Colorado to face Minnesota in Playoffs - Colorado Avalanche Updates, News and Game Reviews at Avs Talk

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Colorado to face Minnesota in Playoffs

(AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Jonathan Hayward)
It became official even as the game was still going on. The Colorado Avalanche will play the Minnesota Wild in the first-round of the 2008 Stanley Cup playoffs. Just one point was needed for the Avalanche to leapfrog the Flames into 6th place and the Wild took this one to overtime in the final minutes of an eventual 4-3 shootout win by the Avalanche.

Shootout ownage
Jose Theodore continued his superb performance in shootouts as he shut the door on both Wild shooters. Unfortunately that now means jack squat as there are - rightfully so - no shootouts in the playoffs.

I also loved the way he swept the puck away after stopping Pierre-Marc Bouchard to win the game. Basically it was a "Get that shit out of here" type motion. I love that cocky attitude in goaltenders as it typically equates to confidence so hopefully Jose keeps it up.

Blocker side ownage
And on the flip side of the coin, Jose Theodore continues to be weak on the blocker side. The Wild's second goal, by Keith Carney, was a shot from just inside the blueline with no traffic for miles around. And Theodore completely whiffed on it. He was off his angle a little bit but he really appears to have trouble covering the spot just above his pad on the blocker side. He needs to fix that up quick, fast and in a hurry.

Super Joe to the rescue
Oh Joe Sakic. How I love your clutch scoring abilities. Not only do you pull it out with mere seconds left in a game but you also score clutch goals whenever you feel like it. You also don't answer my phone calls but I won't hold that against you.

Going into the third period at a 2-1 disadvantage to the Wild doesn't inspire a lot of confidence. Fortunately Joe Sakic really could give a crap what you think. Just 5:38 into the game, Sakic took a feed from Forsberg, moved it from backhand to forehand to the back of the net before you could blink, cured cancer, and then came back in time to nonchalantly raise his stick in celebration.

Forsberg flying
Peter Forsberg had another 3-point game as he assisted on all three of the Avalanche goals this afternoon. When Forsberg is in the lineup, the Avalanche are 8-1-0 and look like a completely different team. I think it's safe to assume that any lingering doubt over this signing has evaporated.

He played just under 20 minutes tonight and was on the bench during the shootout so it appears that he'll be good to when the series kicks off. For the sake of the team, I hope he can stay healthy for at least the first 3 games of the playoffs.

Wolski peaking
Wojtek Wolski put in a very solid game tonight. He was hitting solid, backchecking hard and stripping the puck off quite a few Wild players. His hard work didn't translate into anything on the scoreboard but I'm sure it was noticed by the coaching staff.

I really wish Wolski would put in this level of effort a bit more consistently. I don't think he played terrible, even when Q benched him, but he wasn't finishing his checks and backchecking hard enough. But this is only his second year and I still expect him to turn into a 30-goal scorer.

Gaborik getting feisty
I had to do a double take on this one but at the very end of the overtime period Marion Gaborik ended up getting into a fight with Ian Laperriere. Obviously that's not a matchup the Wild want to see but the Avalanche will be happy to have.

It appeared to start when Laperriere yanked Gaborik's stick out of his hands. Gaborik came back with a shove, Lappy shoved back and the rest is history. The gloves never came off but each player tossed a few punches and got me excited about the upcoming series.

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Anonymous said...

lol at "get that shit out of here". That's exactly what I thought when I saw that save. He has a long way to go to achieve Roy's level of cockyness though lol. That's why I liked Roy so much, he was arrogant all the time, which made him good. Theodore is coming along well though, he even skated out onto the ice and waved to the fans when he was named a star of the game once, but that game was in Calgary!

Mike at MHH said...

And on the flip side of the coin, Jose Theodore continues to be weak on the blocker side. ... he really appears to have trouble covering the spot just above his pad on the blocker side...

To be fair (I'm no Theo apologist FWIW), that is the achillies heel for ALL butterfly goalies. Trust me, from experience, research, and watching tons of NHL games, that is the soft spot in a butterfly-heavy goalie's game. When you butterfly, you're supposed to close the holes under the arms, which pulls the blocker and glove in toward the core, which leaves space over the tops of the outstretched leg pads. There's less space glove side because the glove stays in a more natural blocking position and is bigger. Plus, the catching side is likely the dominent eye side for the goaltender which would allow for a quicker reaction time to shots to the glove.

Shane Giroux said...

That's true, Mike. Even if you look at the physics of stretching out for a shot in that area, you can see you can't get your arm as far out as you could with your glove hand due to the pronated grip.

But I have a hard time believing Keith Carney would have executed a perfect shot from the blueline that Theodore didn't mess up somehow :)