The Colorado Avalanche took a three game run through the Eastern conference picking up three points out of a possible six. Not bad, not great. The Avs took it to the Lightning in the first game and Matt Duchene caught fire, seemingly appearing out of nowhere with 7 points in the last 5 games. Chris Stewart shares the same stat and not coincidentally has been playing on the same line of late. Perhaps some, if not all of Duchene’s success is due to the space that Stewart creates on the ice for Duchene. As I pointed out in my blog post, “Does Duchene need a Marty McSorley?” I think Matt Duchene has been a target and needed a little toughness on his line to open up the ice. Looks like its working, Avs win 3-0.
Despite a day off, the Avs skated like zombies through a game against the Florida Panthers, trailing the entire game. In the last minute of the game the Avs scored two goals to tie it up to send the game to overtime. With approximately 40 seconds remaining in the OT period, THE Keith Ballard was flying down the wing and recklessly crashed the net, stunning goalie Craig Anderson. Ballard’s most recent example of “careless stupidity” was still a hot topic when he got careless and stupid again, running Anderson’s head into the post and putting him on day-to-day status with a neck injury. Nope, no need to suspend idiots. Avs lose this one in the shootout that a cold Peter Budaj was forced to finish due to Anderson’s injury.
After the Carl Hiaasen-like Double Whammy trip to Florida the Avs only had to face the Defending Cup champs the very next night. No problem!
Their best game so far on this trip could arguably be the one against the Pittsburgh Penguins who were well rested while the Avs were playing their 3rd game in four days. Though Milan Hejduk was back (and looking a bit rusty) goalie Craig Anderson was out and back up Peter Budaj played against a very hot Pens team. No, the Avs didn’t win the game but they were obviously up for the challenge of this juggernaut of a team, losing this one 4-1. However, two of those goals were empty netters in the last minute of the game and the Avs were also the victim of another “intent to blow” call that looked like it should have been a goal. But Avs fans don’t cry over that like Detroit Red Wings fans.
Saturday the Avs will visit Columbus and Adam Foote will no doubt be welcomed back with boos and derisive signs. As I recall, Puck Daddy had no problem finding jersey fouls such as this one. You can’t blame a guy for being that cranked about the captain of his team up and leaving so quickly. Based on Avs blogger Jibblescribbits’ “Official guide to buying an Avs sweater” a fan should be able to assign a tier to a player and therefore judge the risk involved in buying said sweater. In Columbus, Foote was a tier one guy. So it’s no wonder the kid is so angry.
The Avs need to continue to believe in themselves and play the opposition tough. They will wrap up the road trip in St. Louis and despite their record it should be noted that the Central Division is much tougher than it once was when Detroit ruled the roost and every other team in the division was a lock to be on the golf course in the spring. If the Avs can get a couple more points out of this road trip they may well be on their way to recovering from a poor November.
This story was originally posted at HockeyIndependent.com, check it out!
-From the Point