Okay, award for worst Avalanche blogger this week goes to me. I’m terribly sorry if you’ve checked in during the past five days, only to find things static. I’m back, and ready to blog (at least every other day) for the foreseeable future during this long offseason.
Alright, time for World Championships updates, Avalanche style.
-Team Canada has played two games. Matt Duchene scored two goals in the first game, (and was named Best Player for Canada), a 3-1 win over Denmark. In the second game, Canada lost to Switzerland in the shootout. Duchene was used three times, and he scored once and was denied twice by Martin Gerber, Switzerland’s goalie. Duchene has gone 16-8 on faceoffs thus far. Ryan O’Reilly has yet to earn any points, but he has gone 9-2 in the faceoff circle.
-Team USA has also played two games since I last posted, and won both of them. Erik Johnson scored two goals in his first game, and had one assist in the second. Matt Hunwick scored in today’s contest. Aaron Palushaj scored in the first game. Paul Stastny has three assists so far, was named Best Player in game one, and has gone 32-13 at the dot. Also, goaltender Ben Bishop (Tampa Bay Lightning), is a native of Denver Colorado.
-Semyon Varlamov was not in the lineup for Team Russia’s first game, but he was in the net for their second, a 4-1 win over Germany. Varlamov made 26 saves on 27 shots to earn the victory.
-Jan Hejda and Gabriel Landeskog’s teams faced off yesterday. Neither had any points, but Landeskog added to his penalty total, while Hejda’s team added to their win total.
The Avs earned three out of four points on this California roadtrip, and played two excellent games. Tonight was special, as it was Sami Aittokallio’s first ever NHL start. (Not too shabby for a 20 year old kid, in his first year pro, and his first year in North America.)
First off, I want to apologize for being absent the past couple of days. Things are busy right now, but I believe I’ll be back to posting daily now.Now, onto the Avalanche.
Paul Stastny blocked a shot with his foot last night, and today the team announced that he will be out for 10 days. The team didn’t give a time frame for Ryan Wilson’s return (he took an awkward fall on the ankle that has caused him to miss 17 games already), but they have already recalled Tyson Barrie from Lake Erie, so he’ll be out for at least a week.
END THE STREAK! END THE STREAK! END THE STREAK!
That was the cheer roaring throughout the Pepsi Center during the 18th and 19th minute of the third period in tonight’s game. In case you’ve been living under a rock, the Blackhawks have been on a tear. They earned points in 24 games, were on a franchise record 11 game win streak…pretty much, the Hawks were on top of the world.
The Avs lost their second game in a row, 2-1, with an own goal. At least tonight though, the Avs played well. It was a really strong game from the Avs, and at the end of the night, they were beaten by two bad bounces and Jimmy Howard’s spectacular goaltending.
Things stayed even at zero throughout the first, and seven minutes of the second. Unfortunately, a Stefan Elliott slapshot was blocked, and the puck was sent to a streaking Johan Franzen. He scored a beautiful goal as the puck just clipped the crossbar. Seven minutes later, Kronwall shot the puck intentionally wide when the Wings were in the zone. The puck bounced back, hit J.S. Giguere’s stick, and slid into the Avs net.
Colorado continued to work hard, they killed off over a minute of 5 on 3 time, and they had a couple of beautiful shots on Howard that he stopped up. With two minutes left in the game, Coach Sacco pulled Giguere. Paul Stastny broke Howard’s shutout 30 seconds later after picking up his own rebound. The game was nearly tied in the final six seconds by Matt Duchene, but the puck bounced on him, and he shot it just wide.
This is a frustrating loss, just from the fact that the Avs played so well. I can’t really critisize them, but I can’t sit here and act like everything is hunky dory. The team is sitting at 20 points in 21 games. We’re looking at going 18-9 in these final games.
The Blackhawks are the opponent tomorrow night. Everyone knows they’re awesome and killing it. It’s good that the Hawks played tonight too, so that they won’t be totally fresh. It’s going to take a hell of an effort to beat the Hawks tomorrow night. I hope the boys, and Varlamov especially, are ready.
-J.S. Giguere had 31 saves in tonight’s game. Shockingly, the Avs shot the puck more than the other team, as Howard made 36 saves.
-Aaron Palushaj didn’t look the same after he took a hard hit to the head in the second. He took a second hit in the head from Jordin Tootoo in the third. Hopefully he’s okay.
-Milan Hejduk has a torso injury. I hope that he’s not out too long, but I don’t know how severe it is.
-Shane O’Brien was really active offensively tonight. Sacco is nuts if he takes him out of the lineup again.
-O’Byrne had a really good game. He’s been looking better lately, and I think he looked really strong tonight.
-David Jones had another pretty brutal night.
-The power play is so embarrassing right now.
The Avs rebounded from a terrible first period to earn a much needed win on home ice.
This was one of the craziest game I’ve seen from the Avs. Luckily, they came out on top, winning 6-5. In the last game, Edmonton won 6-4, because playing loose, offensive hockey works to their advantage. In this game, the Avs had the advantage in a loose game, because Nashville pretty much never gets into wild games like this.
The Colorado Avalanche are hosting the Nashville Predators tomorrow afternoon for the third afternoon game of the season. The Avs are 1-1 in these affairs so far, and are hoping to improve the record to 2-1.