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

Thursday, February 1, 2007

Post-game vs Minnesota - Feb 1, 2007

The Avalanche are defeated by the Wild and fall to 1-1 on their current five game homestand. The good news is, they could win their next 3 and get 8 out of 10 points! If they do that, they're right back into a playoff spot. As it stands now, they've fallen 4 more points back. It looks as though Vancouver will do the Avs a favor tonight and take care of Edmonton to keep those teams even in the standings.

4 goals on 37 shots doesn't scream of an amazing performance by Budaj. He played decent but was a bit shaky on a couple goals. Could he be faltering a bit in the stretch run? He sat out one game and came back with a great performance against Nashville. It could be that he needs a few more days off sprinkled in with his starts. Not many goaltenders, save for the true elite, start 10+ games in a row.

Jordan Leopold and Brett Clark came away with identical minutes and the main difference between them is Leopold's +2 versus Clark's -2. Seems to me that Leopold is ready to step into the #1 job for the Avalanche. He looks very solid on the back end and has made some great offensive contributions with 3 points in his 4 games since coming back from injury. The defenseman suffering in ice-time since Leopold returned is Ossi Vaananen. When Kurt Sauer is getting more ice-time than you are, you might want to look at picking up your game a bit.

And to stay on the ice-time bandwagon, Wojtek Wolski logged just shy of 20 minutes out there tonight. That's a full 1:20 ahead of Joe Sakic to lead all forwards in ice-time. He's getting both PP and PK time and it looks like Q is really showing some confidence in Wolski's game. It's well deserved as he really has improved as the season has gone on. He's looking much more confident and has started to use his size to his advantage. He's not laying out any bone-crunching checks, but he's been more willing to get dirty in front of the net than he was at the start of the season.

The trio of Svatos-Stastny-Hejduk has really been flying out on the ice lately and that line gathered up 3 points tonight. Milan Hejduk grabbed 2 assists and Marek Svatos contributed his first goal since January 11th. The January 11th goal was his first since he scored 2 on November 30th. So for those keeping track, that's 4 goals in a span of 2 months. Ouch. But he has had some wheels lately so I've got my fingers crossed that he's going to find his groove sooner than later.

That trio was out-dueled by Gaborik-Rolston/Walz-Demitra. When any combination of 2 Minnesota Wild players + Marian Gaborik were on the ice, bad things tended to happen. Gaborik came away with 2 goals and 1 assists, and Rolston, Walz, and Demitra each had an assist. If there is anybody in the league faster than Gaborik, I'd like to know who it is. As soon as he touches the puck the afterburners come on and there's not a defenseman in the league who can skate backwards well enough to keep up with him.

Unfortunately, the team in general just couldn't get it done tonight even though there were players that had flashes of brilliance. I've said it before, you can only come from behind so many times until you lose the game. It's been the story of the season so far for the Avalanche. They do a great job battling back but just can't put that extra spark in their game to overtake the lead. Or if they come away with the lead to begin with, they can't maintain the bloody thing long enough to actually get a regulation win.

So with a Saturday afternoon game against Edmonton looming, on CBC no less, I'd be looking for Theodore to get another start. It isn't that I want to see a goalie carousel going, but I also don't want to completely wear out one goaltender. Particularly a sophomore starter who has stumbled a bit lately.

The Good
- 3 goals on a hot goaltender

The Bad
- inopportune penalties
- ineffective penalty kill
- soft goals against

The Ugly
- losing a 4-point swing game


Mike Thompson said...

Another succinct, yet comprehensive pre- and post-game analysis. I really enjoy reading your blog. Keep up the good work.

On a similiar note, how about a 'devils advocate' column about next year? I'd love to hear your thoughts on what needs to be done at the trade deadline THIS year and whether the Avs should be buyers or sellers. Any info you can give on the cap situation would be great also. Who'd you like to see in an Avs jersey next year, and who on the team now would you like to see run out of town?

I personally would LOVE to see the Avs make a run at one of the Buffalo players that are likely available at the deadline or during the offseason, such as Biron, Briere, and especially Drury. Drury especially would be a nice fit as he's a star and he has experience running a team of young, skilled players, much like the forward corp. of the Avs. And I'd hope that we'd find some way to get out from under Theo's contract...maybe he can slip on some ice or something...

Shane Giroux said...

Hi Mike,

Thanks for the kind words!

A devil's advocate column sounds like a fun one to write. I'll keep it on my list and see if I can find some time to putting some good though into what I'd like to see.

I'd say most of Buffalo's players will not be available until the off-season. They certainly wouldn't part with Briere or Drury before then and I don't think they'd be willing to part with Biron either.

And having Drury back would be dynamite!

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