|Final - 12.19.2009||1||2||3||Total|
|Columbus Blue Jackets||0||2||0||2|
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It looked like it was going to be a blowout, but that didn't quite materialize. Pretty much everything went right for the Avs in the 1st period as they put up 4 goals on board in the first 8:02 of the hockey game - 2 by Wojtek Wolski and one each by John-Michael Liles and Paul Stastny.
Unfortunately, there's no easy button in hockey, and, to their credit, the Blue Jackets didn't roll over in this one. Columbus battled back to make it 4-2 and the game was never really in hand until Milan Hejduk iced it at the 16:32 mark. A major positive for the Avs is that they didn't turtle with the lead - the two teams were even at 18 shots each over the final two periods. It may not have been the most exciting hockey to watch, but the Avs get the win and, with the Calgary loss, move back into first place in the NW and jump from 7th to 3rd in the Western Conference.
The Avalanche had a strong game from 5 forwards tonight - Wolski, Hejduk, Stastny, Matt Duchene and Stewart (who I think was the best of the bunch and not just for his attempt to get the net back on the moorings at one point in the game). Hejduk, Stewart and Wolski combined for a whopping nineteen shots, which is probably why they had 4 of the Avs' goals. If the Avalanche can get two dangerous lines rolling like this on a consistent basis, then they will likely continue to run in the top part of the standings.
Stick tap also to John-Michael Liles who had two points and 5 blocked shots. This on a night when Pierre Lebrun stated on the Satellite Hotstove that the Avs are actively shopping him around the league (well, to the 12 clubs they can trade him to).