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Avalanche Strong in Starting 2-0

by Aaron Lopez / Colorado Avalanche
If the first couple games of the season are any indication of what’s to come, Wojtek Wolski, Paul Stastny and Darcy Tucker should be in for solid years. The same could be said for Craig Anderson.

Wolski scored his third goal of the 2009-10 campaign and added an assist and Stastny also had a two-point night (1g/1a), while Tucker netted a goal in his second straight game as the Colorado Avalanche improved to 2-0 with a 3-0 win over the Vancouver Canucks on Saturday afternoon at Pepsi Center.

Anderson made several spectacular stops among his 35 saves, including a pad save on Daniel Sedin midway through the third period while playing without his stick. The victory was the second in as many starts for Anderson, and his first shutout with the Avalanche.

“I just don’t think too much. I just read and react,” said Anderson. “They had a lot of chances where they tried going back door and it just missed and they could have easily had 2 or 3 goals that way. We were just lucky that they did not connect on some of those plays. Our guys did a good job of cleaning up the rebounds.”

Although the Canucks spent the majority of the first period controlling the puck in Colorado’s zone, it was the Avs that struck first on Wolski’s tally at 14:52.

The goal was Wolski’s third of the season, with each of them coming right around the crease. The left wing has noted that he’s been working on getting to the front of the net and stopping, putting him in position for rebounds and tap-ins.

“We seem to just throw pucks to the net and it seems to be working really well right now,” said Wolski. “We seem to have a lot of energy now up front with all the young guys. We are happy with how everything is working out.”

Some hard work by Ryan O’Reilly eventually led to a Stastny power-play goal in the second period. At the 5:15 mark of the middle frame, O’Reilly won a battle with Sergei Shirokov in the left corner and proceeded to take the puck to the net, where he put a backhand attempt on Roberto Luongo. The netminder made the stop, but O’Reilly drew a penalty on the play.

On the ensuing faceoff, Stastny won the draw back to Quincey, who passed it off to Hejduk. The winger faked a shot, then made a hard pass to Stastny, who redirected the puck past Luongo from low in the right circle at 15:17 to make it a 2-0 contest.

Tucker made it 3-0 with a power-play goal at 5:23 of the final stanza. The Castor, Alberta native, who netted the Avalanche’s first goal of the season on a tip-in Thursday night against San Jose, cleaned up a rebound attempt by chipping the puck over a prone Luongo.

Bernie Makes Debut
During the first intermission of tonight’s game against the Canucks, the Avalanche unveiled its new mascot, a St. Bernard named Bernie.

Bernie made a grand entrance Saturday afternoon during his debut, rappelling from the catwalk at Pepsi Center onto the ice.

From there, Bernie proceeded to toss t-shirts into the stands before mingling with the fans in attendance.

For more information on Bernie, including his bio, vitals and favorite things, visit

Penalty Killing
The Avalanche killed off all three of Vancouver’s power play attempts, two nights after going 5-for-6 against San Jose.

Matt Duchene drew a large roar from the crowd for his penalty-killing prowess late in the second period. With Adam Foote in the box for tripping, Duchene killed off approximately 15-20 seconds of the penalty singlehandedly by controlling the puck even after being knocked down to his knees.

To watch video clips of Duchene and O’Reilly on the penalty kill from Thursday night’s season opener against San Jose, see Friday’s practice report.

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