Saturday, October 3, 2009

Anderson Shuts Vancouver Down; Avs: 2-0, First in League



The only words to describe the first two games? Surreal.

After losing the face of the franchise to retirement and subsequently retiring his number on Thursday night, the Colorado Avalanche handed the reigns to Adam Foote, Milan Hejduk, and a bunch of kids who should be hanging in a college dorm, rather than playing hockey. No one would have have been surprised if the Avs had come out the first two games with a 0-2 record. No one would have been surprised if the power play and penalty kill struggled, or if Craig Anderson was mediocre, or if Matt Duchene needed more conditioning in Brampton. What is surprising, however, is that everything has worked out to be the exact opposite.

Going 2-6 on the PP, Colorado got goals from Paul Stastny and Darcy Tucker. Those goals made 3-0, after Wojtek Wolski netted his third goal of the season in the first.

The top line kept their momentum from the first game. Wolski, along with his goal, had an assist, while Hejduk had a two assist night. Likewise, Stastny had yet another two point night.

The real start of the show was Craig Anderson. He made 35 saves in what turned out to be his 8th career shutout. (He also gave a heck of an interview with Kyle Keefe after the game.) "Andy" was spectacular at times and solid throughout. He does a lot of flopping around in the crease, but it seems to work for him.

Matt Duchene was pointless today, but had several chances to score and made a few nice passes on the PP. He was given over five minutes of power play time along with a minute on the penalty kill. He drew a penalty in the third and continues to be effective on the forecheck.

Ryan O'Reilly improved on his opening night performance. He had a golden opportunity in the second that Luongo just got a pad on.

The real winner appears to be Kyle Quincey. For the second game in a row, he lead the team in ice time (23:35.) He's taken on the role of power play quarterback very easily, and he earned an assist on Stastny's second period goal.

Odds and Ends

-The new mascot was revealed today: Bernie the Bernard Really? A dog? I don't care what bernards are supposed to symbolize. Actually, I don't even want a mascot. But at least it isn't this Bernard:


-Anybody catch Adam Foote punch a Nuck in the back as the game was winding down? Awesome. Vintage Foote.

-What about that smile from Darcy Tucker after the final horn had sounded? He's off to a surprisingly good start.

-Chris Stewart with a dud of a game. Zeroes across the score sheet and no time on the PP or PK.

-Joe Sacco: 2-0 as a head coach in the National Hockey League

Scratches

-TJ Hensick
-Ruslan Salei

David Koci barely played so I'm banking on see Hensick suit up for the first time next Thursday. Cumiskey improved from Thursday, so I'm not sure when we'll be seeing Salei. Trade?

AF's Three Stars

1. Craig Anderson (Shutout, good interview)
2. Darcy Tucker (Goal #2, Fight, 5 shots, Gordie Howe Hat Trick nominee)
3. Wojtek Wolski (Goal #3, continued crashing the net, 6 shots)

Next Up

The Avalanche start a seven-game road trip next Thursday against the Nashville Predators at 8 PM ET.

League Standings

As of Saturday, October 3rd - The Avs are first in the league with 4 points.

Video Fix

Who else but Super Joe?

BallHyped.com - Best Sports Blogs, Sports Blogger Rankings

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