||8:30 MT / 10:30 ET
||November 1st, 2009
1st in West
9th in West
The crazy road trip is almost over; lets just hope the duct tape will hold the wheels on the bus for one more game. After tonight, the Avalanche will trudge home after paying 11 out of 13 games on the road. Obviously, they've done very, very well (8-2-2). There are signs, though, that this wonderful run is not going to be permanent. The Avs have started to slip a bit offensively. Scoring is down to 10th, the powerplay is down to 11th. Those are not terrible numbers (especially compared to what we've been forced to root for in recent years), but they are no longer upper-echelon numbers. Perhaps most telling, the Avalanche are 28th in the league in shots. We've seen a lot of timely goals during the first month of the season (18 different players have at least a goal), but timely goals only take you so far. This team needs to become a consistent threat offensively before I can start thinking about them as a playoff-calibre club.
Defensively, I have few worries, especially as long as #41 is between the pipes. Craig Anderson will start his 15th game tonight. Out of 63 NHL goalies to have played so far this year, he's the only one to get every start for his club. Joe Sacco has ridden him hard, and Anderson has certainly responded. "Responded" is a severe understatement, actually. Craig Anderson kicked all sorts of ass in October. Better?
Speaking of kicking ass in October, the gang here wants to thank all of you for helping us set another traffic record in October. We just barely missed 50,000 hits but still topped the previous high of 41,000 by a wide margin. Our October traffic was almost 4 times what we did last October (and we thought those numbers were the balls at the time). I don't think we get a trophy or a medal or anything cool like that (or, if we do, Joe's keeping them to himself), but it's great to see tangible and quantifyable evidence that this is the biggest and best Avalanche community on the World Wide Wolski. At that's because of the input of all of you. As of today, MHH has 749 members and 97,000 comments and we've seen a welcome influx of new commenters lately. I know I speak for all of us here at MHH when I say that those numbers are as humbling as they are staggering. And now, back to our regularly scheduled preview which we'll join in progress...
I think it's pretty well documented that the Avalanche are banged up (again). The Canucks are hurting as well, with Roberto Luongo, Daniel Sedin, Pavol Demitra, Kyle Wellwood and a few others currently on the shelf. With Luongo out, the Avs will face either Andrew Raycroft or Cory Schneider between the pipes. Not that Luongo ever looks great against the Avs...
The key to the game will probably boil down to staying out of the penalty box. The Canuckleheads can't score at even strength (21st 5 on 5). But their powerplay is deadly (2nd). Christian Ehroff has 7 powerplay assists and has that PP humming in a way we thought Kyle Quincey was going to do after a few games this year (Quincey has still been very good, but his god-like lustre has started to wear off a little). If the Avalanche can avoid taking penalties, they should have a good chance to pick up their 11th win. Take stupid penalties and it could be a long night.
Speaking of long nights, the ridiculous 10pm eastern start (on a SUNDAY???) is too late for this old man. I'll try to watch as much of the game as I can, but won't be up to do a recap. Go Avs!
|13 pts||Wolski||Top Scorer||H Sedin||16 pts|