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Game 66: Avalanche 5, Kings 2

The Colorado Avalanche just can't win for winning.  Despite Adam Foote's debut on home ice (to a hero's reception) and the Avs' complete demolishing of the worst team in the NHL, it was a bittersweet night as both Ryan Smyth and Marek Svatos left the ice under assistance.

Smyth's assistance was a stretcher.

Late in the second period, after scoring two goals, Smyth was checked hard into the edge of the glass next to the team bench, hitting his shoulder and head and then falling hard to the ice.  Kings young d-man Jack Johnson was the culprit, but the check was clean if poorly timed.  Smyth lay on the ice while being treated by the Avs' medical staff and then was taken by sled to the locker room.  According to reports, however, Smyth left for the hospital under his own power and was both walking and talking.  More news on his condition should be released today.  Hopefully he's fine and will return soon.

Marek Svatos hurt his knee while assisting Ruslan Salei's second period score and was helped from the ice by teammates, but word has it that he was also walking under his own power in the locker room.  No crutches means no major injury (I hope), and hopefully his return will also be swift.

Update: ESPN has both Smyth and Svatos listed as day-to-day, but the summaries suggest that no additional information on their injuries is present.  Dater---who also doesn't know what's up yet---suggests that Smyth's shoulder is what was injured.

Update 2: Both players are out indefinitely until further tests are conducted.

Update 3: Dater suggests that both players will be out the rest of the season.  Smyth likely has a separated shoulder and/or a broken collarbone, and Svatos' knee is still too swollen for the full extent of the damage to be determined.

Now, all the bad news aside, the Avs out-shot the Kings 9-3 in the first period but couldn't score.  Then the Kings got on the scoreboard first with a goal by Mike Cammalleri.  But Ryan Smyth was having none of it and scored just a minute and a half later, and then again less than two minutes after that.  In less than five minutes, the Avs had reversed a one-goal deficit.  

Ruslan Salei, who I totally have a man-crush on, scored his fifth of the season at the mid-way mark of the second.  Joe Sakic and Andrew Brunette scored in the third period.

Jordan Leopold had three assists on the night, and Foote, Hejduk, Lappy, Stastny and Svatos all contributed one apiece.  Jose Theodore was in full Pimp Cane effect by stopping 23 of 25 shots---another solid showing for him.

Nashville also won last night, which means the Avs and Predators are still tied in points in the Western Conference standings.  Luckily, the tie is broken by number of wins, and Colorado has one more.  So the loose grip on the playoffs remains, but is as precarious as ever.

Stars of the Game:

  1. Ryan Smyth (2g, 0a)
  1. Ruslan Salei (1g, 1a)
  1. Jordan Leopold (0g, 3a)

Kittens Killed: