Pre-game vs Carolina - Dec 11, 2006 - Colorado Avalanche Updates, News and Game Reviews at Avs Talk

Monday, December 11, 2006

Pre-game vs Carolina - Dec 11, 2006

Game time is looming around the corner and the Avs have a shadow cast over their heads. They gave up a lead on 3 separate occasions and gave it up for good in the 3rd as the Kings mounted comebacks from 2-0, 3-2, and 4-3 deficits to come out with a 5-4 regulation time win on Saturday. That's a disappointing loss for any team, let alone the Avs who are mired with inconsistency lately.

Carolina is finishing up their Western swing and have lost in all 3 games (Calgary, Edmonton, Vancouver) and should be looking to rebound. Coming out of a 4 game roadswing with only 1 point (OT loss to Canucks) is a feeling any team will fight to avoid.

The starting goalie for Colorado is unannounced at the time I'm writing this. Although the typical course of action would be to switch goalies after a loss, whispers in the wind say that Theo gets the start tonight. If so, I completely agree with it. He played well against LA and made some big saves. He gave up two questionable (not weak, questionable) goals but made about 3 breakaway stops and some big point-blank shots on powerplays. Let him build on that.

Carolina will likely go with Cam Ward though John Grahame has played all right as of late, his last game being a loss to Calgary where he gave up 2 goals on 31 shots. Ward also played the last two games of their swing so don't be surprised if they opt to rest him and go with Grahame.

If the defensive scratch rotation stays true, Ken Klee will be the odd-man out tonight on defense. Hopefully somethings happens soon to remedy this but it's good that they're not rushing into anything. If a deal hasn't happened yet, it means the right one hasn't come along.

Carolina has a few injuries which could play to the Avs advantage. Rod Brind'amour, the man you love to hate (or is it just me?), is listed as day-to-day as is Cory Stillman. Brind'amour is the leading scorer for Carolina and apparently a source of inspiration to the team. So here's hoping that this deflates them! They are also without Frantisek Kaberle who is on the IR after shoulder surgery.

The Avs have just Brad May as a listed injury. This should mean Hejduk is in the lineup tonight after leaving Saturday's game against the Kings. Which may not mean much the way he's been playing lately. Where's the Duke of old? It can't just be missing Foppa that has him in this funk.

Hot
Sakic is on fire with 5 points in the last 2 games. Brett Clark now has 4 in 2, Liles has 6 in 5 and Arnason has 5 in 5. Brunette has 2 points in his last 2 games so here's to hoping he's breaking out of his funk.

Cole has 3 in 2 and Adams has 2 in 2 for Carolina.

Cold
I don't even know where to start in this column for either team. Both Avs goalies are cold with over a 3.00 GAA and under .900 save pct in their last 4 games. Leopold, Hejduk and Stastny have no points in the last 4 games and Svatos haas nothing in the last 3. I know people have been saying they like these line combinations but I think Wolski is wasted with Sakic due to his lack of effort and Hejduk and Stastny are not getting the time they need due to killing penalties.

Carolina has a wealth of talent in this column as well. Letowski, Adams, Walker, and Gleason have no points in the last 6,3,3, and 9 respectively. Ward is getting lit up a bit with a 3.5 GAA and .873 save pct in his last 2 games. In his last 8 games, he's let in 26 goals and is 4-3-1. I haven't seen enough of the Carolina defense to know how well they play around him.

Goaltenders
Jose Theodore -8-8-1, 3.06 GAA, .903 save pct
Cam Ward - 13-8-3, 2.98 GAA, .893 save pct

Standings
Colorado - 13-14-2, 5th in NW, 10th in West
Carolina - 15-12-4, 2nd in SE, 6th in East

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