Wednesday, October 14, 2009

4 down 3 to go

The Avs just passed the midway point of their long 7 game road trip after downing the lowly Toronto Maple Leafs 4-1. They have continued their surprising play during this trip. Despite dropping the 1st game in Nashville for the Preds home opener, they battled a really high powered Blackhawks team all the way to the 9th round of the shootout. 2 nights later they beat last season's Eastern Conference leading Boston Bruins in an afternoon tilt on Columbus Day.

Overall, the team has done exactly what Joe Sacco said they were do and that is play with a lot of energy and be a team that is very difficult to play against. However, the one thing that the team really needs to do is not sit back on leads. They blew the lead in the 3rd period against the Preds that ultimately lost them the game, couldn't hold onto the lead against Chicago and then nearly blew two 2 goal leads against Boston.

Craig Anderson still hasn't missed a game and also has not missed a beat. He's now 1 of only 3 goalies to play 6 games so far this season along with Kipprusoff and Nabokov and he has the lowest GAA and best sv% of the 3.

Against Boston, the Avs got a big spark with the return of David Jones who has been injured all season with a bruised chest. Jonesy has looked incredible so far with a goal and an assist in each of his 2 games and both goals were game winners. His size and speed bring a great element to this young Avs team. Jones is going to be a very important part of this team going forward.

Matt scored his 1st career goal against Boston but it wasn't Duchene. Matt Hendricks, at the ripe young age of 28 scored his 1st career goal by doing what he is supposed to do in driving to the net and chipping in a rebound. Duchene and O'Reilly are still goalless but have added some assists and both have been huge in helping the Avs be so good on both the PP (2nd) and PK (5th). Both are making cases to stick with the club beyond the road trip.

As far as injuries are concerned, Liles left the game against the Leafs in the 2nd after being hit from behind into the boards (uncalled). It looked like a shoulder injury and hopefully it is not serious. Salei was also put on IR and because of that, Ryan Wilson, who was acquired in the Leopold trade last season and was one of the last players cut in camp, was called up from Lake Erie. If Liles goes on IR, we'll get our first look at Wilson on Thursday against the Habs.

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