power Play

One main issue on the power play. The puck goes to the corner. Brunette is there, trying to dig the puck out and two opponents move in and take the puck. On the power play, you have the man advantage. That has to be used in all aspects of the game. The Avalanche need to make sure they outnumber opponents in the corner. They also need to stop dumping the puck in on the power play and start carrying it into the zone. They must waste at least 75 seconds chasing the puck back to their zone each time they have a man advantage.

Luckily

Luckily for the Avalanche, Edmonton and Nashville both lost last night while the Flames and Canucks both distanced themselves. With the way this team is playing, I'll be happy with a playoff spot.

Three Stars of the Game

1.
2.
3.

No one gets it this game. While Adam Foote and Jose Theodore did do well, it wasn't a great effort by anyone.

Next Up

The Avs play a giant game against the Edmonton Oilers on Saturday at 3:00 EST. The Oilers sit just five points back of the Avs for the 8th spot in the Western Conference.

On the Bubble

If the Avs plan to move up, they better do it soon.

6. Vancouver - 86 Points (8 Games Remaining)
7. Calgary - 86 Points (8 Games Remaining)
8. COLORADO - 84 POINTS (7 Games Remaining)
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _
9. Nashville - 80 Points (7 Games Remaining)
10. Edmonton - 79 Points (7 Games Remaining)
Northwest Division Leader: Minnesota Wild - 87 Points - 8 Games Remaining

Tonight's Key Games

Vancouver vs Minnesota

It's a game for first place between the Wild and the Canucks. Who do Avalanche fans want to see win? It really depends on what our chances are at moving up. If the Avs want to win the division, secure the third spot, and play either Vancouver or Minnesota in the first round, root for the Canucks. If the Avs want to take the sixth spot and play the Wild in the first round, root for the Canucks.

I'll be rooting for absolutely no one. Whatever happens at this point in the season happens.

Video Fix

Why is hockey called hockey? I'm not sure if I can count on this guy:

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Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Avs Fall to Wild 3-1

Peter Forsberg and Adam Foote were both on the ice but they couldn't help the rest of the Colorado Avalanche put the puck in the back of the net. The chances were there and the open nets were abundant but whether it be bad pass, a diving player, or getting "handcuffed", the Avs couldn't build on Joe Sakic's power play goal and eventually fell to the Minnesota Wild.

A few things to talk about:

The Power Play

The Avs have five power play goals in their last four games. There has been an amazing improvement and assuming the Avalanche do make the playoffs, special teams will be crucial. It is worthy to note that the Avs let up a power play goal, as well.

Where Does Forsberg Play?

We've mostly seen Forsberg play with Joe Sakic and David Jones thus far. However, with just two assists since his return and Jones playing better during the times Forsberg was OUT, there needs to be a change. I suggest these line combinations:

Forsberg-Stastny-Hejduk
Smyth-Sakic-Jones

Sakic and Smyth had been developing chemistry before the injuries earlier this season and does anyone actually forget the AMP line? (Alex Tanguay, Milan Hejduk, Peter Forsberg)

There's no doubt Sakic has been playing very well with Jones so now it's just about find that second winger. If not Smyth, perhaps someone like Andrew Brunette would fit the bill.

Ref Complaining

I'm not one to blame games on referees, but this was a really bad game for the refs. Mick McGeough was the game's main ref with a rookie linesman. The linesman did ok, but McGeough made one call in particular that Avalanche fans are still shouting about.

Taken down in the corner, Forsberg was clearly interefered with and the linesman behind the play put his hand up. When the Wild touched the puck, the whistle was blown. But wait! McGeough was pointing at Forsberg!

Despite his hand never being raised, McGeough decided to call a penalty on Forsberg for diving. Foppa's reputation as a "diver" is well-known but McGeough is required to put his hand up if he sees a penalty. He can't just call it because the other referee called one on the other team.

I hope Stephen Walkom looks into the situation for a second. Imagine this happening in the playoffs where a power play chance can literally win the Stanley Cup for a team.

