Our sometimes-beloved Avalanche hope to tilt the mediocrity of this last 10 games (3-4-3) back toward 100% pure meh with a rare road win tonight. The Avs enter the den of the desert dogs with a woeful road record of 3-16-4 (the last road win coming two weeks ago against the Ducks). For their part, Phoenix is 14-8-1 at home and are coming off a home win against San Jose on Thursday night. Though they are going to miss the post-season for the first time since the 08-09 season, PHX is 5-3-2 in their last 10.
In a measure of appropriateness coach Joe Sacco is going with Jean-Sebastien Giguere in net. He has the BY FAR better road record of the two Avs goalies (2 WINS!! That's like twice as many!!!) . He'll face off against pending free-agent Mike Smith and his 15 wins and 0.912 S% in the other crease. You nerdists will recognize that 15 win number as matching the total eeked out by Colorado this season. Masterton Trophy Nominee Shane Doan leads the 'Yotes in goals and points (13 and 26, respectively). Blueline stud Oliver Ekman-Larsson ranks 5th on his team with 20 points (3 G, 20 A). Again, the observant math geeks will note that is as many goals as the ENTIRETY of the Colorado D. In fact, OEL himself has nearly twice as many points as current resident offensive-defenseman Tyson Barrie (12 points). Other guys in not-quite-burgandy to watch are old friend Radim Vrbata (24 points), complete stranger Mikkel Boedker (25 points), and wish-list acquisition Keith Yandle (25 points).
Colorado has no trends of note coming into tonight, at least not that matter in a "Gosh Josh, I sure am proud of this team!" kind of way. Another season on the outside of the playoffs. The 2nd season in a row where the team appears to have taken a step backward since the miracle run and playoff appearance in 09-10. The third lottery pick in the last 5 seasons. The worst winning percentage since moving to Denver. I'll let others more qualified to outline the status of the tank race in today's comments, but after last night the East is got its playoff palette. All that's left to decide in the West is what two of the red wings, Wild, and BJ's get the last couple of spots.
Based on the practice notes, it looks like Johnson is out and Wilson won't be back before next season. Healthy scratches up front appear to be Vincour, Olver, Jones, and Hejduk. The tilt starts at 8 pm and can be seen on ALT2.