Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Previewing the Avs

Colorado comes to town tonight for the final meeting of the season between the two squads, looking to avoid an uncharacteristic season sweep at the hands of the CBJ. Columbus prevailed 4 - 2 and 6 - 1 in Denver, and squeaked out a 4 - 3 win at home in the most recent contest at Nationwide.

The Avs will not be traveling with Adam Foote, still suffering from his torn tricep injury, thereby successfully ducking the various "Burn Foote In Effigy" events planned for his return. The EBay market for Foote bobbleheads to commit atrocities against has dropped dramatically in recent days.

The Avs come into the game with 51 points, and a 3 - 7 record over their past 10 games. That span includes an 8 game homes stand, during which they went 3 -5. They are 2 - 1 in their last 3, including consecutive wins over Calgary and Dallas at home, followed by a 4 - 1 road loss at St. Louis.

The Avs rank 20th in Goals Scored, 22nd in Goals Against, 20th on the Power Play and 25th on the PK. Although the Jackets are still 30th on the PP, they have been playing at just about a 17% clip since December. They remain 13th in goals agains, 21st in Goals Scored and 19th on the PK.

Despite Colorado falling on hard times, due largely to injury and age, they are not to be taken lightly. Ryan Smyth is always a Jacket killker, and leads the Avs with 16-26-42. Hejduk has been playing well of late, and is close behind at 20-20-40.

The keys for us are as follows:

Size Matters -- We have a considerable size advantage over this club, which we have used to our advantage this year, and need to continue. Outman them in front of the net, out muscle them for the puck.

Picket Fence -- Watching that line of bodies in the neutral zone against San Jose was a joy. We can be so disruptive and difficult to play when we do that, check hard and forecheck. Let's see more of that tonight.

Crispness -- Good passing, heads up, support in our own zone, aggressiveness on offense -- play with purpose.

No Letdowns -- We need another full 60 minute effort, supporting our young netminder, getting in the habit of getting an opponent down, then finishing them off. I'd like this game to be in the Jacket's pocket by the end of the 2nd, and have us put our foot on the gas more in the 3rd, just so they can get a feeling for it.

Every two points means a lot at this point of the season, but a sweep of the Avs would be extra sweet. Go Jackets!!


Rick said...

I'm ahaed of you, but... HOLY COW!!! Another shutout for a rookie goalie!!! Rock On!!!

Carry The Flag!!!

JAL said...

You beat me to it Rick! Yep, another great effort. Game review is up now!