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Game 59 Preview: Thrashers at Avalanche

Vs_medium Matchavalanche_medium
Atlanta Thrashers
7 MT / 9 ET / 2 GMT
Colorado Avalanche
25-24-8 February 10th, 2010
58 pts Pepsi Center
72 pts
11th in East
Denver, CO
6th in West


February is for lovers. Lovers of the Avalanche, that is. After a brief late-January stumble, the Avalanche are 3-1 in February with 3 games left to play before the Olympic break comes along to ruin everything. And the Vancouver Canucks lost in Tampa last night, which means the Avalanche take over sole possession of 1st in the NW tonight with a win or an overtime loss. Atlanta is a team the Avalanche should be able to beat, especially now that that Kovalchuk fella has been shipped off to New Jersey. If you know the Avalanche, you know that spells danger. M-O-O-N.

The Avalanche have generally played really well against strong opponents this year. Its a bit more hit and miss with those lower in the standings. The Avalanche haven't lost to a team above them in the (league) standings since December 15th, when they were blown out by Washington 6-1. Since that drubbing, each of the Avs' 8 losses have come against teams lower in the standings. Atlanta is one of those teams (hell, there's only two Eastern Conference teams with more points then the Avalanche right now). The plan tonight should be crystal clear: Do Not Play Down To Your Opponent.

Ryan O'Reilly is expected to miss his 2nd straight game tonight, which means TJ Galiardi will likely be centering the 3rd line again this evening. Galiardi's versatility is impressive - he's been effective on every line and at all three forward positions. As good as he's been, you want to see O'Reilly come back soon so that we can get back to our top PK unit, TJ and the Hair.

David Koci will also miss the game after breaking his hand in a fight with DJ King on Monday. To replace Koci on the roster, the Avalanche recalled Darren Haydar from Lake Erie. The 5'9" 170lb forward leads the Monsters in scoring with 43 points and this shot is long overdue.

Or, perhaps the Avalanche will dress some extra defensemen. The Avalanche currently have 8 healthy blueliners. John-Michael Liles and Ruslan Salei watched Monday's game from the press box. Keep an eye on the Twitter feeds of Adrian Dater and Mike Haynes today for late-breaking news here. Or, just peruse our comments.

Thrashers vs Avalanche coverage

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