One More for 1,000!

Joe Sakic is just one assists away from 1,000. We'll see if Joe can do it next game!

Three Stars of the Game

1. Jose Theodore (28 saves on 30 shots, bounced back well)
2. Andrew Brunette (Hard work lead to Sakic goal, 100% on every shift)
3. N/A

Next Up

The Avs will battle the Calgary Flames on THURSDAY NIGHT at 9 PM EST. The Avs lead the season series 4-2.

On the Bubble

With the win, the Wild have taken over the NW Division lead while no less than three teams are in a tie for second.

6. Vancouver - 84 Points (9 Games Remaining)
7. Calgary - 84 Points (9 Games Remaining)
8. COLORADO - 84 POINTS (8 Games Remaining)
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _
9. Nashville - 80 Points (8 Games Remaining)
10 Edmonton - 79 Points (8 Games Remaining)
Northwest Division Leader: Minnesota Wild - 86 Points - 9 Games Remaining

You're reading it correctly. Edmonton has battled their way back into the playoff race. Their chances are thin but they sit just five points back of a spot.

Tonight's Key Games

Minnesota vs San Jose

The Wild run into the hottest team in the NHL - the Sharks, who are 9-0-1 in their last 10 and unbeaten in their last 12. With a win, the Sharks move just three points back of the Detroit Red Wings for the best record in the league. A win for the Wild would obviously be huge to keep that advantage of having a game in hand over the Avalanche.

Video Fix

To ensure a playoff spot, the Avs are going to have to give 110% the rest of the way. Maybe they should listen to this guy:


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Monday, March 17, 2008

Avs Lose to Devils 4-2, Lose Division League

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)

Next Up

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)
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

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.

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Saturday, March 15, 2008

Smyth to play against Devils, Three Stars Standings

Ryan Smyth, according to NHL.com, will be playing today against the New Jersey Devils. I'd expect either Jaroslav Hlinka or Wojtek Wolski to be a healthy scratch to make room for Smyth.

Tonight's Key Games

Nashville vs Detroit

The Predators sit just two points back of the Canucks for the eight and final playoff spot. After this game, they'll have just nine remaining to the Canucks' ten. We're getting close to "must win" time.

Vancouver vs Dallas

The Canucks can move into a three-way tie with the Flames and Wild with a win while the Stars are now three points back of the Sharks while already playing two more games. Since the Avs are chasing the division and it looks like Dallas won't be the second seed, we're rooting for Cancouver.

Minnesota vs Los Angeles

The Wild take on the last place Kings and will take over the division lead with a win and an Avalanche loss via tiebreaker. Both teams are 3-4-3 in their last ten but it will be a tough game for the Kings to win.

Three Stars of the Year

For almost every game (I think I skipped it for two of them), the "Three Stars of the Game" have been chosen by myself and here is the final update before the end of the season.

Standings
10 Games Remaining

1. Jose Theodore: 35
2. Paul Stastny: 30
2. Marek Svatos: 30
4. Milan Hejduk: 23
4. Andrew Brunette: 23
4. Peter Budaj: 23
7. Ryan Smyth: 20
8. Ian Lapperiere: 16
8. Wojtek Wolski: 16
10. Jaroslav Hlinka: 15
10. Cody McLeod: 15
12. Joe Sakic: 14
13. Tyler Arnason: 12
13. Brett Clark: 12
15. TJ Hensick: 11
16. Ben Guite: 9
17. John-Michael Liles: 8
17. Jeff Finger: 8
19. Scott Hannan: 6
20. Wyatt Smith: 5
20. Jordan Leopold: 5
22. Scott Parker: 3
22. Cody McCormick: 3
24. David Jones: 3
25. Kurt Sauer: 2
25. Peter Forsberg: 2
27. Kyle Cumiskey: 1
27. **Karlis Skrastins: 1
27. Tyler Weinman: 1
27. Adam Foote: 1
27. Ruslan Salei: 1
*First=3 Points
*Second=2 Points
*Third=1 Point
**No Longer With Team

Who I've Undervauled: Kurt Sauer may be the team's best defensman this year but he has only see the Three Stars twice. Similarly, Jeff Finger should probably be higher on the list, as should Scott Hannan.

