And so it begins.
I'm not much for superstitions, but I do have a couple of playoff habits. Of course, I'm growing a playoff beard, started the morning after Matt Duchene's pimp-like shootout winner in Vancouver. I do have a lucky Avalanche jersey - a black practice jersey - and I'll be wearing that today for sure. Finally, every day the Avs play in the playoffs, the front of my house will be sporting this:
That flag hasn't seen the light of day in 712 days - since May 1st, 2008. It may not get a lot of use this time around, but we're hoping the Avs can make a game of it.
We've previewed the series, the fine gentlemen at Fear The Fin have done so as well (with an excellent interview with Shark's play-by-play guy Randy Hahn as a bonus). And now the game begins.
We already know that Peter Mueller (Happy Birthday, Ferris) and David Jones will not play tonight. Everyone else - all 29 other players on the active roster - are expected to be available tonight. While we don't know for sure, expect the lineups to look something like this:
- Galiardi - Stastny - Stewart
- Yip - Duchene - Hejduk
- McLeod - O'Reilly - Tucker
- Hendricks - Yelle - Porter
I think there's an outside chance we see Ryan Stoa, but I don't believe Skipper Joe will want to lose Matt Hendrick's toughness to make room.
- Quincey - Hannan
- Cumiskey - Foote
- Liles - Wilson
[UPDATE: Mike Haynes has indicated via Twitter that Clark, Salei, Koci, Stoa, Svatos, Durno, Jones and Mueller are scratches tonight, so the above lineups would seem to be more or less correct]
Craig Anderson will start in goal for the Avs (I can type that sentence with my eyes closed by now). He'll face Evgeni Nabokov.
Any updates we have during the day will be updated here. Derek will have the recap this evening.
Oh, and GO AVS!!!