First, last Thursday, the Avs had a very classy and very emotional tribute to their longtime captain, Joe Sakic, by raising his #19 to the rafters of Pepsi Center. Just about everyone in the building, once again myself included, expected the Avs to get destroyed by the league's best (regular season) team. Instead, they came out, clearly inspired and energized by the ceremony for Joe, and beat the Sharks 5-2.
Wolski started the season with 2 goals by using his size to get pucks in the net down low. McLeod, Liles and one of the biggest scapegoats from last season, Darcy Tucker chipped in with goals to lead the charge. The biggest story of the game was goalie Craig Anderson. Overall, he stopped 38 of 40 shots including all 19 in the 3rd period. I don't remember hearing a goalies name chanted in the Pepsi Center since Roy.
On Saturday, the Avs continued that momentum with a great performance against Vancouver. Wolski and Tucker again provided goals as well as Paul Stastny chipping in with his 1st of the season. The story of this game again, though, was Craig Anderson who stopped all 35 shots he faced for the shutout. Anderson has been the biggest reason for this team's great start and he was rewarded for his great play by being named the 2nd star of the week in the NHL.
As for the rookies, Duchene and O'Reilly, they have not looked out of place at all. O'Reilly I still believe will be sent back to Erie after 9 games, mainly just to get ice time as Sacco has been giving him 4th line minutes. Duchene has been just as advertised. He's been the fastest skater on the ice in both games and has shown some really slick moves. No goals have been scored by either player but they have been working really hard and have both been used on the PK where they have also excelled. Both players also recorded assists in the opener against San Jose.
It's only 2 games in but this team has already played better and shown more heart than they did all of last season. I really love how Sacco has the team playing. If they keep playing like this and Anderson keeps up his solid play, playoffs will not be out of the question.