The NHL season has been under way for nearly a month, and the Colorado Avalanche are showing no signs of slowing down.
With Tuesday's 3-0 win against the host Edmonton Oilers, Joe Sacco's club now has the most points in the League (20). While some who live outside the Denver area might be surprised by the 9-1-2 start, the players in the Avs' locker room certainly are not.
At least not anymore.
"We don't really care about that perception," Sacco said when asked if he believes teams around the NHL feel the Avs are for real. "I do think that teams are starting to realize that when you play us, you know you have to be ready. We just try to take care of our own business."
Wojtek Wolski scored a pair of goals to increase his team lead to seven, and Craig Anderson stopped all 25 shots he faced for his ninth victory of the season. He didn't have to wait very long to play with a lead, as Milan Hejduk beat Nikolai Khabibulin just 25 seconds into the game courtesy of a turnover by Shawn Horcoff.
"I think overall it was a great team effort," Anderson said. "We didn't give them all that much and whatever we did, I was able to see and make the save and the guys were there to clean up the rebound. For the most part, we took the play to them and kept the puck in their zone."
The score remained 1-0 until Wolski scored his first of the night at 9:34 of the third period, as he deked Khabibulin before sliding the puck across the goal line. Wolski then put the game out of reach with 1:47 remaining when he was awarded a goal after pulled down by Taylor Chorney while skating towards an empty net.
"I've been very fortunate to get the opportunities offensively," Wolski said. "Playing with Paul (Stastny) and Milan, we seem to just be clicking right now and that creates a lot of offense. It's a lot easier to get points."
Sacco was awfully pleased with Wolski's performance -- and he'd like to see more of them.
"He played very well tonight," Sacco said of Wolski. "That's the type of game that he can play when he's going. He certainly showed why he can be the player that we all know he can be tonight."
Edmonton, meanwhile, has lost three straight and hasn't scored in seven periods. The loss dropped the Oilers to 6-5-1. They were also blanked in a 2-0 loss to Vancouver on Sunday night.
"We've got to play better if we intend to be a top team," forward Sam Gagner said. "Tonight we didn't even show up for the first period. We should be embarrassed to get shut out two games in a row."
-- Brian Compton, NHL.com
Material from wire services and broadcast media was used in this report
|Milan Hejduk (5) ASST: Scott Hannan (4)|
1 - 0 COL
|Wojtek Wolski (6) ASST: Milan Hejduk (6), Paul Stastny (7)|
2 - 0 COL
|EN - Wojtek Wolski (7) ASST: Paul Stastny (8), Adam Foote (1)|
3 - 0 COL
|Power Play %||20.4%||20.2%|
|% on Road||12.8%||20.5%|
|% at Home||29.3%||20.0%|
|David Koci Roughing against Zack Stortini|
|Zack Stortini Roughing against David Koci|
|Ladislav Smid Hooking against Milan Hejduk|
|Ales Hemsky Hooking against Paul Stastny|
|Chris Durno Cross checking against Gilbert Brule|
|TJ Galiardi Cross checking against Mike Comrie|
|Sam Gagner Roughing against TJ Galiardi|
|TJ Galiardi Roughing against Sam Gagner|
|Ryan O'Reilly Hooking against Andrew Cogliano|