Archive for the ‘Avs vs. Toronto Maple Leafs’ Category

Colorado continues to turn heads in the young NHL season, by beating Nashville 3-1 on Friday, and then handing Toronto their first loss of the season with a 2-1 win at the Air Canada Centre. Rookie Nathan MacKinnon is leading the way on the Avs third line, and is tied for the team lead in points (4) with his linemates Jamie McGinn, and PA Parenteau.
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The Avs defense has holes, but just call goaltender Semyon Varlamov the repair man because he is mending them quite nicely. During the Toronto game, the Avs took the lead early in the third period, and while they looked solid for the first half of the period, it was Varlamov who came up with big saves at clutch times to keep the Avs ahead.

Colorado is a different team. They’re showing life, something that zombie coach Joe Sacco rarely did. They’re playing with fire, and passion that they seemed to lack during Sacco’s tenure. The Avs landed 44 hits against the Maple Leafs, and every single skater managed at least 1 hit. They’re finishing checks, fore-checking aggressively, and it is leading to opportunities in the offensive zone.

It’s the first time in Avalanche history that the team has started 3-0. They beat a defensive minded team in Nashville, scoring 2 goals, and adding a third with an empty net, but their biggest challenge of this young season will take place tomorrow when they go head to head against the Eastern Conference champs last year, the Boston Bruins. While it is an exciting time to be an Avs fan, keep in mind that Colorado has played about 3.5% of its season. Look at it this way, if a quarterback in a football game throws the ball 30 times in a game, each throw is about 3.33% of his game. You’re not going to judge a quarterback’s game based on one throw…unless you’re Tony Romo throwing an interception at the end of a 48-48 game.


5 in a row! My goodness. After that ugly first game against Detroit, I don’t think anyone saw the Avs sweeping the road trip coming. I know I sure didn’t. They are leading the Western Conference too! I don’t just want to sit here and praise the Avs, because I think the lower the expectations the better, but I honestly don’t have that many negative things I can say, they did just sweep a five game road trip.

Personally, I thought there was no way the Avs were going to win this game. Going 5-0 on the trip just didn’t seem possible, but they proved me wrong. I loved how Jones admitted in the post game interview that Giggy put some money up to get a win. Classic. But onto the game.

How about Milan Hejduk. The guy just scores clutch goals. He may have been the Avs best player on the road trip. What else can I say about him that has not already been said? I was not expecting much from Milan this year, but he sure is proving me wrong in the early stages of the season. I think he is under appreciated at times for what he brings to the team.

Speaking of under appreciated….

I’ve said it before, but Daniel Winnik is the total package. In fact, when I wake up in the morning, I don’t eat Total cereal anymore, I eat Daniel Winnik Crunch. He scores goals, kills penalties, and can grind it out. What a player. I have to give props to O’reilly though, because that was a sick drop pass to Winnik.

Also, I love seeing EJ and Stastny show up on the scoresheet again, they are two big pieces and the Avs need to preform. Also EJ is carrying my fantasy team early in the year. Talk about value in the 14th round.

There were some things I didn’t like about the game. First, why was Giguere playing? I get that it’s Toronto and his former team, but you don’t sit Varly after only playing 1 game. In the last three games, Giggy has played two, and that ratio is not what the Avs need. Second, I didn’t think Giguere played every good. Sure he had some nice saves, but overall looked slow. The Leafs missed two or three open nets it felt like. The more I saw of Giguere today, the less confidence I had in him.

And they simply cannot let the Leafs score late in the third period. Find a way to keep the puck out of your net, I was pretty disappointed that the Avs couldn’t close out the Leafs in 60 minutes.

As much as this pains me to say, with them having won five road games in a row…I’m still not convinced they are as good as their record. Lets face it, three of the five wins were in overtime, and could have gone either way. A 2-1-2 road trip is pretty good still, and it easily could have turned out that way, but that is the difference between six and ten points. What if they lose all three? 1-1-3 is not that good, and all that is, is three bad bounces.

But the fact is they did not lose any. I keep thinking the Avs are going to come back to reality, but they keep proving me wrong. I’m hesitant to raise my hopes because of last year. I was high on the Avs last year, in November and December, I was sure they were going to make some noise in the playoffs…and then it happened. Over and over they kept losing. It was devastating. But for now, I hope the Avs keep proving me wrong, all the way through mid June.

The Avs next game is Thursday against the Blackhawks. Lets fill up the Pepsi Center for the boys. Starts at 7 p.m. Mountain.