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10/23 Colorado 6, Los Angeles 1

Rob Blake's return to Colorado wasn't quite as disastrous as Jose Theodore's return to Montreal, but it certainly didn't play out the way he drew it up in his mind. Colorado thumped the struggling Kings 6-1. Blake, the highest paid player on the ice, was a non-factor, mustering two shots, no hits, and less than 19 minutes of ice time - no King defensemen had less even-strength minutes than Blake. Despite that, Blake found himself on the ice for every one of Colorado's 6 goals. Blake's -3 for the game puts him at a team-low -5 for the year and he has a total of 2 assists. I would really love to see Blake succeed in his return to LA, but, at least for now, he's looking like good money not spent for the Avs.

As for the game? This one was over early in the 2nd. The Kings got an early lead when the Avs let Derek Armstrong skate uncontested to the front of the net to receive Brent Sopel's centering pass. But then the wheels came off the royal carriage. The Kings managed to secure two double minor penalties later in the first, and both times, compounded it with a 2nd penalty to give Colorado a 5 on 3. While Colorado has struggled on the 5 on 4 (19th in the league in goals scored), with a two-man advantage they had no trouble, scoring their first three goals on a 5 on 3 (they rank 1st in the league now in 5 on 3 goals scored). After the third, putting the Avs up 3-1 just 2:32 into the 2nd, the Kings went into full white-flag mode, mustering just 15 shots the rest of the way and giving Colorado countless opportunities to increase their lead. Other than pussbag Sean Avery - who looked strong early - everyone on the Kings looked tired and listless.

Peter Budaj played his third game of the season, and has looked solid in all three games. As the Altitude boys were fond of pointing out a little too often, Budaj has yet to give up a powerplay goal or a third period goal. A better stat that they didn't mention was that in just 3 starts, Budaj has accounted for as many points (5) for the team as Theodore. No, I don't think there's a controversy brewing, but I do think Budaj's strong play will be used to help motivate Theo to keep his head in the game a bit more consistently.

Quick Hits

  • Colorado is 2nd in the league in shots per game (33.9).

  • Altitude's Mike Haynes expressed, er, excitement(?) that Paul Stastny was out to take the draw to start the 3rd period instead of Joe Sakic. By my count, that's the 9th time this season that Joe hasn't taken a period-opening faceoff - not exactly the rarity Haynes thinks it is. I should say that I really like Haynes and Peter McNab in the booth. Not so sure I have the same enthusiasm for the surfer guy Kyle conducting the game interviews. I could do without the "buddy" stuff, buddy.

  • Colorado has done something rather odd in the scoring department this season. In every game except one (Ottawa), the Avalanche have scored at least as many goals as they have the game before. That's an uphill climb that will be hard to top, but is a fun stat for now.

Next Up

Alex Ovechkin and the Capitals on Wednesday.