Who Has Benefited Most by Hot Streaks: TJ Hensick has scored most of his goals in pairs, which has resulted in several first start selections for seemingly winning the game.

Most Likely Top 3: Jose Theodore and Paul Stastny will almost certainly maintain their top 2 positions over the last two games. With Marek Svatos's injury, Milan Hejduk, Andrew Brunette, and Ryan Smyth all have a chance to catch him.

Most Likely to Move Way Up: If they can stay healthy, Peter Forsberg and Adam Foote should be able to put together some great games. Joe Sakic is low on the list due to his injury but seems to be getting his legs back.

Game time is 3:00 EST. Go Avs!

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Friday, March 14, 2008

Avs Take Over NW Division Lead w/ win vs Oilers

Despite missing key players by the names of Peter Forsberg, Adam Foote, Ryan Smyth, Marek Svatos, Brett Clark, and Jordan Leopold, the Avs were able to take it to the Edmonton Oilers early and often.

In a 5-1 victory, goals were scored by Jeff Finger, Jaroslav Hlinka (on a terrific steal in the zone and an even more terrfic shot), Tyler Arnason, David Jones, and Wojtek Wolski, while Peter Budaj stopped 23/24 to help the Avs pull off their sixth straight home victory.

Before the game, Colorado knew that they could take over the division lead with a win. Calgary gave up a 3-0 lead to the Atlanta Thrashers and ended up losing 6-4. Also in the Avs favor was a New Jersey shootout win over Minnesota. Later on in the night, Vancouver also lost.

What are are the odds that every team in the NW Division would lose except for the Avalanche? Whatever they are, that's exactly what happened last night. With the wins/losses, the Avs are now in first place and third place in the Western Conference!

29th Ranked Power Play

With another power play goal last night, the Avs are now the 29th ranked team in the NHL. Obviously that won't work heading to the playoffs, but the special teams have improved since the deadline.

Three Stars of the Game

1. Jaroslav Hlinka (2 Goals, 1 Assist for the former Czech league star_
2. Tyler Arnason (Big time power play goal to seal it)
3. Peter Budaj (Big saves in opportunity to succeed)

Next Up

The Avs will try to keep the lead in the NW Division on SATURDAY at 3:30 PM EST against the beast of the East - the New Jersey Devils.

On the Bubble

Guess what? The Avs are no longer on the bubble! Well, they are and they aren't. Teams behind them still have games-in-hand, but here's how it looks.

Northwest Division Leader: Colorado Avalanche - 84 Points - 10 Games Remaining
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

6. Minnesota - 82 Points (11 Games Remaining)
7. Calgary - 82 Points (11 Games Remaining)
8. Vancouver - 80 Points (11 Games Remaining)
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

9. Nashville - 78 Points (10 Games Remaining)

Video Fix

It looks as if I owe you a David Jones video! Here's his first NHL goal. It came on March 11th against the Atlanta Thrashers. Fast foward to 2:34 on the video to enjoy it.


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Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Avs Win 5-2 - Jones First Goal, Three Points / Foote/Parker Injured Again

The Avs were supposed to win this game. Atlanta is not a playoff team and these were two points the Avs needed and should have won. With two Andrew Brunette goals, Milan Hejduk, a Joe Sakic wrister, and David Jone's first NHL goal, that's exactly what they did. Making 23 saves on 25 shots was Jose Theodore.

It was a great all-around effort by the team. They got the lead early and refused to squander it. Five goals and a killer instinct is what we all expected from this team in the beginning of this season.

Power Play

The Avalanche power play was 1/4 and that's a huge improvement over past games. It's nice to see the trio of Stastny, Sakic, and Brunette, three of our biggest playmakers, working so well together.

