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Game 71: Avalanche 5, Thrashers 2

photo courtesy of Gregory Smith/AP

Just like they should have, the Avalanche beat the Thrashers 5-2, gaining two incredibly valuable points and moving up into a two-way tie for the Northwest Conference lead.  Fellow first place occupier Calgary has played two fewer games, but hopefully they'll hold true to late-season form and suck from now until April.

Andrew Brunette, who Dater informs us has the nickname "Kitty" because he's a little less fast than a cat, scored two goals and seemed to click extremely well with rookie David Jones on a line with Joe Sakic.  Jones scored his first goal of his NHL career and also had two assists, along with a team-leading five hits.  I've said all season that Brunette is junk without Sakic, and his recent success when paired with the Avalanche captain seems to confirm that.  The Jones-Sakic-Brunette line had eight points on the night.  Obviously, they will never play together again.

Also worth noting was the power play goal scored by Bruno, with assists from Sakic and Paul Stastny, who's been extremely consistent as of late.  Somewhere a kitten is smiling.  Can kittens smile?

As usual, Jose Theodore had a very good game, and though he gave up two goals, one was essentially an own-goal by Milan Hejduk that was credited to former Penguins youngster Colby Armstrong.  Another former Penguins player, Eric Christiansen, scored the other goal for the Thrashers.  Theodore finished the night with 22 saves and a .917 save percentage.  Solid.

But what would an Avalanche game recap be without a new list of injuries to report?  Adam Foote started the game after missing two with a sore hip, and managed to hurt it again in the first period.  He did not play again.  Though Coach Q suggests that the reinjury is not serious, one hopes that Foote will actually take enough time off to heal fully.  With the Avs' playoff hopes still very much alive, it's critical that he's healthy and ready to play come April.

Scott Parker also left the game early with an ankle injury, but though he's a fan favorite, he won't be missed too much.  He can't score, skate or pass, and he doesn't even fight that often, so hopefully his loss will mean another scoring winger will join the lineup.  It looks like Wojtek Wolski might not have to sit out as a healthy scratch again, like he did last night.  He and Jaroslav Hlinka may get more playing time simply because there aren't any other options.

The Avs' next game is Thursday against the Oilers in Denver.

Stars of the Game:

  1. David Jones (1g, 2a)
  1. Joe Sakic (1g, 2a)
  1. Colby Armstrong (1g, 1a)

Kittens killed: