Pre-game vs Calgary - Dec 21, 2006 - Colorado Avalanche Updates, News and Game Reviews at Avs Talk

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Pre-game vs Calgary - Dec 21, 2006

The big questions tonight is...will the game go on as planned? Denver just had 60cm of snow, the airports are closed, roads are closed, a state of emergency has been declared. It doesn't look good. The main thing to remember however, is that these are hockey players! They thrive in winter time so all this snow must have them bursting at the seams to put on a great performance for the fans. And since the Flames were practicing at the Pepsi Center this morning, I'd say the game is good to go.

This is the biggest game of the season by far. Then again, every subsequent game will be the biggest game of the season. Which is great. Why wouldn't you want each game to be more important than the next? The story behind this one is that the Avs could take over 1st place in the NW with a win tonight. If the Avs win and Edmonton loses to Phoenix, then Denver based fans can run through the giant snowbanks yelling "We're #1! We're #1". If they lose and Vancouver wins against Boston, then Denver based fans can run through the giant snowbanks yelling "We're #5! We're #5!". So either way, you can have some fun if you live in the state of emergency area.

The Avs are on a 3-game home winning streak but have had some bad luck lately when it's come to playing the Flames. For some reason, they have trouble against this team and have lost 4 straight. But the good news is, the last 2 trips to the Pepsi Center resulted in the Flames heading home with their tails between their legs. So I put the count in that paragraph at: Bad Luck - 1, Good Luck -2. So Good Luck shall prevail. or Bad Luck will tie it up. It's tough to tell.

As Jamie McLennan started the last Flames game, it's 100% guaranteed that Kiprusoff starts tonight. Now there's not much good news here folks. Kiprusoff is 9-4-1 with a 1.85 GAA and .934 save pct in his last 14 starts. If someone finds good news in there, feel free to share. For the Avs, I'm thinking that Theodore gets the start tonight after Budaj had a shaky night against Edmonton. Or Quenneville could decide it's time to let a goalie rebound after a bad start. Or he could toss a dart at both of them, whoever it hits sits out due to injury and the other gets the start.

Last game against Edmonton was a very sloppy game. It was exciting to watch, but it was certainly not the best hockey I've ever seen. Some terrible goaltending and some terrible defending led to some wicked looking offense. Let's hope that tonight the Avs tighten up a bit on defense but keep the offense going. The Flames are tied with Dallas for 3rd best goals against for the entire NHL so you know their defense is pretty darn tight already. Everyone on the team knows how lucky they were to pull out the win so I expect to see a fairly different defensive style. By that I mean they'll give away less pucks, flop around on the ice less (Karlis, I'm looking at you), and try to cover guys that are wide open in the slot (Klee...)

Back to the plus side, Andrew Brunette, Pierre Turgeon, and Paul Stastny had stellar games in terms of point production. Brunette recorded his first career hat trick, Turgeon had a wicked, crafty goal followed up by 2 assists and Stastny recorded a goal and 3 assists. So they are obviously in the Who's Hot side of things, along with many of the Avs players. The most notable of those, aside from Mr. Sakic, is that JM Liles has 12 points in his last 12 games. That's stellar production from a defenseman. He just has to make sure he doesn't cost the team defensively while pinching in of course.

Alex Tanguay is listed as day-to-day with a charley horse right now. Since that's not a terrible injury I can say this...YES! Let's hope he's out for the game tonight as he and Iginla have found some chemistry lately and I'd like to avoid that. Roman Hamrlik and Andrei Zyuzin are both listed as day-to-day with groin injuries and Rhett Warrener has a leg injury which would be a fair sized blow to the Flames defense.

Injuries
Svatos and Leopold - groin

Hamrlik and Zyuzin - groin (day-to-day)
Warrener - leg (day-to-day)
Tanguay - charley horse (day-to-day)

Hot
Liles has 12 in 12, Arnason has 10 in 10, Clark has 7 in 7, Brunette has 8 in 5, Richardson has 3 in 2, Hejduk has 4 in 4

Iginla has 14 in 6, Langkow has 7 in 3, Amonte has 5 in 3, Huselius has 3 in 3

Cold
Laperriere has 0 in 5, Laaksonen has 0 in 4

Lundmark has 0 in 18, Kobasew has 1 in 5

Goaltenders
Jose Theodore -8-9-1, 3.01 GAA, 903 save pct
Miika Kiprusoff -16-11-2, 2.14 GAA, .927 save pct

Standings
Colorado - 17-15-2, 4th in NW, 9th in West
Calgary - 17-12-3, 1st in NW, 3rd in West

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