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Game 12: Penguins At Avalanche, Preview And Open Thread

Finally, after waiting what seems like forever, Sidney Crosby makes his debut tonight at the Pepsi Center in Denver as his less-dominant-than-predicted Penguins face the Avalanche for the first time since 2005.

While Crosby and his team are hot right now, the Avalanche is heating up as well.  They've won three straight including two road games.  The Pens have won four straight on the road.

I could go on all day about how amazing Sid The Kid is or how important it is for the NHL to scrap the divisional overkill schedule now in its third season, but I won't.  I'll save that for everyone else.

The real topic of interest is the matchup tonight between Calder Trophy rivals Evgeni Malkin and Paul Stastny (they've never faced each other).  Malkin is playing well so far this season, with 16 points in eleven games.  Stastny was on a relentless point-scoring tear during the first few games of the year, but has since dropped off considerably with the loss of favorite linemate Milan Hejduk.  The good news for Son Of Stastny is that The Duke will return to the lineup tonight after sitting out for five games with a sore back.

The Avalanche has a few things going for them tonight.  The team is 7-2-0 at home against the Penguins since 1993, when captain Joe Sakic first played against them.  Also, the Avs maintain a perfect home record so far this season, having won all five games played at the Pepsi Center.  

What may or may not be going for them, however, is goalie Jose Theodore, who will be in net.  Coach Quenneville has decided that every other game is a great way to play his two goalies since both of their most recent outings were excellent.  The bad news is, one of them is bound to have an off game, and then Coach Q will try some other brilliant plan that likely won't benefit either Theo or Peter Budaj.  Carouseling them didn't work last season and it likely won't work this one.  But hey, you never know.

The game starts at 7:00 PM Mountain time, 9:00 PM Eastern.  I will be live blogging my little heart out, and I'm sure it will be a great game to watch.  Join me for some open threading fun and excitement!

ESPN preview.