Now that Sakic, Smyth and Stastny are all out with injuries, I'm almost willing to accept the fact that the Avalanche aren't going to win many more games for a while. The offense, though deep on paper, is now largely composed of young, inexperienced players who can't be expected to carry an NHL team by themselves.
Considering the odds against them, the Avalanche did pretty well against the Chicago Blackhawks, despite losing the game in a shootout, 2-1. Chicago never had more than eight shots on goal in any period, and Jose Theodore had another strong game, stopping 22 of 23 on the night. The only goal he allowed during regulation was scored by Calder Trophy favorite Patrick Kane at the 2:31 mark in the first period. Less than six minutes later, Andrew Brunette evened it up.
The rest of the game was a relatively evenly-matched standoff.
Unfortunately for the Avs, Theodore, who normally excels in shootouts, didn't quite have it against the 'Hawks, allowing Kane and Robert Lang to score while only Milan Hejduk was able to net one for Colorado. No hard feelings, though.
At this point, considering the injuries and the coaching ineptitude the Avalanche have to contend with this season, I'm pretty much content with any game that results in at least a point in the standings. Colorado is still right in the thick of things in the Northwest, and the season is still just over half over. Sakic, Smyth and Stastny will return, so not all is lost---yet. Let's all hope for the best.
Stars of the Game:
- Robert Lang (0g, 0a)
- Andrew Brunette (1g, 0a)
- Patrick Kane (1g, 0a)