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Game 51: Avalanche 6, Blackhawks 3

photo courtesy of Jack Dempsey/AP

The Avs needed a big win and they got it.  With an onslaught that began in the first period with Milan Hejduk, Marek Svatos and Brad Richardson (welcome back, Richie!) each scoring goals, the Avs went on to crush the non-committal Blackhawks 6-3.

Highlights of the game included Tyler Arnason's three points (huh?) and Svatos getting another assist (what?).  The line combination of Wolski-Arnason-Svatos was responsible for three goals and five assists, not to mention constant offensive pressure on the Blackhawks throughout the game.  The Avs even scored on the power play, too, and had another goal immediately after one ended.  Also, Ben Guite was a machine, beautifully setting up Richardson's goal with a great sweep and pass from behind the 'Hawks net.  It's pretty clear that he and Richardson still have the chemistry they started building late last season.

Jose Theodore played well before being pulled in the third period by what the team is calling "back spasms" but is probably a broken leg or a ruptured spleen.  You can never be too sure with the Avalanche medical team.  But, while he allowed only one goal, Theodore only faced eleven shots, and just barely finished the game with a save percentage above .900.  Peter Budaj had a much rougher time in relief of Theo, allowing two goals on four shots.  One was due to a Scott Hannan screw up, but was still stoppable, as was the other one.  Call it rust, broken confidence, or the curse of a new goalie mask paint job, Budaj wasn't himself.  Hopefully, if Theodore ends up having to sit out for a while due to injury, Boots will regain his excellent form from mid-December and provide the same stability that Theodore has been providing for the past few games.

The next game for the Avs is Friday in Detroit.  Yay.  Hopefully their newfound scoring ability will not vanish when they take on the best team in the NHL.

Stars of the Game:

  1. Marek Svatos (2g, 1a)
  1. Tyler Arnason (1g, 2a)
  1. Milan Hejduk (1g, 1a)