Another early start to the game thread because there's nothing else to talk about today except tonight's matchup.
Sure, things fell the Avs' way in Game 1, but don't think for a second---even with the mounting injuries faced by the Wild---that Minnesota is out of it. If anything, getting humbled in front of their own crowd is only going to make them play harder. Nobody wants to go home early from the playoffs.
Mark Parrish is out, but Martin Skoula will play with a sore leg and Chris Simon will likely be in, so the Avs will have to keep their heads up at all times because he's the dirtiest player in the league. Forsberg needs to stay light on his skates because he'll be dodging two-handers all night long. Even Forsberg shadow Brent Burns is not above cheap play, and neither is the rest of his team. The good news is, Burns had to play 30 minutes in game 1, and if he has to do it again tonight, he'll be toast.
Foppa wasn't happy with his line's performance on Wednesday, and you know he'll be even more motivated to get his name on the scoreboard a couple of times. Stastny's probably over his jitters by now, and hopefully Hejduk has met with a good eye doctor. No more ringers off the post, no more missed open-net chances.
The Avs' shut-down tag team of Lappy and Ben Guite (along with the D-men) was stellar against Marian Gaborik in game 1, and keeping the whiny little winger frustrated should be priority number one. Shouldn't be too hard, if the last game of the regular season and the first game of the playoffs are any indication.
Finally, if Ryan Smyth plays as hard tonight as he did on Wednesday, I've got two "Free Mullet Grooming" tickets here with his name on them. Smytty, call me.
Now, some notes about the thread today:
- During the game, the Avalanche goaltender's name MUST NOT BE MENTIONED. You can comment on goaltending in general, but do not utter his name. I'm extremely superstitious right now, and we don't want to cause any problems for a guy who could still revert back to his old self at any second. Now, as for Nik Backstrom, I think he's the best goalie of all time. Backstrom Backstrom Backstrom.
- Whatever you had for dinner on Wednesday evening should be the same thing you eat today. If you had wings, eat wings again. If you had a $250 steak dinner, you better get your gold card back out, Mr. Moneypants.
- If you were wearing a particular Avalanche jersey during game 1, wear it again. If the Avs lose tonight, burn it. Sure, it's painful, but that should teach you not to shell out $180 for authentic jerseys when you're not an authentic NHL player.
- If and when we reach about 380 comments or so, I'm going to start a new thread and everybody should move over there. Keep an eye out for the comments total at the bottom of the screen and be ready to switch threads. Otherwise, well, things can get messy.
- Finally, Wild fans are welcome, but I get a special kind of satisfaction from banning people, so play nice and understand that you're in enemy territory. I wouldn't want to post comments on a Wild blog tonight, but to each their own. Be civilized.
Now, let's get this party started. The game starts at 7:00 PM Mountain time, 9:00 PM Eastern. Altitude will be showing it, but Versus will be joining it in progress after Alex Ovechkin single-handedly dismantles the Flyers. I'm not sure if Center Ice will black out the Altitude feed for all of us out-of-towners (since Versus doesn't have exclusive rights) but I would expect it. Be prepared for anything.
ADDENDUM: Dater reports that Mike Haynes' surgery was a success and a full recovery is expected. That's fantastic news! Get well soon, Hayner, Haynsie or whatever your hockey nickname may be.