Post-game vs Nashville - Jan 30, 2007 - Colorado Avalanche Updates, News and Game Reviews at Avs Talk

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Post-game vs Nashville - Jan 30, 2007

Oh man what a scary ending! It looked like the game was all wrapped up but a weak attempt at a clear by Wolski and a quick shot past an unsuspecting Budaj gave some drama to this ending. The Avalanche came away with the 4-3 win in a pretty solid game overall. The Avalanche played the body, they worked better in the corners, and they played some pretty solid D. They got a big goal from Milan Hejduk to start the third period and it stood up as the winner in a nail-biting finish.

Peter Budaj played well and was countered at the other end by some solid tending from Tomas Vokoun. Budaj was bailed out by the post a few times during a 4 minute powerplay but you know what they say, you gotta be good to be lucky. And Budaj was very good tonight, save for being caught relaxing on the third goal. In his defense, who expected Wolski to toss the puck away like that!

The Avalanche actually spent some time pushing Nashville around. They actually dealt out more than they took! The official scoresheet gave the Avs 19 hits and the Preds 18. Klee, Richardson, and Laperriere were the main contributors with 3, 4, and 3 respectively. Klee was very noticeable in dishing out checks and rubbing opposing players off the puck. Laperriere was his usual self and Richardson made some good finishing checks. Nothing crushing, but the sort of basic physical play the Avalanche have been lacking.

On the opposite side of that, Ossi Vaananen still seems to get pushed around in the corners. I don't recall once seeing him go in for the puck and come away with it. He seems to try and roll off the check and fish for the puck when he should actually be initiating the contact. There's a reason he only got 12 minutes of ice-time tonight.

Jordan Leopold and Kurt Sauer were the top defensive pairing tonight, just beating out Brett Clark and Karlis Skrastins. I was very happy with Leopold's play. He made some great defensive plays and seems to be positioned very well in front of the net. Kurt Sauer played well but still looks a bit shaky at times. He just doesn't make good snap decisions and that second of hesitation is all it takes for the opposition to get all over him and take the puck away.

Milan Hejduk and Marek Svatos seemed to find some chemistry early on in the game but were never able to bury any of their opportunities. Then Svatos made a few weak defensive plays and found himself with limited ice-time towards the end of the game. The kids got wheels and does put in effort on the back-check, he's just still not defensively responsible enough and seems to have lost his finishing touch. He fired off 6 shots and nothing got through but you have to believe if he keeps doing that, the goals should come.

Wojtek Wolski had a great game and has really rounded out his play lately. He didn't get much time on the PK tonight, 50 seconds, but when he was out there he managed to get the puck and clear the zone. That's about all you want from penalty killing! He scored another good, hard-working goal in front of the net to put the Avs up 3-2. He came away with a +2 rating on the night while logging the most minutes of any forward.

Brad Richardson looked to be in some pain during the second period and only had one shift in the third period after putting in a lot of ice-time in the first. So he may have had a slight injury that didn't take him off the ice, but Q didn't want to take a chance on making it worse. Mark Rycroft was inserted in the lineup and didn't do much other than checking Kimo Timmonen from behind. So I give him immediate negative marks for that. Brett Mclean didn't get huge minutes but was certainly trying to make the best of every shift he had and managed to get on the scoreboard with an assist on the 2nd goal.

So it was a good start to Avalanche's five-game homestand. Let's hope they keep it up Thursday as they welcome the Wild who managed to down St. Louis tonight to stay 4 points up on the Avalanche.

The Good
- multi-point game by Sakic
- better physical play
- better puck possession
- better defensive posture

The Bad
- PK getting owned
- giving up 37 shots

The Ugly
- Wolski missing a wide open net in the 2nd


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