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12/11 Colorado 5, Carolina 2

No Hedjduk? No Svatos? No problem. Without the Avs top two shooters and having to resort to using Ken Klee at forward, Colorado continued a mini-scoring tear since dropping a doughnut against the Blue Jackets. Colorado has 14 goals in the last 3 games. More importantly, they have 6 powerplay goals; so far, December is shaping up to be - by far - their best month on the PP, scoring a goal every 6.31 minutes on the powerplay (their season average is 9.38).

The powerplay was the difference tonight. As most Colorado games are, this was a pretty closely fought game, with Carolina holding on to a 2-1 lead going into the 3rd period. Normally, this is where I start coming up with new ways to write about the Avs losing another 1-goal game in regulation. But not tonight. Andrew Brunette tied the game at 8:46 with a strong effort to force the puck around John Grahame. And then the powerplay took over. Colorado capitalized on three straight powerplay opportunities to pull ahead and then ice the game.

The game had an "Eastern Conference" feel to it, with more hits and generally less odd-man rushes. And in a matchup of two backup goalies, the goaltending was sensational, especially Peter Budaj. I don't want to turn this into a controversy thing, but Budaj always seems so composed and in control when he's in the net. The more I watch him play, the more I feel he's going to be our man between the pipes somewhere down the road.

Even Strength Lines

With Hejduk out due to injury and Svatos out with the flu, coach Quenneville had to shuffle things up, no doubt inciting his detractors into a feeding frenzy "OMG HE NEEDS TO STOP CHANGING THE LINES LOL TIA!!1"

  • Sakic, Wolski, Brunette. 9 Shots, 13:19 ATOI, +1

  • Arnason, McLean, Laperriere, 7 Shots, 12:32 ATOI, Even

  • Stastny, Turgeon, Rycroft, 8 shots, 8:08 ATOI, Even

  • Richardson, Laaksonen, Klee, 1 shot, 6:31, Even

Even Strength Pairings

  • Clark & Skrastins, 15:31

  • Liles & Leopold, 10:18

  • Brisebois & Vaananen, 11:48

Quick Hits

  • Pierre Turgeon has performed very well in the offensive zone. He has 2 goals and 8 shots in his three games, and the low ice time (10:00 per game) seems to be helping him keep his energy level up. However, he looks completely lost on defense in the neutral zone and his own end. I know that's not what we are paying him for, but watching him flailing helplessly at attackers approaching our blueline is going to get real painful, real fast.

  • Wojtek Wolski has had an up and down season. The points have been there (20 points in 29 games), but the effort hasn't always been. Last night was one of the "up" games - Wolski seemed to be working hard on almost every play, and even used his body a bit behind the net to keep defenders off the puck. The one glaring exception was early in the first period when he waltzed back on a Carolina rush that resulted in a good scoring chance for Eric Staal. I hope he was paying attention in the 2nd when Joe Sakic broke up another scoring chance after skating back hard to catch up to an odd-man rush.

  • Jordan Leopold left the game midway throught the third period and did not return. The Denver Post is reporting that he was on crutches after the game, and may have reaggravated the hernia injury he had just recently returned from.

Stats are updated (click the Av Stats link at the top of the page)