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Game 55 Preview: Blue Jackets at Avalanche

Vs_medium Matchavalanche_medium
Columbus Blue Jackets
7 MT / 9 ET / 2 GMT
Colorado Avalanche
22-26-9 February 1st, 2010
53 pts Pepsi Center
66 pts
14th in West
Denver, CO
6th in West


The Run For Thirty-One There are no excuses. With all due respect to the Columbus Blue Jackets - trust us, we've been there - the Avalanche should win this hockey game. The Jackets have the 2nd highest GA/G in the Western Conference. They are the worst team in the conference at 5 on 5, they've lost all three previous games to the Avalanche this year and they won consecutive games just once since November 19th. Just once. The biggest thing the BJs have going for them is their PP. But, frankly, with the way the Avs PK has been playing lately, even that isn't a guaranteed plus for Columbus tonight.

What do the Avalanche need to do to win? Score. The defense has been okay, the goaltending has been solid, the penalty kill has been downright terrific. But the offense? Not so hot, especially that powerplay.

The Avalanche are right in the middle of the pack in the Conference at 5 on 5 - 7th in the West in 5 on 5 goals per game. Not great, but good enough for government work. But the power play is 9th, and that includes a league-leading 7 5-on-3 PPGs. The Avalanche rank 12th in the Conference in 5-on-4 goals per game, and that isn't going to cut it. The Avalanche need to improve there, and they need to do it now.

The general consensus seems to be that the guys on the power play - especially those on the point - are not shooting enough. I think the general consensus is right. Kyle Quincey leads Avalanche blueliners in shots taken with 96, good for a "meh" 34th in the league. Brett Clark ranks 84th. Liles is 94th. And Kyle Cumiskey is 120th, tied with Johnny Boychuk. All 4 have respectable points shots. Folks have talked about a need to add a big boomer from the point, but I really think the Avalanche have four very capable point men on the roster today. Someone just needs to tell them to let it fly more often. Like, a LOT more often. Tonight would be a great place to start doing that.

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The Cannon