Last nights game was fun to watch. The Avs have had to deal with many injuries this year, and the call ups have done a very good job. Inconsistent would be another way to describe it, but they are young.
Stewart is blossoming into a truly fun player to watch. His goal last night was a fun one to watch and the power he drove to the net say a lot about his fearless nature. I enjoy guys who can throw the gloves down, score a goal, make a good hit and are defensively responsible. With the right coaching Stewart can be just that. I don't believe his name will ever be on the all start ballot, but he could potentially become a fan favorite in Denver.
Hensick got on the scoreboard tonight as well with an assist on the Stewart goal. Two strong games in a row from the young centerman. His problem this season has been consistency with his scoring ability. He has a fair amount of skill and at times looks like he is ready play some great games. There are other times when he appears lost and has a tough time seeing the ice. His work with Svatos and Stewart has helped a lot recently. I will say this of his consistency though, he is not a checking forward and that is the role he was asked to play at the early points in the season. This is a player who needs to know the team trusts his offensive ability. If we throw him up and down between top 6 and a checking role he will continue to flounder, showing us moments of brilliance the on to moments of "T.J. who? Oh yeah, I think I saw him."
Svatos managed to get on the board with a power play goal tonight as well. Consistency has always been the outstanding problem with him. He seems to find the back of the net all the time every other season. This seems to be an off season for him, but he is still recovering from a torn ACL. Having had the exact same surgery I feel his pain. It takes a long time to regain your confidence, and the strength on the outside edge of your skates that is so normal to have. I will give him that this season, but if he wants to get himself out of the rumor mill he needs to start scoring with consistency.
I want to know where Ruslan Salei's shot goes when he isn't scoring. He has a bomb from the point. It showed up last night, and was an impact goal. This goal was the nail in the coffin. If the Flames were going to mount a comeback it was at this point in the third period. Salei finding the back of the net took the win out of their sails. We need this shot more, and we need to see it on the Power Play!!!
Jordan Leopold had an assist as well. He is now sitting on 16 points total, 5 of which are goals. This goal total matches that of J.M. Liles and he is second in line to Liles for total points for D men. Leopold doesn't have as strong of defensive play as Liles, but does manage to contribute as a defenseman. I hope management is smart enough to retain him. It seems that other teams are always looking for a puck moving defenseman with an offensive upside. It is nice to have two of them. He has room to improve defensively, but last night he did some strong back checking to help break up an on mad rush or two. He may be enticing trade bait for another team, but as an upcoming UFA I believe it would be better to retain him.
McCleod in typical instigator form scored with half a second remaining on the clock. It would be fitting that he scores his 10th goal at that juncture of the game.
The key to this game really was the specialty teams play. Ryan Smyth scored a short handed goal on a 2 on 1 rush. Milan Hejduk's goal was also a power play goal, as well as the afore mentioned Svatos goal. There were 6 goals scored by the Avs, half were in specialty teams situations. If we want to see this team win games we need to see more good specialty teams play.
The penalty kill was allright, but other than Smyth's short handed goal was nothing to write home about. In fact the Avs took two penalties to give the flames a 5 on 3. This resulted in the Cammalleri goal. It should also be noted that even though the Avs did score tow PPGs they failed to convert an extended 5 on 3 of their own.
Now on to the coolest part of the game. Congratulations to Ryan Smyth and Milan Hejduk. Both scored goal number 300 in their careers. It was fitting that they get those goals on the same night as they have been working together all season and their individual styles compliment each other on the ice so well.
Dater went on a rant against KSE today in the post. Take a look at the article and see what you think. He makes some valid points, and others could be distasteful internet journalism. Hope this finds all of you well, and lets see what the next game with the Kings brings in rivalry form.