Post-game vs Nashville - Jan 1, 2007 - Colorado Avalanche Updates, News and Game Reviews at Avs Talk

Monday, January 1, 2007

Post-game vs Nashville - Jan 1, 2007

And a happy new year it is as the Avs put away the 2nd overall team in the West. Lose to the Blue but beat the Predators. Sounds about right. Either way, the win ensures the Avs don't lose too much ground in the tight Northwest division. They stay in 4th place, one point behind Vancouver and 2 points behind Minnesota and Calgary and are unfortunately still out of a playoff position. With a pretty tough January ahead of them, the Avs better build on this momentum and put the .500 days of 2006 in the past.

Joe Sakic moves into the top 10 for all-time scoring leaders with his 3 assists tonight. Since it was a road-game, not much was made of it but I wonder if there might be some sort of quick pre-game announcement or vignette before their next home game. It would be a nice touch for a man who shys away from the spotlight as much as he tries. Well Joe, you're in the top 10 now so the spotlight is shining directly on you for the time being...soak it up.

The Avs went with 7 D tonight as Richardson, Brisebois and Mclean were out with injury. So this gave everyone their first chance to see what Kyle Cumiskey could do. He ended up with 11 minutes in ice-time and appeared very composed considering it was his first NHL game. He made some good defensive plays and made few mistakes. Kurt Sauer also played a decent game which is good to see. I've never been a big fan of Sauer but if he can contribute, then I'm all smiles. These 2 were actually paired together for the most part tonight.

The defenseman that ended up with limited ice-time tonight was Ken Klee. He ended up playing under 12 minutes which is unusual as he's typically right up there in ice-time. Ossi Vaananen, who buried a goal tonight, ended up with near 15 minutes of ice-time and had a +2 rating. Again, Skrastins and Clark were the 2 D on the PK with a bit of contribution from Klee and Sauer. So it appears that the Avs don't enough defensive D-men to contribute to the PK. Well, I'd guess it might be getting close to the time where they need to address that deficiency.

Special teams continue to haunt the Avalanche. They went 0 for 5 on the PP and were a dismal 2 for 4 on the PK. Thankfully they were able to get it done at even strength today but they won't always be afforded that luxury. The first PK of the game seemed like they had figured things out. They pressured the Preds, chased loose pucks in the corner, and cleared the zone at times. The next couple weren't so good and both led to goals. The second goal was off an Avs players skate so I'm less inclined to say it was a terrible PK but the fact remains that the puck ended up in the net. The power play, for the most part, appears disorganized. There's no booming shot from the point and there seems to be no real set plays that the players try and put together.

Coach Q decided to shake up the lines a bit and paired Hejduk with Stastny and Brunette and moved Svatos up to the top line with Sakic and Wolski. And it appeared to work. Hejduk potted one (though it sounds like it was Svatos' goal) as did Brunette. Wolski walked away with a pair after hitting the empty net. Svatos came away with 2 assists and Sakic ended up with 3 on the night. Tyler Arnason also broke his 5 game point drought with an assist. So in this case, line juggling worked. And it was a justified time to do it what with the whole "not winning in 3 games" issue.

Svatos finally showed some jump in his step tonight. It appeared more related to getting a goal (which he didn't get credit for) more than just playing on the top line. Hitting a sophomore slump as he did can take a toll on your confidence and as easy as it is to sit here and say "He needs to break out of that!", let's face it...the game is a very mental game and this is only his second full season. You have to give players time to mature mentally so they can fight through those slumps which all players go through.

Both Wojtek Wolski and Peter Budaj had good games tonight. Wolski continues to be a force out there as he buried the first goal of the game and added an empty netter to seal the win. He is now on pace for a 30 goal season which I think is more than acceptable for his rookie season. Peter Budaj added his 10th win of the season moving him into the lead for pretty much every goaltending stat there is for the team. Is he the #1 now?

The Good
- road win against a top team
- point droughts snapped for 3 players (Arnason, Clark, Hejduk)

The Bad
- 2 PP goals against
- 0 PP goals for

The Ugly
- Avalanche special teams play


Post a Comment