It was a real tough week for the Colorado Avalanche, but they got two points out of it and are still in the hunt for a playoff spot. Maybe, not their best game, on Monday, against the best team in the league in the Chicago Blackhawks, who won in the Pepsi Center 5-2. Then the Avs earned a hard-fought victory over the Dallas Stars on Wednesday, getting good help from secondary scoring and lots of physicality from the energy lines, which spilled over to Saturday's game against the same Stars. But Dallas is a good team, a playoff team, #8 in the Western Conference, and you have to be happy to split the home and home with them (Dallas wins Saturday 5-2). The next night Vancouver came to town and the Avs got off to a good start, were tied after a period, they fought hard, and at the end of the day were SO CLOSE to forcing overtime as the Canucks win 3-2.
Who's Been Great
The best players, have been the best players. Matt Duchene has been phenomenal, just electrifying the crowd, you can feel it whenever he touches the puck. Something good is about to happen. In his last 10 games, he has 13 points (5 goals, 8 assists) and 12 of them were in a 7-game span. His linemate P.A. Parenteau has been right there with him. P.A. has 12 points in those same ten games (5 goals, 7 assists). This is the guy who really drives Matt Duchene to succeed. A great signing for Greg Sherman and the Avs this summer. Finally, you gotta talk about Ryan O'Reilly who, after joining the Avalanche a few weeks ago, has just been huge. He has points in 8 of his last 10 games, adding up to 1.1 points-per-game in that time (3 goals, 8 assists). Big win for the Avalanche getting him back.
Who's Nicked Up
Sunday's game against the Canucks was tough from an injury standpoint. The Avs got Ryan Wilson back from an ankle injury only for him to twist it up in a collision on the blue line again. He re-aggravated the same ankle injury on the play and wouldn't return. Paul Stastny also took a hard shot off either the ankle or the foot while killing a penalty in the first period. He went to the locker room after that and didn't return. The Avalanche are sure to fill us in with injury information as soon as it becomes available, when it comes to a timetable for return for these guys.
What's On Tap
It's a big week for the Avalanche as they face three teams they're chasing in the playoff race, first at Calgary on Wednesday (8:00 MT) and then back in Vancouver against these same Canucks Thursday (8:00 MT). The Avs come back home for a Saturday matinee against the Nashville Predators (1:00 MT).