Pre-game vs Edmonton - Dec 15, 2006 - Colorado Avalanche Updates, News and Game Reviews at Avs Talk

Friday, December 15, 2006

Pre-game vs Edmonton - Dec 15, 2006

The Oilers roll into Colorado as the Avs try to extend their winning streak to 3 games for the first time this season. The Avalanche have had a day of rest after dispatching the Blues on Wednesday while the Oilers are coming off a hard-earned victory over the Minnesota Wild to secure 1st place in the Northwest. Who knew that after Pronger left, the Oilers could still be a contending team. Certainly not many of the Oiler fans who pissed and moaned like they had lost the entire team. I guess Pronger was their Ken Klee.

Peter Budaj gets his third straight start. I can't say I blame Q for going with Budaj again. I'm not a fan of riding the hot goalie but Budaj has played solid in the last 2 games. He gave up a questionable goal in each but came away with a GAA of 1.5 and save pct of .944.

The only problem is that if the team loses, I'm sure Q will go back to Theodore on Sunday. I've got no problem having Theodore in net, but I want to see any of our goalies get more starts after a loss. I expect that once Theodore gets back into the net, he will come in hot (in more ways than one) and will be eager to prove his worth. If he doesn't, I'd say his days are numbered. Not that Colorado would be able to offload him anywhere, but if you can't rebound after sitting for 3 or more games with a solid effort, then your head is just not in it for whatever reason.

The Avs offense is riding high right now after scoring 18 goals in their last 4 games. It's put a lot of players into the Hot column. So many in fact, that I'm only going to list about half of them. It's great to see the offense break out like this as there is a wealth of offensive firepower on this team. Maybe not as much as years past, but enough that they should be averaging 3.5 goals a game. They're slightly under that with 3.2 goals per game and that is all due to inconsistency. 7 goals one night, 0 goals the next. Mind boggling at times.

In the last 2 games, the defense has come into its own as well. 3 goals against in the last 2 games is deserving of a pat on the back. We can only hope they continue to show up and play well. Losing Leopold to injury again might benefit some players a bit as their positions are secured again for the near, and possibly far, future.

Ryan Smyth is out with a fractured thumb which is a blessing in two ways. First, he's a huge leader on that team so having him out can't help Edmonton at all. Second, it means there won't be any sort of "retribution" for Smyth running over Richardson they last time they met. Which may or may not have been precluded by Liles kneeing Richardson the time before that. So this might be a "get over it" game and hopefully we don't have to hear about either incident ad nauseum from the commentators.

It should be interesting to see which forward sits tonight. With Turgeon back, there is an empty spot up in the press box that needs to be filled. Richardson filled it last time and both Rycroft and Laaksonen have been scratches as well. Laaksonen is a good penalty killer but so far is useless at anything else. Richardson is a good killer and has scored some timely goals. Rycroft is a reasonable replacement for Hinote in terms of energy. I could see any of those 3 sit and not lose sleep over it.

Since I get to watch this game on Sportsnet, I will be able to put up a quicker post-game entry. I won't need to wait for the highlights to see some of the goals, saves and hits (do hits still happen?).

Injuries
Leopold is out indefinitely with no more word on his condition yet.

Hemsky has a shoulder injury but could be in the lineup tonight. Moreau is out until late March/early April at best. Smyth is on the IR with his broken thumb.

Hot
Sakic has 9pts in the last 4 games, Brunette has 4pts in the last 2 games, Wolski and Liles both have 9pts in the last 9 games and Tyler Arnason has 7pts in the last 7 games.

Jarret Stoll has 6pts in the last 4, Raffi Torres has 3pts in the last 2 and Bergeron and Pisani both have 2pts in the last 2.

Cold
Svatos has just 1pt in the last 4 games.

Lupul has 0pts in the last 5, Reasoner, Smith and Staois have 0 in the last 4 and Horcoff only has 1 in the last 5.

Goaltenders
Peter Budaj - 7-6-1, 2.38 GAA, .913 save pct
Dwayne Roloson - 14-10-2, 2.4 GAA, .920 save pct

Standings
Colorado - 15-14-2, 5th in NW, 10th in West
Edmonton - 17-12-2, 1st in NW, 3rd in West

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