Watching the Minnesota feed today – Dan Terhaar and Mike Greenlay, a team I enjoyed very much the last time these teams played.
A ton of key injuries tonight for both teams. Pavol Demitra will have to be kissing his stick from the dressing room, as he's out. So is Marian Gaborik and goalie Nick Backstrom. All 3 have groin injuries. For the Avs, Milan Hejduk and Brad Richardson are still out and, of course, Karlis Skrastins and Jordan Leopold are on the IR.
20:00 Starting goalies tonight: Budaj and Josh Harding. I am pleasantly surprised to see Joel Quenneville go back to Budaj despite the strong game from Jose Theodore on Friday.
19:28 Arnason, Smith and Laperriere start the game for the Avs, with Finger and Liles on D.
19:02 On the 2nd shift, it's Sakic with Smyth and Svatos. Interesting…
18:43 Ryan Smyth takes a penalty right off the bat – tripping.
16:54 Sakic and Stastny are out killing a penalty together. Interesting….
16:24 The Avs look pretty good on their first kill, although Mikko Koivu had a good chance a bit similar to the game winner he scored a few games ago.
14:30 Foy (who?) makes a pretty move behind the net and makes a great centering feed to Koivu. Budaj makes a big save. Koivu is off to a good start – he always seems to play well against us.
13:48 Just to confirm the Sakic/Stastny swap wasn't a fluke – Stastny is indeed out there with Brunette and Wolski.
13:19 FOX fox Marney Gellner verifies the Koivu comment of above – 8 goals in the last 9 games against Colorado for Koivu.
12:02 The way the Avs are playing so far, 22 shots will be hard to get to
11:31 I'm such a dope. Just as I get that typed, Ryan Smyth scores to make it 1-0. Smyth steals the puck to start the play, and he, Sakic and Svatos break out 3 on 2. Smyth to Sakic back to Smyth at the crease for a tap in goal.
6:07 Smyth rings one off the post
4:47 Finger gets called for a hook against Veilleux
4:18 Belanger ties it when someone feeds the puck to him in the slot. 1-1.
1:54 Harding has a nice save on a Smith shot.
:27 Hlinka has moved around much better than he did in the last game
20:00 Same 5 guys on the ice to start the 2nd period that started the game. I think that goes the same for Minnesota (the Walz line)
17:49 Cumiskey is out there with Hannan.
17:11 The Stastny – Brunette – Wolski line has a couple of terrific chances but can't get it past Harding. Skoula gets a high stick up on Stastny, but no call.
16:18 Another big save for Harding. The Avs appear to be thawing out offensively.
15:42 My daughter is wearing a blanket over her head pretending to be a ghost. This has nothing to do with the game, but it's damn cute.
15:30 She's now behind the couch pretending to snore – a sleeping ghost.
15:16 Rolston hooks his former teammate Joe Sakic. First powerplay of the game for the Avs.
13:41 Hlinka getting some PP time. It seems like Quenneville is willing to try pretty much anything today.
12:15 The Wild continue to sneak players into the slot when they have possession of the puck behind the net. That's how they scored the first goal, and they've had several other terrific chances. Somebody needs to get in front of the net and close off that play.
10:03 Sauer and Clark out there a few minutes after Cumiskey and Hannan, so it seems the defensive pairs have been changed up
9:27 Yep – there's Hannan and Cumiskey
8:43 Cumiskey tries to skate around a forechecking Veilleux. It looks cool for a few seconds, and then Veilleux dumps Cumiskey to the ice and takes the puck away.
8:00 A whistle in front of the Avalanche net. Liles sends Bouchard hard to the ice.Walz comes in and shoves Liles and then everyone rushes in and grabs a dance partner.
7:09 Nice head man pass from Cumiskey at the blueline. At some point, those types of passes should start paying off.
6:25 Belanger gets a slash on the hand from Stastny that shakes him up a bit. No penalty. There's been a few non-calls for both teams in this game.
4:30 SCORE. 2-1. Innocent looking play. Sakic goes in on the forecheck to pressure Skoula. He forces a turnover and pushes it in front of the net to Smyth. Smyth's first shot gets stopped by Harding, but the rebound bounces to the side of the net where Svatos is there to bank it in. I'm sure on Altitude, Peter McNab is raving about how hard Marek Svatos has worked this year.
20:00 The Avs have a 25-15 shot advantage through 2 and a 25-16 faceoff advantage. Could this be the game they break 50% on the draw? This period, the Stastny line starts.
19:30 My son is "helping" me. And by "help", I mean he's asking me "what does THAT button" do 300 times.
18:04 Pepsi Center fans are trying to get the wave going. I HATE the wave at hockey games almost as much as I hate people whoring to get their goofy mugs on the jumbotron.
15:16 Lapperiere is out there with Sakic and Smyth instead of Svatos. Not sure what's up there, unless it's just for defensive reasons.
14:46 My "helper" presses a random button and erases everything on my screen, causing me to panic a bit. Thankfully, the undo button brings it back.
14:43 Boogaard levels Wyatt Smith.
14:04 The Wild are getting some pressure on Budaj
13:05 Cumiskey gets called for holding against Boogaard. The mic picks up the ref telling the Avalanche bench to "be quiet"
11:41 Now I realize why Sakic and Smyth were out together on that earlier kill. Stastny is out there now with Smyth – but Smyth was in the box on the earlier penalty. Hence, Sakic.
11:20 BIG KUDOS to Wyatt Smith and Scott Hannan. Parrish had the puck along the goal line and, as they've been doing all game, Koivu slid into the slot ready to receive the pass. This time, the Avs were ready – Smith and Hannan got into the lane and got their sticks on the ice. Smith intercepts the pass and breaks up a big scoring chance for the Wild. Perhaps the defensive play of the game right there.
9:53 Brett Clark has such terrific composure. He has the puck deep in our zone. Someone lays into him pretty hard and knocks the puck away. Clark stays on his feet, though, and is able to turn around and calmly get the puck back before any damage is done. His steadiness with the puck is one of his biggest assets.
7:36 I really like that the Avs have continued to apply pressure on the Wild. They aren't settling into a prevent defense like they did against the Oilers. Quenneville has, however, been limiting the ice time of the less-defensive minded guys like Brunette and Svatos.
6:29 Delay of game on the Wild. This is such a dumb penalty. I don't understand why shooting the puck to the other end of the rink is icing, but shooting it over the glass is a penalty. Of course, I'll take it here.
4:11 Great job by Sauer to keep the puck in the offensive zone
3:17 I have to pause the game because my son wants me to close my eyes to get a surprise. Kids don't always have a great sense of timing.
2:58 Budaj saves the day.With Budaj stuck against the right post, Nummelin goes around the net and has Budaj beat on a wraparound attempt. He holds the puck just a fraction to long, allowing Budaj to get over in time to make a fantastic glove save. That is a monster of a save.
2:16 Too many men on the Wild. That's a killer. And it wasn't even close – no question that the Wild had 6 guys out there.
:36 Wolski seals it. I can't see who started the play, but I think it might have been Clark – it was at the Avs blueline and he came on just as someone else was coming off, just dodging a too many men for Colorado. He fires it up to Brunette at the blueline. The Wild all stand around while the Avs break in – Brunette dishes to Stastny who carries in down the right wing before centering to Wolski. 3-1 Colorado as they take advantage of another uncharacteristic sloppy play for the Wild.
The Avalanche get their 3rd straight win, all in their division. Also their first 3-game winning streak of the year.