Congratulations

Congratulations to David Jones, who had a three point night and his first goal. Jones has been working hard all season to keep a spot on the Avalanche roster. Quenville has noted how hard he plays on numerous occasions and it's good to see that it is finally paying off for the kid.

Wolski Scratched

After coming off an average home-and-home series against Dallas, Wolski was once again a healthy scratch in favor of Jaroslav Hlinka and Scott Parker.

Parker Injured

Scott Parker suffered an apparent knee/ankle injury. No news on his return.

Foote Re-Injured

Came back today for the first time since the Dallas game on Saturday. He left in the first period with a hip injury.

Kyle Cumiskey Returns

Due to the various defensive injuries, Kyle Cumiskey did play in tonight's game.

Other Injury News

Brett Clark is out with a shoulder injury and is out indefintely.

Ruslan Salei was cut in the eye, but should be back for the Edmonton game.

Peter Forsberg is day-to-day with a groin injury.

Marek Svatos is out for the season with a torn ACL.

Ryan Smyth seems to just be resting his sore shoulder. He should be back by the weekend games.

Jordan Leopold is out with something. He needs a bubble to avoid future injuries.

Three Stars of the Game

1. David Jones (First NHL goal and two assists)
2. Andrew Brunette (Two goals, most consistent offensive performer for a month)
3. Joe Sakic (A goal and two assists, regaining form since injury)

Next Up

The Avs head back to the Pepsi Center for a 9:30 game on THURSDAY night against the Edmonton Oilers. Ten of the next eleven games are against divisonal opponents. This is obviously a key point in the season.

On the Bubble

Big win tonight with some good results.

6. COLORADO - 82 POINTS (11 GAMES REMAINING)
7. Minnesota - 81 Points (12 Games Remaining)
8. Vancouver - 80 Points (13 Games Remaining)
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _
9. Nashville - 78 Points (11 Games Remaining)
Northwest Division Leader: Calgary Flames - 82 Points - 13 Games Remaining

With a loss against the surging Sharks, the Predators lost a lot of ground. They are trailing the Nucks by a full two points and have played two more games. The Avs took over sixth place tonight and are tied for the division lead.

Tomorrow's Key Games

Calgary vs Washington

Avs fans will pray that Alexander Ovechkin will score six more goals to reach sixty tomorrow night against the Caps.

Vancouver vs Anaheim

A tough matchup for the Canucks who have been failing to get points lately.

Video Fix

None tonight, but tomorrow I will put David Jones's first goal in its very own post!

Speaking of which, this is now this blog's 100th post. Thanks for reading!

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Monday, March 10, 2008

Avs Streak Ends At 7, Injuries Galore

Things started off somewhat normally. The Stars took it to the Avs right away, drew an early penalty, and were shut down by a spectacular Jose Theodore glove save. But unfortuantly, the Avs didn't gain any momentum from that save and gave up a goal seconds lated. Two minutes later, another goal was scored.

To make a long story short, the Stars scored again in the second and won the game 3-0.

Notes

Both Adam Foote and Peter Forsberg did not play for what appear to be minor injuries. Both are supposed to be back for the Atlanta game on Tuesday night.

Early on in the game, both Ruslan Salei and Jordan Leopold left the game with injuries. Neither returned. Already shorthanded, Jeff Finger and JM Liles played 26 minutes and Scott Hannan played for a brutal 32 minutes.

Salei appears to have a broken eye socket which was the result of an early first period fight. His return could be anywhere from a week to a month.

Jaroslav Hlinka was in the lineup for the first time since the trade deadline.

The Avalanche had just one shot in the first period.

Jose Theodore was pulled after the second period. The goals were not Theodore's fault and it is more likely that the switch was made to try and light a spark under the Avs. Peter Budaj made five saves in the third.

Jeff Jillson has been recalled from the minors. However, I would not expect him to play as Leopold and Foote are expected back for Tuesday's game and Kyle Cumiskey will fill in for somebody if needed.

