Post-game vs Chicago - Dec 17, 2006 - Colorado Avalanche Updates, News and Game Reviews at Avs Talk

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Post-game vs Chicago - Dec 17, 2006

Well, the boys just couldn't get it done tonight. It was an exciting game up until the end that's for sure. I think Theodore was pulled with about a minute and a half left so there was some good scrambling! Overall, I was both impressed and unimpressed with the Avs. They come out fairly flat but really turned it on at the end of the game. They just couldn't break down the wall and cash one in.

It was really the second period that did them in. They walked away from that one with 5 shots to Chicago's 13. They're lucky that the score wasn't higher than 2-1 at the end of that period. What led to the goal was taking 2 consecutive penalties. Oh, and leaving Adrian Aucion open to blast a shot almost through the net. That guy has a rocket on him. So much so that in the next PK, Lappy was on him like white on rice.

Jose Theodore got the start tonight and played very well. I felt this was a good move by Q when I heard it. Budaj doesn't feel down as he knows he played well in his 3 starts. It also gives confidence to Theodore as he sees that Q will go to him even with Budaj on a hot streak. I said that if Theodore finally gets a start and does not play well, it would be a near-final nail in the coffin of his career as a starting goaltender. Thankfully, he picked up his play and made some key saves to keep the score at 2-1.

I think the Avalanche gave Martin Havlat too much respect at the start of the game. Sauer basically opened up the widest hole I've seen since...well, leave it at that. He just tap-danced around the whole team and then fed it to Ruutu who cashed it in. I think some words were given and from that point on they played the body on Havlat a bit more. It's pretty tough to play the body on a guy who's there on second and magically vanishes the next and appears behind you. He's a magician with that puck on his stick and he's only going to get better.

I think Kurt Sauer played a better game tonight than he did on Friday. Aside from letting Havlat walk around him, he made some good choices on keeping the puck in the offensive zone and put the body on some guys in the defensive zone. Maybe he was just nervous in the game on Friday.

Wolski seems to take some time to wind up each game. In the first period he fanned on 3 passes in a row on one shift and seemed almost disinterested in the game. He played a bit better in the second and even more so in the third. For him to survive and become an elite player, he's going to need to come in more fired up. He has been skating well on the forecheck and has gotten better at backchecking. So he is improving! I think fans put a bit too much hope in him for his first full season though. We have to remember that it is his first year and he's no Crosby.

Turgeon continues to be a force out there as he recorded an assist on the only goal of the night. Brett Mclean had a beautiful tip on the Turgeon shot and gave us all hope! There was also a span of about 15 seconds where Turgeon just sat behind the net waiting with the puck and nobody went near him. It's good that we have a player that gets that sort of respect with the puck. You want your opponents to fear you!

Khabibulin also had himself a pretty impressive game. He made a few key stops on some in close chances by the Avalanche and weathered the storm at the end of the third period to come away with the win. It looks like he's really starting to regain his form lately. In an interesting note, I heard the announcers mention that in the year before the Lightning cup win, Khabibulin decided it was time to get in better shape to become a better goaltender. Makes sense. So he eat better. He worked out harder. He got his condition up. He quit smoking. He...wait, what? He smoked *while* he was an NHL goaltender? I didn't think that any NHL player would still be sucking back on the tobacco leaves.

The Good
- came out hard in the third period
- good performance by Theodore

The Bad
- the Bulin wall going up
- sloppy first period
- weak second period

The Ugly
- penalties costing the game

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