photo courtesy of Jack Dempsey/AP
You would think that the loss of Adam Foote to a minor hip injury would create a significant dent in the Avalanche defense. You would be wrong.
Once again the Avs' blueliners played amazingly well in the their own zone, dominating the Stars and leading the team to a huge 3-1 victory over the second-best team in the NHL.
The Avalanche out-hit the Stars 33-18. Leading the way was Jeff Finger, who had seven just by himself, and also led the team in ice time. Ian Laperriere, Cody McLeod and Cody McCormick (just reactivated from an injury break) each had four hits. Joe Sakic and Tyler Arnason, the least physical centers on the planet, even had a hit apiece. Just like they did in the previous game against the Ducks, the Avs out-muscled the Stars at every end of the ice, and made them look soft by comparison. And they did it without Adam Foote.
The Stars scored first in the game on a first period power play. The Avs didn't get on the board until the third period, but once they did they didn't let up. Peter Forsberg got his first point of the season when he started a great offensive play by passing to Andrew Brunette, who found Scott Hannan of all people down low in Ryan Smyth territory. Hannan punched the puck past a stunned Marty Turco, who had until then been a complete madman in net.
The Avs even saved a kitten, too, scoring on the power play. Three minutes after the Hannan goal, Paul Stastny and Forsberg set up Brunette for a great shot that beat Turco and gave their team the lead and proved to be the game-winner. Sastny (who is now rocking a four-game points streak) finished off the Stars for good with an easy empty-netter with just three seconds left.
Jose Theodore should legally change his name to Pimp Cane. The guy is on fire. 25 saves on 26 shots, some of which were incredibly difficult to stop, and he never looked like he broke a sweat. His transformation gets more impressive with every dominant win.
Overall, every single Avalanche team member played well. There were no glaring mistakes, no half efforts, no morale-killing flubs. Everybody played like they not only want the Northwest Division title, but expect it. I just wish they wouldn't wait to the end of every season to get this way.
Stars of the Game:
- Andrew Brunette (1g, 1a)
- Peter Forsberg (0g, 2a)
- Jose Theodore (25sv, .962)