Colorado Avalanche: 5-1-1
Key Wins: 4-3 over Boston, 5-2 over San Jose, 3-0 over Vancouver
Yesterday I called the LA Kings a surprise in the young season. If the Kings are a surprise, then the Avalanche are a shock. After finishing dead last in the Western Conference last year, the Avalanche are tied with Chicago heading into Friday night's games. The secret? I think it's the youth. Colorado is loaded with young talent that's backed up by great goaltending from Craig Anderson, something missing since Patrick Roy retired.
|Goals per game||3.43||8th||Scorer (Points)||7 points||Wolski/Hejduk|
|Goals Against per game||2.00||3rd||+/-||+5||David Jones|
|Penalty kill||86.7%||5th||PIM||15||Darcy Tucker|
|Shots per game||23.3||30th||Shots||16||Wojtek Wolski|
|Shots against per game||33.1||25th||Blocked Shots||17||Kyle Quincey|
|Faceoff percentage||45.0%||29th||Faceoffs||54.4%||Ryan O'Reilly|
|PIM per game||13||16th||Wins||5||Craig Anderson|
|PP drawn||30||9th||GAA||1.99||Craig Anderson|
*All stats and rankings based on games played before 10/16/2009
Colorado has a strong special teams that boost the team's chances of winning. The best penalty killer on the team is Craig Anderson, who has allowed only 5 goals on 51 shots against. When on the power play, Milan Hejduk is a big threat with 4 (2 G, 2 A) of his 7 points coming on the man advantage. The way Detroit wins this one is very similar to the way it won against LA. Although they didn't dominate in the faceoff circle against LA, they have the chance to do so against the Avs. If they control the puck and keep it off the sticks of the Avs youngsters, they can take a win from another very good team. Oh, and don't let Wojtek Wolski get anywhere near the net or have a chance at a penalty shot.
Players to watch on offense: Wojtek Wolski, Matt Duchene, Paul Stastny, Milan Hejduk
Players to watch on defense: Kyle Quincey (former Red Wing), Adam Foote