The Scott Parker Experience

Want a crazy stat? Scott Parker, the Avalanche enforcer who barely plays two minutes a game has been in the lineup seven times since February 22nd. The Avs are 7-0. In the games he hasn't dressed? 0-2.

Three Stars of the Game

1. Scott Hannan (32 minutes, still playing good hockey)
2. N/A
3. N/A

No one provided any spark for this club. Stastny and Sakic need to provide some offensive juice.

Next Up

The Avs will try to avenge this loss on TUESDAY NIGHT against the Atlanta Thrashers. Game time is 7 PM EST.

On the Bubble

After failing to take over the division lead last night, things still look ok for the Avs.

6. Calgary - 80 Points (14 Games Remaining)
7. COLORADO - 80 POINTS (12 GAMES REMAINING)
8. Vancouver - 78 Points (14 Games Remaining)
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _
9. Nashville - 78 Points (12 Games Remaining)
Northwest Division Leader: Minnesota Wild - 81 Points - 12 Games Remaining

The Predators are starting to lose ground as they are a game behind the Avs with the same amount of games played. Vancouver has two games in hand while the Avs still have games left to play against Calgary, Minnesota, and Vancouver.

Tonight's Key Games

Calgary vs St. Louis

The Flames have two games-in-hand over the Avs and will hopefully lose that advantage. It needs to start tonight with a regulation loss against the Blues.

Vancouver vs Los Angeles

Although it's not likely, LA will be in the hearts of every Colorado fan as they take on another team with two games-in-hand.

Video Fix

Enjoy the Avs-Nucks shootout from February 27th!

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Sunday, March 9, 2008

Three point games hurting Avs [Rant]

With 28 seconds to go, the Minnesota Wild just tied their game against San Jose 2-2 with what a pretty weak goal. The two teams will now go to overtime where they'll battle it out for the extra point.

Why does the NHL insisit on rewarding teams for losing? The loser of this game is going to get one point for doing something they didn't set out to do. If the NHL truly wanted to increase offense, they would stop giving teams points for getting to the extra period. This would eliminate the mentality of a team trying to get one point first, and the extra point second.

Look at the Vancouver Canucks. Ten OT losses. The Canucks have ten points from games they haven't won. Losing is a part of life. And in pro sports, it shouldn't be rewarded.

Now as far as this game goes, if the Wild get the extra point, the best the Avs can do this afternoon is tie for third in the conference. However, if the Sharks can beat the Wild in the OT or the shootout, the Avs can take over the 3rd spot in the conference.

Update when the game ends.

Update

What a crazy end to a game. In OT, Minnesota had a 2-on-1 and seemed to have beaten Nabokov when Patrick Marleau, who is in the midst of an awful season batted the puck out of midair.

In the shootout, Pierre-Marc Bouchard of the Wild pulled off a very sweet spin-o-rama to extend the shootout until Marleau became the hero and won the game for the Sharks.

It's worthy to note that the Sharks have now won 9 in a row and have knocked off Dallas for second in the conference.

But Nashville lost to the Wings in regulation and Minnesota took just 1/2 from the Sharks to set up what should be a fun Avs game tonight.

Enjoy it!

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Forsberg, Brunette lead Avs to 3rd period comeback (Win 3-1 vs Stars)

Trailing 1-0 going into the third period against the second best team in the West, Colorado fans finally saw that this wasn't the mediocre team we have been watching all year. No, this was a team with confidence. With desire. With talent.

And that talent is what shined through as the Avs beat the Stars 3-1.

Starting with a beautiful tic-tac-toe play seven minutes in, Andrew Brunette and Peter Forsberg picked up assists on a goal by Scott Hannan, who had been pinching down low. The goal was finally an answer to Turco's stellar play.

Then, on the power play, the 30th ranked power play, Peter Forsberg showed exactly what he can bring when he fluttered a puck to Andrew Brunette who proceeded to tip it by Turco for the goal.

