So... let's talk about the Sharks. In case you missed it, this is the boxscore for their last game. It's really worth taking a minute to bask in the soft glow of that penalty summary. The team from San Jose made it out of that donnybrook with 4 goals and only 75 minutes in penalties - quite the accomplishment if you ask me, especially considering how the other team looked like this by the end of the game.
The game before that? The Sharks lost to the Sabres. It's entirely likely that the Avs will be hosting a fired up, pissed off club tonight that's looking to snag 2 points and jump into the #3 spot in the Conference.
One player that won't be joining them is John Scott. On Sunday, he decided that tackling Tim Jackman was a WAAAY better idea than playing the puck after a line change, so he was suspended by Not-Brendan-Shanahan for 2 contests. More details here. While that means that Avalanche faces everywhere are less likely to get punched, it also means that he of the 3 NHL goals in 241 GP won't be on the ice. Somehow, I feel very cheated by this.
To make matters worse, Scott's likely replacement is Tye McGinn, who is somehow BIGGER than our McGinn. Will the Pepsi Center be able to handle having both of them on the same ice? Either way (and all joking aside), it could be a really cool moment for the McGinn clan. Jamie surprised his bro by flying them in for the game.
Now, onto the Avs. This is the first of a two game homestand to finish out the less than outstanding month of October. Saying this is a "must win game" might be a little melodramatic, but it would go a long way towards righting the wrongs of this young season. Playoff spots aren't won in October, but they can be lost, and .389 hockey just isn't good enough. Two wins would put us back at .500. Two losses, and we're in extremely dangerous territory.
The good news is that Erik Johnson isn't dead or even seriously injured. He did leave last game for concussion protocol, but tests came back negative. Tyson Barrie got smooshed at the end of the second period, but sources say he's not dead either. We're a little more unsure about Alex Tanguay who missed yesterday's practice due to a bruised foot (silly shot blocking), but Roy seems confident that he's still breathing and will be in the lineup tonight. On the other hand, Jesse Winchester has been medically cleared to play, but he's more likely to make his Avalanche debut against the Islanders on Thursday.
The Avs' last game was an ugly affair where their pity point was probably undeserved. The team needs to make a statement tonight, but against a big, physical club like the Sharks, they've got their work cut out for them. It's going to take a consistent, cohesive effort, and but the way this season's been headed... let's just hope things turn around tonight and we build on the happy feels from that Vancouver game, okay?
Tanguay - Duchene - Iginla
Landeskog - O'Reilly - MacKinnon**
McGinn - Mitchell - Talbot
McLeod - Briere - Cliche
Hejda - Johnson
Stuart - Barrie
Redmond - Holden
Varlamov / Berra
**Line currently missing. If found, please contact coach Patrick Roy at (303) 555-3333. Reward possible.
San Jose Sharks, 5-4-1, 11pts; 4-2-1 on the road
Colorado Avalanche, 2-4-3, 7pts; 1-NEVER HAPPENED-1 at home