Pre-game vs Edmonton - Dec 23, 2006 - Colorado Avalanche Updates, News and Game Reviews at Avs Talk

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Pre-game vs Edmonton - Dec 23, 2006

It's almost time for a Merry Christmas and what could make it merrier than the Avs finally solving the Chicago Blackhawks. The Avs have so far been unable to get out a win out of what is, on paper, a weaker team. Lately though, paper seems to matter less and less as the Hawks have climbed back into playoff contention on the backs of a new coach and a healthy Martin Havlat.

The Avs are supposed to be coming off of a win against the Flames on Thursday but, luckily for the Flames, a blizzard sealed off the city of Denver and the game was postponed. In a stroke of luck for the Avalanche, Jose Theodore managed to not break his heel on some icy steps and should start in goal tonight. After an unexpected rest, it would seem that any nagging injuries have had a chance to heal up and the Avs should be fairly healthy coming into the game tonight.

Fairly healthy that is, save for Leopold and Svatos. Leopold, as we all know too well, is out for a while. Svatos, as planned, will miss this game as well to get his groin back to 100%. Although we all want Svatos to come back, if we want him to come back as the Svatos we know, we'll have to suffer without him for another game or two.

With the start of Jose Theodore will be the start of Nikolai Khabibulin. The Bulin Wall held up in the game between these teams as he was able to slightly outdo Theodore and get the win for his team. And he's not looking back right now! In his last 3 games, he has a 1.34 GAA and a .946 save pct. He just might be back to his cup winning form and that's bad news for the Western Conference. We've got enough all-star goalies right now, thank you.

Hopefully the Avs can continue with a pretty darn hot offensive line. Granted, a lot of their points came in the goal-fest against Edmonton, they've still been looking better as of late. Not great, but better. They're battling more but still inconsistently. Some nights they'll have so many bodies in front of the net that opposing goalies see nothing but burgundy. Other nights, the goalie sees nothing but open ice and black rubber coming at him. The return of Turgeon seems to have helped sparked things with his crafty little plays. His veteran presence appears to have stabilized things a bit.

I won't be catching this game on tv and likely won't get all of it on radio as I'm visiting family. But I'll do my best to get a post-game up though it might not be terribly in-depth. And some insight might be shortsighted!

Injuries
Svatos and Leopold - groin

Handzus and Lalime on IR

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

Havlat has 10 in 8, Smolinski has 10 in 10, Keith has 5 in 4

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

Sharp has 0 in 5, Bourque has 0 in 4, Lapointe has 0 in 3

Goaltenders
Jose Theodore -8-9-1, 3.01 GAA, .903 save pct
Nikolai Khabibulin - 13-6-2, 2.43 GAA, .918 save pct

Standings
Colorado - 17-15-2, 3rd in NW, 8th in West
Chicago - 15-14-5, 3rd in Central, 10th in West

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