Somewhere Between Heaven And Hell: Blues at Colorado Avalanche Preview

Blowing the jobs, breaking the sticks - Dilip Vishwanat

The Blues go to Denver to face the Avalanche and their Alpha Flake, Patrick Roy

Boy, it sure is a lot more fun to write about a winning team than a losing one. The Blues have gone 6-1-0 since we last played Colorado. However, the Avalanche have also put up some points - since that last game, they've gone 4-1-0, including wins over LA and Chicago. While we may have shaken their confidence momentarily, they've surely regained a measure of that, and are certainly licking their chops at getting another shot at the Blues. We took their lunch money, and now they're hungry for revenge.

Aside from the Avs' hot start, the biggest story to come out of Denver has been the arrest of Semyon Varlamov for an alleged domestic violence incident. His play since the arrest, while not spectacular like before, still has produced some decent numbers. There's no word yet on whether he'll be prison bound; just last week, he was officially charged with 3rd-degree assault, and will face a judge on December 2 to enter his plea. Until then, he continues to get his starts, and Patrick Roy has already announced him as the starter tonight. For the year, he has a 2.09 GAA, .934 save percentage, and a 12-5-0 record.

The Avalanche are not just about goaltending, though. They have the third-best goal differential in the NHL (+24), having scored 69 and allowed only 45. Leading the team in goal scoring and overall points is Matt Duchene, but he won't be a factor tonight. He has an injured oblique muscle, and is expected to be out for a little while longer. Paul Stastny is next in points, at 8G and 9A for 17 points. Behind him, three players are tied with 16 points: Gabriel Landeskog (7G / 9A), P.A. Parenteau (7G / 9A) and Ryan O`Reilly (9G / 7A). Considering what was said after the last game, you will also want to watch out for Patrick Bordeleau and Cody McLeod for some fisticuffs. Chris Stewart will be the likeliest target of their cold feelings.

If I look at the #FancyStats for the Avalanche, they show a high even-strength PDO (puck luck), but their possession numbers (5v5 Corsi and Fenwick Percentages) are lower third of the league. With Duchene out, he being one of the better Avs in terms of possession, they can expect even worse numbers, which should affect their PDO and, ultimately, the win/loss column. If they are due for some bad luck, there's no better time than now, I'd say. Also, I'm sure Robb will correct me if I was wrong in that interpretation.

Further Reading

Blues vs Avalanche coverage

Mile High Hockey

Final Verse: We're now on Mountain Time so the opening faceoff is not until 8:00 PM St Louis time. The GameDay Thread should drop just ahead of the puck. The TV broadcast is back on Fox Sports MW, and the radio call will be on KMOX 1120 AM. Until then, consider this the pregame skate. Also, consider what the Colorado postgame crew might have on their mind ...

Mark Rycroft & Kyle Keefe crack up laughing Colorado Avalanche post game (via Fred Murtz)



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