The rest was gravy as Theodore, who made 25 saves on 26 shots, made big stops and Paul Stastny clinched it with an empty net goal.

It's a win that indicates how much confidence this team has. They would not have won this game a month ago. Not a chance. To play a team with an elite goaltender who is just as confident as you are, and score three third period goals? Incredible.

It's also worthy to note that Brunette is now on a 5-game point streak.

With that, props to John-Michael Liles, who was pinching down low all night but continued to hustle back and negated various odd-man rushes. The same goes for Scott Hannan. This might have been his greatest game as an Av. He made so many key plays, including breaking up a pass late in the third which probably would have lead to a Dallas goal.

Credit to Cody McLeod, who seemed to be on the ice for every penalty drawn by the Avs. Work hard and hit and you'll be in the NHL one day, kids.

Foote Injured

Adam Foote was out of the game with a hip injury. Denver newspapers say it is nothing serious and it's more likely Foote wsa just sore after blocking all of those shots in the last game. He did leave early from that game but was on the bench at the end of it.

Jordan Leopold was playing in his place.

In the Lineup...

Cody McCormick found himself back in the lineup as Scott Parker was a healthy scratch. McCormick was playing with his usual linemates - Laperriere and Guite.

Brunette Nominated

Andrew Brunette has been nominated for the Bill Masterston Memorial Trophy, which is awarded to the player who best exemplifies the qualities of leadership, sportsmanship, perservance, and dedication to hockey. Good luck Bruno!

Three Stars of the Game

1. Andrew Brunette (The Avs best offensive player the last two games, scored the game winner and had an assist)
2. Peter Forsberg (Two assists, looks as dominant on the power play as ever)
3. Scott Hannan (Edging out Theodore, Hannan has been improving all season)

Next Up

The Avs finish their home-and-home series with the Stars TONIGHT in Dallas at 8 PM EST. Theodore will be in net, riding a six-game winning streak as the Avs try to make it seven in a row.

On the Bubble

If all goes according to plan, the Avs won't be on the bubble in a few weeks. But they have made some tremendous strides during this streak. Check it out:

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

Colorado is currently in a three-way tie for first place in the division. Minnesota, Colorado, and Calgary all have 80 points and all have 13 games remaining. But because Calgary has played less games, and Minnesota, who has played the same amount of games and has the same amount of wins as the Avs, have taken more points in the season series against the Avs, they take the sixth spot. Complicated? Yeah.

But if Vancouver wins their next game and makes it a four-way tie, the standings will stay the same.

Tonight's Key Games

San Jose vs Minnesota

A Wild loss and Avalanche win means the Avs would take over first in the division (though they will have played two more games than Calgary) and Minnesota will continue their horrid collapse. San Jose is 8-2-0 in their last 10 so things look pretty good for Colorado.

Video Fix

Enjoy a parody of one of the most unpopular NHL commercials this year!

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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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Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Avs Jump to 7th (Win vs Kings/Canucks) - Forsberg Returns/Svatos and Smyth Out

The first two games in March were eventful ones. But both of them for very different reasons.

Los Angeles

After LA scored the first goal of the game, the Avs came roaring back thanks to two Ryan Smyth goals.

Ruslan Salei also got his first goal as an Av and Brunette and Sakic scored as well.

The Avs won 5-2.

But...

Injuries

First it was Svatos. Cross-checked into the boards, Svatos is listed as day-to-day but given his injury history, it doesn't look that good.

A few minutes later, Smyth was checked near the benches when his helmet popped off and he hit the ice with a thud. According to sources, he's out for the season with a torn MCL. No word on a possible return for the playoffs.

Three Stars of the Game

1. Ryan Smyth (Two goals, one assist before going down)
2. Jordan Leopold (Three assists - showing us his offensive upside)
3. Ruslan Salei (Great defense, great goal)

Foote Assist

Congratulations to Adam Foote who got his first point as an Av this season - an assist.


Vancouver

The Canucks were tied with the Avs in the standings but had a game in hand to bolster their confidence.

