Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Avs Lose in OT 2-1, Series Tied 2-2

As I watched last night's game, I kept thinking back to Joe Sakic Night. The season had just begun, starting a new era for Avalanche fans. On October 1st, Matt Duchene played his first NHL game, Ryan O'Reilly shocked Avalanche fans by being in the lineup, Chris Stewart shocked Avalanche fans by not being in the lineup, TJ Galiardi was slated as the fourth line center, Matt Hendricks and Brandon Yip were nobodies, and Kyle Cumiskey was just a small, fast kid who probably was seeing the 09-10 season as his last chance to make an impression.

Oh what a season it has been.

And it's not even close to over.

Despite a 2-1 loss to the top seeded Sharks last night, the Avalanche played perhaps one of their best games of the season. They were sound defensively, put consistent pressure on San Jose, and stood up to them physically - all without Milan Hejduk, Peter Mueller, Ryan Stoa, David Jones and Kevin Porter in the lineup.

Just some thoughts...

-I understand scratching Ryan Wilson, but I'm shocked that it was Salei, not Clark who was inserted into the lineup. Clark may be a turnover machine sometimes, but at least he can skate. I thought we were done with Salei after that miserable series of games in late March. Apparently not.

-The third and fourth lines have been IMPRESSIVE. The goals aren't coming, but the energy and hard work is really coming to the forefront. Matt Hendricks and Stephane Yelle played great games last night - banging bodies, winning faceoffs, and getting pucks to the net.

-O'Reilly has STEPPED UP.

-At long last, the Avs have found a goalie. Craig Anderson, if you didn't know by now, is the real deal. He will give the chance the Avs to make a run in these playoffs if the offense can somehow manage to score a few goals in the next couple of games. The first round is about surviving. Someone needs to put the puck in the net so as to not waste Andy's efforts.

-In an Avalanche fan's mind, TJ Galiardi and Rob Blake have become polar opposites this series. One is now beloved, the other was booed every time he touched the puck in the Pepsi Center. Figure it out.

-Someone needs to score
-Someone needs to score
-Someone needs to score

The Avs are right there - on the doorstep. SO CLOSE to a second round appearance. It's now a best-of-3 series and they just need to show the same effort they did in Game 4 two more times. It's possible. Believe.

Game 5 - Thursday 10:30 ET
Go Avs.

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