Pre-game vs Minnesota - Feb 22, 2007 - Colorado Avalanche Updates, News and Game Reviews at Avs Talk

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Pre-game vs Minnesota - Feb 22, 2007

It's do or die. A must win. The most important game of the season. And it's at home as Marion Gaborik, Pavol Demitra and Brian Rolston come to town. Well, the rest of the Wild will probably be there too but really, does the rest of the team matter? The Avalanche are coming off a big win against Calgary on Tuesday and the Wild recently finished off the Stars to stay one step (ok, 5 steps technically) ahead of the Avalanche in the playoff race. With all the talk of the Northwest division and Western conference in general being so tight, I think people are overlooking just how close the race for a playoff spot in the East is. But I digress.

Paul Stastny is currently on one heck of a hot streak and recently broke the Avalanche rookie scoring record previously held by Alex Tanguay. Not that he didn't break the franchise record which was set by none other than Peter Stastny back in 80-81. Like father like son it seems and that can be nothing but good news for a team on the verge of losing their franchise player. No, likely not for another 2 or 3 seasons but it's good to see some youngsters showing they may be capable of a similar role.

And to stay on the topic of streaks and an aforementioned franchise player, Mr. Joe Sakic himself is on a tear these last few games. He has 9 points in his last 4 games and has 31 points since the the new year began. This has put him on pace for a 98 point season and could be the first time since the 01 cup season that he breaks the 90, and dare I say 100, point barrier.

And thankfully Milan Hejduk has started to light the lamp as well. He's got 10 points in his last 6 and has really shown signs of life lately. It appears that he and Statsny are really starting to click together. I'd hate to attribute the recent surge to having Brad May creating space for them on that line. It has been fairly coincidental that putting him there has seemed to spark them. Too bad that May still have no idea what to do with the puck when it comes anywhere near him. I don't think I've seen anyone look so out of place with the puck while playing at this level. It seems he thinks it's a time bomb or something.

With Manny Fernandez still down due to injury, I'd expect Backstrom to get the start again. Or they could toss Josh Harding in since he currently leads the team with a 1.0 save percentage. In the whole 18 minutes he's played with the team. But you can always give the Wild credit for having great goaltending tandems at almost all times. Starter goes down? No problem, existing backup becomes the new starter, AHL guy becomes the new backup and they're good to go, looking no worse for wear.

Brisebois - back, LTI
Leopold - wrist, IR
Turgeon - calf, IR
Wolski - head, day-to-day

Fernandez - knee, day-to-day

Sakic has 9 in 4, Hejduk has 10 in 6, Stastny has 4 in 2, Brunette has 7 in 4, Skrastins has 4 in 4.

Gaborik has 9 in 5, Demitra has 8 in 5, Rolston has 4 in 3

Walz has 0 in 3, White has 1 in 5.

Arnason and McLean have 1 in 5.

Peter Budaj - 18-14-3, 2.79 GAA, .906 save pct
Niklas Backstrom - 11-7-4, 2.25 GAA, .923 save pct

Colorado - 29-27-4, 4th in NW, 9th in West
Minnesota - 33-23-5, 2nd in NW, 7th in West


Mike Thompson said...

I for one am pulling for a Josh Harding sighting tonight for the simple fact he has the sweetest gear in the entire league...

Really, am I wrong for predicting that this will be the final nail in the coffin tonight?

Shane Giroux said...

I have a good feeling about tonight. I'm really not sure why b/c I don't have good cause to be.

Even if they lose tonight, I give it 3 more games before I can say with absolute certainty that they'll miss the playoffs.

Wow, my first year of doing a blog and they miss the playoffs. Hmm...

Cory said...

Your blog is awesome. I recently stumbled upon it and I look forward to visiting it often in the future. Now, if only our team would get their heads out of their ass and start playing like the dominant team we used to know and love. Frankly, I blame the weakening power of the Avalanche on global warming...

Shane Giroux said...


Thanks for the compliment. Unfortunately they didn't pull their heads out until it was too late last night.

I'm good with blaming their problems on global warming. What can't you blame global warming on?

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