If anyone asks you how the Avalanche are doing, this is the game to show them for your answer. Colorado once again played a strong game in most areas...and once again walked away without a point. The Avalanche have eight 1-goal regulation losses (that includes the Chicago last-second empty netter). Eight. Scrape to a tie in just half of them, and the Avs vault from last to a 2-point lead on the division. 26 games in, and Colorado has surprised a lot of people by showing that they can compete with any team in the NHL. Now they have to take that final step and grab points when they are available to them.
One of the biggest factors in losing all the close games is the powerplay. It just isn't very good - ranking 14th overall and 22nd on the road. Jordan Leopold finally made his debut (and looked very good), and he'll help. But it needs to improve. Soon. One PP goal tonight would have translated to (at least) one point in the standings.
Jose Theodore started the game, but was sitting on the bench to start the 2nd period after holding Vancouver scoreless. It was reported that Theodore had a hip injury. I'm just being a conspiracy theorist here, but if you watched Theo's reaction on the bench, he sure didn't look like someone leaving the game because of an injury...
You can now see all the lines the Avs have used this season here. Defensive pairings should be the next project to tackle. Also new today is a summary of each player's ice time, mostly so I can stop hearing that Tyler Arnason isn't getting enough minutes...here.
- Sakic, Brunette, Svatos. 12 Shots, 13:60 ATOI, +1
- Arnason, McLean, Hejduk. 12 Shots, 13:43 ATOI, Even
- Stastny, Wolski, Rycroft. 7 Shots, 10:25 ATOI, Even
- Richardson, Laaksonen, Laperriere. 3 Shots, 7:15 ATOI, Even
- Markus Naslund had a first period goal disallowed when replay determined that Naslund made a kicking motion. Drew Remenda's gratifyingly apoplectic reaction to the call aside, the "kicking" rule has always seemed really stupid to me. It's impossible to determine intent on these things. I remember Peter Forsberg intentionally directing a puck into the net, but, since there was no kicking motion, it counted. Naslund seemed to deflect it accidentally, but since his skating motion looked like a kicking motion, no goal. It's dumb. Just allow everything off a skate, or disallow everything off a skate and take the stupid kicking rule out.
- One game after I suggested that Mark Rycroft and Paul Stastny get more time on the kill, the pair were on the ice for both of Vancouver's PP goals.
- After not being on the ice for a PK goal in 9 straight games, Brett Clark has been on the ice for 6 PP goals in the last 7 games.