||6 MT / 8 ET / 1 GMT
|19-8-4||December 13th, 2009
|42 pts||Pepsi Center
2nd in West
5th in West
Must win? Probably not, but this still shapes up as a big, big game for the Colorado Avalanche. The winner of tonight's game is in sole possession of first place in the Northwest. The loser will be in 5th place in the West, just 2 or 3 points ahead of the 6th-place Phoenix Coyotes.
I am very interested to see how the Avalanche play tonight. They've been a bit inconsistent lately, and I'm anxious to see if they can rise to meet tonight's challenge. Joe pointed out yesterday that the wheels are far from off of this magic bus. If you look at the tale of the tape below, you'll see that these two teams are pretty evenly matched statistically.The Avalanche can absolutely win this game...but it's probably going to take 60 minutes of effort to do it.
It would be nice if the Avs had a big, raucous home crowd to help fire them up. Unfortunately, the Avalanche are struggling attendance-wise, with just one sellout (opening night) and an average attendance of 13,994 (78% capacity). Only 4 teams have a lower average this year (Nashville, Atlanta, Phoenix and the Islanders). Of the 10 sparsest crowds the Avalanche have played in front of this year, 8 have been in the Pepsi Center. Come on, good people of Denver. Your team is in a battle for 1st place tonight; get out there and show them some love! You'll have plenty of time to get to the arena after watching the Broncos knock off the Colts today.
For the Avs, Craig Anderson is the confirmed starter. He set a career high in minutes on Friday and could set a high for wins with a W tonight. Milan Hejduk (knee) is doubtful for tonight. Figure on Ryan Stoa (#29) to make his NHL debut tonight for sure, and if indeed Svatos (mystery ailment) isn't in the lineup, Justin Mercier (#43) should play as well.
Figure on Mikka Kiprusoff as the Flames starter tonight. The Flames are almost at full strength. Corey Sarich will not play tonight and Craig Conroy is banged up and will be a game time decision.
Flames vs Avalanche coverage
Taylor Arnason update:
Arnason assisted on Oleg Sorokin's 1st goal of the year (glad to see Oleg get of the schnide) as the Dinamo rolled over the Tagliatti Lada on Friday 4-1. Riga is now tied with the Torpedo for the 8th and final playoff spot in the Western Conference
On this day last year:
On December 13th, 2008, the Avalanche were 12th in the conference with a 14-14-1 record. To that point, the Avalanche had 85 goals for (2.94 p/g) and 81 against (2.85). (Those goal numbers include shootout goals. I think).
Tale of the Tape:
|Iginla||32 pts||Top Scorer||Stastny||33 pts|