One of the most frustrating parts of being an Avalanche fan as of late is their inability to protect a lead. The third period was their undoing last night. Face offs are a key part to that, we really need a second line center.
Granato was right, and Hensick is not ready for that much of a role. Remember, the key to all of these young players being successful NHLers is the roles they are given, and then the ice time to allow them to feel successful at those roles. Hensick may be a big part of the offense some day, but now he needs to learn about the speed and pace of the game at this higher level.
Wolski made a huge individual effort last night on his goal. Way to give his team a lead, and way put away a pretty goal.
J.M. Liles was easily the best player for the Avalanche. His assist on the Lapperiere goal was huge. He had 6 shots last night, as well as his legs underneath him. He played with Foote which gave him more permission to be offensively involved. Good game, keep it up.
Stewart played well too. Second goal and third point in as many games. Crashing the net is his thing. I believe the Lappy goal went in due in part to him distracting Khabibulin. Notice how he pulled slightly away from the post which created the space for the tip to go in over his shoulder. Good work again, making it harder to send him down.
On to the duds of the game. Budaj was beaten twice on the 5 hole, soft goals to say the least. I am sure he wanted them back.
There were problems tonight on the break out as well. The ice tended to look a little lop sided in the Hawk's favor for extended periods.
The Penalty kill wasn't bad, but it was not great either. For the most part they kept the puck out of the danger zones, but if you can't get it out of the defensive zone, that doen't matter. A goal essentially came for the Hawks off of a power play even though the time hadn't run out. The goal was scored seconds after it was over.
The problem with the penalties that were taken in the third was who took them. Adam Foote and Jordan Leopold. Foote is a no brainer on why he can't take those penalties, and Leopold is usually on the second shift of the PK. That puts the PK duty on Defenseman who are not normally the first choice to go. A lot of pressure on Hannan and Clark. Clark again blocked many shots, but its tough for him to be that guy all the time like was expected to be two seasons ago.
Hannan looked good again last night, and if not for a post saving the Hawks he would have easily had a goal. Hannan has also looked very good picking and choosing his times to break in down the back side looking for a shot. The goals will come here soon if he continues to do this.
Now to address the needs of this team. There is not depth down the middle, and last night proved it. Arnason is not a second line center. I would rather see the coaching staff move Wolski there to his "natural" position. Give him the reigns, he is one of the future integral parts of this team.
If they aren't going to do that, we may need to trade for a second liner, but not in draft picks.
Next up is the Wings. Better bring every aspect of their A-game to face the Babcock's win producing machine.