Pre-game vs Detroit - Jan 9, 2007 - Colorado Avalanche Updates, News and Game Reviews at Avs Talk

Tuesday, January 9, 2007

Pre-game vs Detroit - Jan 9, 2007

It's time to for the Colorado Avalanche to face their bitter rivals the Detroit Red Wings. Well, they actually might not be considered bitter rivals anymore. Does anyone else still feel the heat when these two teams match up? It feels like most other games to me nowadays but maybe others feel differently. Either way, the red hot Avalanche are hosting the ice cold Red Wings. The Avalanche are winners of their last three while the Red Wings are losers of their last 3. Which one will have the streak snapped tonight?

Tonight will be the first night that the Avs are without their 4th leading scorer, John-Michael Liles. He suffered a broken foot against Minnesota and has been placed on the IR with the expectation of being out for 4 weeks. How will this affect the Avalanche's mediocre powerplay and what will it do to an already depleted defensive end? It depends on whether Patrice Brisebois is back in the lineup tonight or not. If he is in the lineup, then the situation isn't terrible by any means. If he's out, it should be interesting to see how things go.

Peter Budaj is the likely starter in goal tonight for the Avalanche while the Wings are probably going to start Hasek. I wouldn't be surprised to see Chris Osgood suit up though. Neither goalie has excelled over the last 3 games for the Wings and Hasek has been the worst of the two. Of course I didn't watch those games so can't comment on his performance which included giving up 5 PP goals. Osgood played reasonably well in a loss to LA 2 nights later and then Hasek put in an adequate performance against the Ducks. Could it be time for the Wings to rotate starting goalies for a while to ensure Hasek is healthy for the stretch run?

I haven't seen anything about Brisebois being back tonight so for now, I will assume he is out. This would mean that we have the following offensive defensemen: Clark and Cumiskey. Now, as heralded as defensive defencemen are, we do still need some offensively minded players on the backend to run the powerplay and get those breakouts going. And given that this is Cumiskey's 4th game, I would be surprised to see him get significant time on the powerplay. Q will certainly get him out there a bit to feel him out but I'd see Clark and Sakic being the main duo with some double-shifting happening with one or both on the powerplay.

As for line combinations on D, the safe bet is to essentially follow what was used before but replace Liles with Klee. So you'd see Clark-Skrastins, Klee-Vaananen, Sauer-Cumiskey. The Klee-Vaananen pairing might give people more concern than Sauer-Cumiskey since the latter two have played fairly well together. If Brisebois were to be back in, the lines would be a bit more balanced though I think the middle pairing would still be the most questionable one in terms of play.

Minnesota and Calgary play each other tonight so the Avs chance at jumping over someone in the standings takes a bit of a hit. Assuming the Avs win, they need Calgary to finish Minnesota in regulation time to jump over the Wild. They have no chance at leapfrogging Calgary. With an Avs win and Flames regulation time loss, they would tie Calgary with 46 points and Calgary has fewer games played thereby winning the tiebreaker. So with a sad heart I must say...Go Flames!

Leopold - groin, IR
Liles - foot, IR
Brisebois - back, day-to-day
Mclean - back, day-to-day

Schneider - knee, day-to-day
Chelios - lower body & personal, day-to-day
Kopecky, collarbone, IR

Sakic has 19 in 14, Brunette has 15 in 12, Hejduk has 3 in 3, Stastny has 3 in 2.

Zetterberg has 10 in 10, Williams has 5 in 5, Kronwall has 3 in 3, Holmstrom has 6 in 6.

Laperriere has 0 in 12, Turgeon has 0 in 6, Laaksonen has 0 in 7.

Maltby has 0 in 6, Cleary has 0 in 5, Lang has 1 in 4, Lidstrom has 1 in 4.

Peter Budaj - 12-8-1, 2.41 GAA, .910 save pct
Dominik Hasek - 21-7-3, 2.04 GAA, .912 save pct

Colorado - 21-18-2, 4th in NW, 9th in West
Detroit - 25-12-5, 2nd in Central, 5th in West


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