The Colorado Avalanche had a busy week, winning some games and losing some players.
Swimming with the Sharks
The Avalanche had a home-and-home series against the San Jose Sharks last week. Both games were fast, hard-hitting and high on the offense. They were very reminiscent of the 2009-2010 playoff series, and the realignment for next season will pit the two teams against each other enough that an exciting rivalry is bound to develop.
The first of the two games happened in Denver on Tuesday, December 13th. With less than 30 seconds left in the third, Patrick Marleau tipped home a pass from Logan Couture, sending the game to overtime, which was then followed by the shoot out. Gabriel Landeskog scored his first NHL shoot out goal, giving the Avalanche the 4-3 win. The second game came two nights later. The Avalanche dominated play for 43 minutes, going into the final 17 with a 4-2 lead. Youth and inexperience cost the Avs, though, as the Sharks scored three unanswered goals to win it 5-4.
Capitals leave Disappointed
It was supposed to be the first major match up between Semyon Varlamov and the guy who took his job, but a minor back injury put Varlamov on the bench and Jean-Sebastien Giguere in net. The Avalanche played well in front of Jiggy, though, and got another win for the home crowd. The 2-1 victory on Saturday, Dec. 17th, was the Avs’ fifth straight home win. Both Cody McLeod and Erik Johnson picked up their first goals of the season.
Reaching out to the Community
Gabriel Landeskog donated $2,500 and some equipment to the Foothills Hockey Association in support of youth hockey in Littleton, Colorado. On Dec. 18, 2011, he took time out to sign autographs, meet the teams, and present a check to the association. When asked why he chose FHA, he said, “Foothills is an organization that cares a lot about family. It’s about having fun and about taking care of everyone.” For a full transcript of the interview, you can visit Mile High Hockey, beginning with Part 1.
Both Ryan Wilson and Chuck Kobasew were put on injured reserve due to head injuries. Brandon Yip and David Jones are out with groin injuries. Semyon Varlamov is still sidelined with a back strain. Paul Stastny returned, and David van der Gulik and Evan Brophey were recalled from Lake Erie. They join fellow Monster Brad Malone as part of the forward corps. Peter Mueller is still out due to concussion symptoms; his return date is unclear.
The Avalanche take on the Philadelphia Flyers Monday night at the Pepsi Center in Denver. The HBO crew will, of course, be on hand to film for 24/7: The Road to the NHL Winter Classic. The Avs will then finish out their 4-game home stand with games against the St. Louis Blues (Dec. 21) and the Tampa Bay Lightning (Dec. 23).