'Cause I'm still asleep.
That I'm still asleep
- Barenaked Ladies
I'm sure I'm dreaming, but I'm not going to complain one bit, because this dream is almost as good as that one I had about those to girls from...er, actually, no I guess it's not quite that good. Still, it's been an absolute blast. After manhandling a terrible Sharks team on Thursday, the Avalanche followed up with another solid showing today, blanking the Vancouver Canucks 3-0.
The Canucks played much better than the Sharks did. In fact, there were several lengthy stretches where the bulk of the play was taking place in the Avalanche zone. But the Avalanche got a solid defensive effort from all six defensemen (when was the last time we could say that?), the forwards did an exceptional job helping out and we had a goalie in the freaking zone. Craig Anderson kicked all sorts of tush today and handily outplayed his counterpart, Roberto Luongo. And, as good as he was on the ice, his best performance of the day may have been his crowd-pleasing post-game interview. Welcome to Denver, Mr Anderson.
The Avalanche didn't quite have the zip that they had on Thursday night, but they still played a solid game. There really isn't anything fancy, it's just simple, smart plays, hard skating and going hard to the net. The Canucks had some momentum early, but the Avalanche got on the board first. After about a five minute stretch where the Canucks were playing in the Avalanche zone, Brett Clark started the play with a crisp backhander up the boards to Milan Hejduk. Hejduk, Paul Stastny and Wojtek Wolski moved quickly up the ice with some pretty passing and Wolski again charged hard to the net and was there to finish the play at put the Avalanche up 1-0. Having watched far too many of Clark's weak backhanded clearing attempts get intercepted at the blueline, my jaw was on the floor. He has looked solid in both games so far.
The good guys made it 2-0 late in the 2nd period when Stastny tipped a Hejduk pass off of Luongo and into the net. And Darcy Tucker put it away for good when he tipped Wolski's centering pass over Luongo five minutes into the 3rd. That was more than enough for Mr Anderson, who turned aside 35 shots to pick up the shutout and earn the 1st star honors for the 2nd straight game.
All in all, it was another terrific game, but there a couple of negatives. First was the introduction of the new mascot, Bernie. Are you kidding? Someone signed off on this? I don't really have words. Second - and far more important - the reported attendance was just 13,416 - 74.5% of capacity and, I believe, the 5th smallest home crowd since the end of the sellout streak. Lets hope the buzz the team has generated so far can sell some tickets, because that is an extremely worrisome number.
There were no changes to the lineup or the lines tonight. There have been some occasional shuffling - Wolski spent one shift at center and Stewart spent one on LW - but I think those were just caused by things getting out of sync due to special teams.
- As Peter McNab astutely pointed out during the game, the left wing position was supposed to be a trouble spot for the Avs, but that position has scored 6 of the 8 Avalanche goals so far.
- It took Darcy Tucker 13 games to get his 2nd goal last season.
- Matt Duchene didn't get his first goal tonight, but he again had some termendous shifts including a highlight reel worthy steal followed by a couple of dekes and a shot from his knees. No worries - he'll be scoring before we know it.
- Just out of curiosity, anyone know what's the deal with the Avalanche jersey in the stands above? Is that one of those fashion jerseys?
Highlights are up. That awesome Duchene move on the PK starts around the 2:40 mark...
The Avalanche have 4 days off and then begin a big 7-game road trip on Thursday against the Predators.
"We seem to just throw pucks to the net and it seems to be working really well right now," said Wolski. "We seem to have a lot of energy now up front with all the young guys. We are happy with how everything is working out." - Craig Stancher, ColoradoAvalanche.com
The Canucks, who are 0-2-0, pressured the Avalanche after falling behind 3-0, but Anderson stood tall. In one sequence, he lost his stick midway through the third but made a kick save on a shot by Daniel Sedin. - AP