It was a very tightly played game. Wolski and Parker were both in the lineup.

The Avs won 2-1 on goals by Stastny and Liles but the big story was...

Foppa Returns

Greeted with a standing ovation and a tribute video, Forsberg played on a line with Sakic and Hejduk all night and helped quarterback the powerplay.

Forsberg played for 19:57 and had three shots and helped create twice as many scoring chances. He was effective, playing his old physical style and took a few licks along the way. It's clear that teams will target him in the coming games.

Three Stars of the Game

1. John-Michael Liles (Game-winning goal)
2. Andrew Brunette (Two assists, including a great pass on the powerplay goal to Liles)
3. Jose Theodore (26 saves, including one with at the last second)

Next Up

The Avs will face the Anaheim Ducks on Thursday night. The Ducks hold a 2-1 edge in the season series but have yet to see the Forsberg/Foote/Salei driven Avs.

Streak

The Avs are currently on a four-game winning streak.

On the Bubble

There have been some big changes over the past couple of days.

6. Calgary - 79 Points (15 Games Remaining)
7. COLORADO - 76 POINTS (15 Games Remaining)
8. Nashville - 76 Points (15 Games Remaining)
9. Vancouver - 74 Points (16 Games Remaining)
10. Phoenix - 71 Points (16 Games Remaining)
Northwest Division Leader: Minnesota Wild - 79 Points - 15 Games Remaining

A big fall by the Canucks puts the Predators in the playoffs while the Avs have kept pace with Calgary. They still play plenty of games against all of their divisional foes and still have a shot at taking the whole division

Tonight's Key Games

Phoenix at Dallas

A Coyotes loss would be devestating to a team already five points out of the 8th spot.

Go Avs!

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Saturday, March 1, 2008

Avs Need to Take Advantage/Forsberg Not Playing (Pre-Game)

The Avs return home tonight to face the last place Los Angeles Kings. The Kings, who are 4-5-1 in their last 10 games, have actually managed to score more goals than the Avs had this season.

But last night, the Avs were actually pretty fortunate. Although Minnesota did win, Calgary and Vancouver both lost their games. This means that the two teams ahead of the Avs didn't do anything more to secure a potential playoff bid.

6. Calgary - 75 Points - 17 Games Remaining
7. Vancouver - 74 Points - 18 Games Remaining
8. Colorado - 72 Points - 17 Games Remaining
9. Nashville - 72 Points - 17 Games Remaining
10. Phoneix - 71 Points - 17 Games Remaining

Calgary, Phoenix, and Nashville are in action tonight.

Calgary and Phoenix will go head-to-head in what is probably the most important game of the night. With an Avs loss and a Phoenix win, Colorado will be in the 9th spot while the Coyotes will find themselves in the playoffs.

Nasvhille will take on Brad Richards and the Dallas Stars in Dallas, where the Stars are 21-10-2 this season.

To put fear into your hearts, the standings tomorrow could be:

6. Calgary - 75 Points - 16 Games Remaining
7. Vancouver - 74 Points - 17 Games Remaining
8. Nashville - 74 Points - 16 Games Remaining
9. Phoenix - 73 Points - 16 Games Remaining
10. Colorado - 72 Points - 16 Games Remaining

Then again, the standings could look like:

6. Calgary - 77 Points - 16 Games Remaining
7. Vancouver -74 Points - 17 Games Remaining
8. Colorado - 74 Points - 16 Games Remaining
9. Nashville - 72 Points - 16 Games Remaining
10. Phoenix - 71 Points - 16 Games Remaining

So we're rooting for the Flames and the Stars to take home victories tonight.

It is crucial for the Avs to take home this game tonight.

Forsberg

According to NHL.com, Forsberg will not be playing tonight. While he is in Colorado, he wants to practice more before he plays. He says he could debut in Vancouver, but the Avs only have one additional practice before then.

The result of tonight's games may be a deciding factor.


Game Time: 10:00 - Center Ice/Altitude

GO AVS!

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