Saturday, December 10, 2005

Game #29 - vs Avalanche

Colorado Avalanche at Pittsburgh Penguins

Colorado - 16-10-3 - 35 pts - Third in Northwest
Pittsburgh - 7-15-6 - 20 pts - Last in Atlantic

First and foremost, Colorado is playing for the third time in four nights. They've won the previous two game, at home against Boston and last night against New Jersey. Last night's game went to a shootout. That's a lot of travelling and a lot of playing. This team should be more tired than the Pens, who have played once since last Sunday. There is absolutely no reason for the Pens to be outworked tonight.

Now that we have that out of the way... Colorado is an offensive juggernaut. They're tied for the second most goals scored in the league, behind only the untouchable Ottawa Senators. Their power play is 4-8 in the last two games. The Pens really need to focus on not taking bad penalties, and to be extremely dilligent in killing the penalties they do take.

The Avalanche also allow a large number of goals (though still over TWENTY fewer than the Pens have allowed so far this year). The PK for the Avalanche is pretty decent, so you'd have to figure that they allow a good number of even strength goals, since they don't even take that many penalties.

Up front, they Avalanche are led by Joe Sakic and Alex Tanguay. They also have Pierre Turgeon and Milan Hejduk. These guys have most of their scoring done at even strength, so expect special teams impact to be a little bit minimized.

On the blue line, Rob Blake is king. He leads the team in minutes and, surprisingly, shots. That's right - a defensemen leads the Avalanche in shots. That means they get the puck to the net with traffic in front. Blake also has a team worst -9 rating, and unlike his teammates, most of his scoring IS done on the power play.

For the Pens, Palffy is out tonight. Leclair should play, and Talbot will probably play as well (he evidentally injured his foot against the Wild). I haven't heard anything on the goalie, but hopefully it will be Fleury.

Let's go Pens!

No comments: