After yesterday’s football overload, I’m definitey ready for some Avs hockey…especially if it includes Ryan O’Reilly, who is back from his shoulder injury. The team previouslyÃ‚Â announced that Forsberg will not play tonight; he is in Phoenix with the team but some bureaucratic red tape means he will have to leave the country and re-enter on a work visa.
Series history: Phoenix 2, Avs 0.
Obviously, this is not good. The Avs will be looking to redeem themselves against a team with very similar statistics. Seriously, on paper these teams are virtually identical. In reality the Coyotes have completely owned the Avs up to this point.
The first meeting was Thursday January 6 at the Pepsi Center. Truthfully it was one of the more painful games I’ve ever witnessed. Taylor Pyatt scored on Anderson with a nice backhand in the first. Phoenix took one penalty in the second, but no one managed to score. In the third Kevin Porter took a hooking penalty for the Avs, Andy was pulled with about a minute left, and Pyatt scored his second on an empty net. That’s it. Colorado failed to score on back up goalie Jason LaBarbera in spite of putting 34 shots on net.Ã‚Â Andy stopped 31 of 32 and was the third star of the game (largely because no one else did anything exciting for either team). The final score was 2-0 Phoenix, and thus ended one of the most boring games in Avalanche history.
The second time they met was on Wednesday, January 26. This game had a few more fireworks, mostly in the form of penalties and Coyotes’ goals.Ã‚Â Ryan Stoa managed to put one in early in the first, but a physical game turned into a penalty parade and the Avs took seven penalties before Matt Duchene scored their second and last goal in the third period. During this same stretch Phoenix scored four times. The final score was 5-2 Coyotes, with the Avs takingÃ‚Â nine penalties (three on Wilson alone) and the Coyotes taking five.
Keep an eye on the Coyotes…
Taylor Pyatt scored the only two goals by any one in the January 6th game. Kevin Yandle, Scottie Upshall & Eric Belanger each put up 2 points in theÃ‚Â January 26thÃ‚Â game.Ã‚Â Yandle has also played well recently, soÃ‚Â definitely watch for #3 tonight.
Having O’Reilly back tonight should help the Avs in some of their struggles both offensively and defensively.Ã‚Â I’m sure he’ll be a little rusty, butÃ‚Â the Avs’ linesÃ‚Â need all the magic and mix-up they can get.Ã‚Â O’Reilly is also good with the play both ways, so he really should be able to make a bit of a difference tonight. And who knows, maybe just knowing Forsberg signed and will soon play will put some zest back in their game.
For your watching and/or listening pleasure…
The puck drops at 7:30 pm MST. You can catch the game televised on Altitude 2 in HD, or listen live on Altitude Radio online and on AM 950 in Denver.
The Avs have been solid on the road, and tonight would be an excellent night to kick up the energy, keep a lid on penalties, and play 60 whole minutes of hockey against the Phoenix Coyotes. Go Avs!
UPDATE: The Colorado Avalanche website (linked at right) is advertising a Breakaway Plan for today only. The package includes four games against Anaheim, Toronto, Calgary, and Edmonton in March and April as well as Nashville for a “bonus” game. Pretty sweet deal if you’re looking to go to several games as the Avs *hopefully* play their way into the post season.