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Penguins @ Avalanche: March of the Postseason

The Pittsburgh Penguins (36-17-9) visit Denver to take on the Avalanche (27-25-11) for the first game after the trade deadline for both teams.

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

The trade deadline passed Monday afternoon and all the big chips the Avs were rumored to move were still on the roster by day's end. Besides the obvious one in Ryan O'Reilly, the Avs also held on to Jan Hejda and Daniel Briere. The reason for Hejda's absence from the departures seems to be that Hejda has more value now and as a possible resign in the offseason than he did in a trade. The reason for Briere staying is probably just the fact that nobody wanted him. Instead of parting with the major UFAs, the Avs traded Veteran Maxime Talbot along with AHL forwards Paul Carey and Michael Sgarbossa and defenseman, Karl Stollery. In their returns, the Avalanche received Jordan Caron from Boston, Freddie Hamilton from San Jose, and defenseman Mat Clark from Anaheim. The latter two moves are moves that make the farm younger; something that is probably needed. The addition of Jordan Caron, however, effects the pro team. Having played more than 100 games in the NHL, Caron is ready to contribute at the NHL level. While his offensive numbers may not reflect his potential, perhaps a change of scenery will allow the 24 year old to flourish.

None of these moves are ground shaking for the Avalanche. Instead, they seem to portray exactly what Sakic and Roy have said and acted upon. The management believes in this current team. Is this team a cup contender as of now? Of course not, but they are growing into one. There's more pieces to be added to make this puzzle a cup contender, mainly on the back-end, but going after them in a trade right now would just fill a hole while putting a hole somewhere else. The moves may not be fancy or popular, but they are appropriate for the Avalanche at this venture.

The Avs opponent Wednesdy night, the Pittsburgh Penguins made some interesting moves of their own. The Pens added two defenseman, Ian Cole and former-Pen, Ben Lovejoy. Both of these players make sense as additions for a team looking to compete for the cup. What doesn't make sense is what the Pens gave up to get Lovejoy especially. The Pens gave up a very promising young defenseman in Simon Despres. Despres looked to be having a very solid season in Pittsburgh. In what was looking to be his first full NHL season, Despres had put up 17 points and a plus-nine rating in 59 games. But it looks like the Quebec native will be taking his promising career to southern California instead.

While the Pens have been backstopped by Marc-Andre Fleury and his league-leading eight shutouts, it is their offense that brings them to Denver on a four-game winning streak. The Pens have scored 18 goals over that streak and come to Colorado looking to chase down the Islanders, who sit four points ahead of them for the lead in the Metropolitan Division. Should be a fun game Wednesday night.


Hard to say for sure what the lines will be after the additions and subtractions on Monday. Here's my best shot:











- Barring something unforeseen, this will be Sidney Crosby's first game in Denver since January 10th, 2009. With frequent injuries and scheduling changes, Sid the Kid will make his first appearance at Pepsi Center in over six years. The Avs won that game back in 2009 by the score of 5-3. Andrew Raycroft got the win and David Jones scored twice.

- Though he has only played twice at Pepsi Center, Crosby has scored three goals and has notched one assist in Denver. He has six points during the Pens current winning streak.

- If I was a betting man, I would put my money on a fight between former Av, Steve Downie and Cody McLeod tonight. The two sit one and two in the league in terms of penalty minutes.


Game time: 8pm, MT