Well, we were hoping the Avalanche would rebound tonight. But, I have a feeling Craig Anderson might have misunderstood that request a wee bit. Just for future reference, Craig, we weren't talking about those type of rebounds.
The Avalanche dropped their second straight tonight, falling 3-1 to the Wild and failing to regain a share of first place in the NW to give us all a merry Christmas. It wasn't a terrible game for the Avs - certainly a far better effort than they put up against the Kings on Tuesday - but there's some cracks beginning to show. The Avs' offense is starting to struggle, and the absence of quality finishers like Milan Hejduk and Chris Stewart (who account for 22% of the Avs goals this year) appears to be catching up on the team. David Jones and Paul Stastny were both excellent tonight, but the team has had trouble lately getting a consistent output from the top 6.
And then there's the goaltending. There's no other way to put this than to say that Craig Anderson has not been very sharp. There are times you can point your fingers at the defense (who I thought looked pretty good tonight) or maybe you can point your fingers at his injuries, but at some point you have to admit that Anderson is simply not playing as well he can.
The above represents Anderson's first 53 games with the Avalanche (through the end of last February) and Andy's 43 games since (March 1st through tonight), including playoffs. Hopefully, he had a chance to talk to the Wild's Jose Theodore tonight to get some pointers on how to play in a contract year. Because this was a fairly evenly played game and the difference came down to goaltending. And we weren't on the winning end of it because of that.
- Galiardi, Duchene, Fleischmann
- Porter, Stastny, Jones
- Winnick, O'Reilly, Mauldin
- Yip, Dupuis, Koci
- Liles, O'Byrne
- Wilson, Shattenkirk
- Foote, Hunwick
In the 3rd when the Avs were trying to come back, Sacco paired Shattenkirk and Liles together on one pairing and Wilson and O'Byrne on another.
- There were hostilities the last time these teams squared off (remember Stewart motioning to the Minnesota bench with his good hand), and things escalated a bit tonight. Adam Foote went after Carl Clutterbuck after a couple of big hits on Porter and Galiardi. Clutterbuck of course chickened out, and Foote moved on to chasing around Martin Havlat all night after Havlat tripped Foote while locked up with Clutterbuck
Ryan Wilson had the hit of the year, leveling Kyle Brodziak in the corner. David Koci had a big hit on Eric Nystrom as well.
- Greg Mauldin left the game early in the third after an awkward hit in the corner had him go face-first into the glass. His lip was cut and hopefully that is all that's wrong. He did not return.
The Avs host the Detroit Red Wings on Monday. Because of the holiday, there won't be much going on here between now and then.