Pre-game vs Phoenix - Jan 26, 2007 - Colorado Avalanche Updates, News and Game Reviews at Avs Talk

Friday, January 26, 2007

Pre-game vs Phoenix - Jan 26, 2007

Holy smokes it's time for real hockey again! Not that I didn't enjoy the All-Star game but it doesn't have the same excitement as a game that actually matters. And to those berating the All-Star game - lighten up. It seems like the trendy thing to do now is call it a corporate schmooze-fest and claim it's how Bettman wants all NHL games to be - high-scoring with no defense. Come on.

The game tonight should be exciting though as the Avs re-start their quest to jump back into playoff contention against the Phoenix Coyotes who are nipping at their heels. Get it? Coyotes. Nipping. Anyways, with a win tonight, the Avalanche will move within one point of Minnesota for the last playoff spot in the West. Unfortunately the Wild play the Flames tonight so one of those teams will move farther up in the standings and possibly both.

I was going to bemoan how the NW teams seem to always go to OT when playing each other but a quick skim of the Standings page on TSN would make me a liar (or whiner, whichever you prefer). NW teams have gone to OT 17 times in total this season, divisional game or not. That ties with the Pacific for the least of any division. The SE is the winner with 31 of their teams games going to OT. If anyone feels like breaking that down by team and/or intra-divisional games, be my guest!

The biggest story of tonight is the return of Jordan Leopold...again. He has, hopefully, fully healed from his groin troubles and will start to inject more stability to the Avalanche blueline. It will take a couple games to hit his stride again I'm sure so I don't expect miracles from him tonight.

I do expect that he will soon help put Clark and Skrastins back to more reasonable minutes on the ice. They did a commendable job in the last few games but these guys aren't used to that kind of ice-time. Leopold expects to fill a defensive void moreso than the offensive void that JM Liles has left. I think everyone can agree on the soundess of that strategy.

Ben Guite has been recalled and I'm glad to see that. He played very solid for the team and might as well take the place of forwards who are really doing nothing for the team this year. With Guite in the lineup, the Avs PK has seemed to be better. It may not be enough to establish a pattern yet, but it should raise an eyebrow or two at least.

Even with Jose Theodore's new pads, I'd still expect Peter Budaj to get the nod in goal tonight. Unless he's too tired from the YoungStars game which saw him get hung out a little bit worse than what happens with the Avs. "Budaj makes the save. And the rebound. But the third one goes in" And that's just the Avalanche games!

Liles - foot, IR
Brisebois - back, day-to-day
May - shoulder, IR

Ricci - neck, IR

Stastny, Arnason, Hejduk, Sakic, and Brunette have 3 in 2.

Doan has 17 in 13, Nagy has 7 in 7, Laraque has 2 in 2.

Nolan has 0 in 3, Boynton has 0 in 5.

Svatos has 0 in 4, Wolski has 0 in 3.

Peter Budaj - 15-10-2, 2.53 GAA, .911 save pct
Mikael Tellqvist - 9-5-2,. 2.87 GAA, .905 save pct

Colorado - 24-20-3, 4th in NW, 9th in West
Phoenix - 22-24-2, 4th in Pacific, 11th in West


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