The team keeps winning, but the lines keep changing. Hejduk's injured than he's not. Regardless, he's not scoring goals like he used to with Foppa (who knew?). Galiardi's injured, then healthy, and than he's playing for the San Jose Sharks. David Jones is bouncing all over the place, but is currently playing with Olver.
But with a mostly healthy roster and the trade dudline behind them, the Avalanche can finally start to give all their focus to finding the tandems that will carry the team into the Playoffs. Here are my humble opinion of what the offensive line suggestions should look like. After the loss to Columbus, I want the $6 I spent on my ticket back.
This line has been carrying the Avalanche all season. Maybe the biggest reason the home team finds themselves in the playoff hunt. They share a sense of smart, team hockey with a extra helping of grit. They play defense as well as score goals. So what's not to like? As for line names, Dater tried out the "Orlando Line" on twitter. I think maybe just the "Lando" (Landeskog-O'Reilly) line. They way I figured it, the third member of that line has been Hejduk, Winnik, Olver, Mueller and Downie. All 5 of those players played their best hockey on this line and that speaks volumes to the level at which the two young guns have played up to this point in the season.
Stastny and Hejduk should be a no brainer. They are veterans whose hockey sense and vision can really make a difference when paired together. Jones is great in front of the net and even better if he can get a shot off from the slot. He may not pass as well as Paulie Walnuts and the Duke, but he seems to do just fine when he gets to play with them. Anyone remember that tic-tac-toe play from a few weeks ago? I understand that the teams captian hasn't looked good, but he's looked his best with Stastny. If this is his last season, than fine. The time may have come for him to hang up his skates, but he does even less good on the fourth line with Wesley McLeod (That's his real name, Cody is his middle name. I know the lady who did the closing on his house) and Jay McClement.
The bottom line is when all three players on this line are healthy and playing with purpose, there is no reason they shouldn't be successful both defensively and offensively. I don't have a clever name for this group of skaters... I'm working on it.
Mark (40) - Matthew (9) - Peter (88)
I think Duchene at center and Mueller on his wing is the crucial shift in these lineups. If Matty D. wants to be a superstar, time to start remembering how to keep up with the big boys. The offensive is spread out and the opposition isn't going to know which set of forwards to use their top pairing against.
If Duchene and Mueller are both playing well, this has potential to be one the the most dangerous offensive threats in the Western Conference. You know, besides the Sedins, Thorton/Pavelski/Couture, Perry/Getzlaf/Ryan, Datsyuk/Franzen, Toews/Hossa, etc. But seriously, if these guys are on, it is the closest thing to unstoppable you'll see in the NHL.
Admittedly, I was hoping for a skilled power forward this trade dudline, but evidently it is difficult to come across one. Mark Olver has also played well the Duchene in the past and has some grit to help make up for his size. I still worry about the defense on this line. I'd like to think the loads of offensive prowess will make up for any shortcomings.
I'm not a religious man, but I still like "The New Testament". It works for anyone named James, John, Paul, Mark, or (ahem) maybe Gabriel? People get injured, coaches have to try new things. I'm not out for Ryan O'Reilly. I like everything he brings to the team. But a winger with the same skill set would be just as good.
With Kobasew out, we have a chance at a grind it out "Luck of the Irish" line. They'd certainly be fun to watch. It may be short lived given #17 will probably make his way back into the lineup soon. In the mean time, these guys will wear down you top forwards.