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Avalanche's Top Line Clicking

by Aaron Lopez / Colorado Avalanche
You can point to many different factors that have contributed to Colorado’s 2-0 start to the 2009-10 campaign.

Netminder Craig Anderson has been stellar in goal, stopping 73 of the 75 shots he’s faced (a .973 save percentage), including a 35-save shutout on Saturday against the Vancouver Canucks. For his efforts, he was named the NHL’s Second Star of the Week on Monday.

The team also received an emotional boost on opening night against the San Jose Sharks after watching Joe Sakic’s No. 19 go up to the rafters in a pre-game ceremony.

In addition, Colorado has obtained contributions across the board in defeating San Jose and Vancouver, a pair of teams thought by many to be among the league’s elite this season. Through two contests, seven players on the Avalanche have recorded two or more points, including defensemen John-Michael Liles (1g/1a), Kyle Quincey (0g/2a) and Brett Clark (0g/2a).

Overall, 12 of the 18 players who have skated for the Avalanche in 2009-10 have recorded a point.

But perhaps most important to the Avalanche’s success has been the top line of Wojtek Wolski (3g/1a), Paul Stastny (1g/3a) and Milan Hejduk (0g/3a), which has combined for 11 points through the first two contests.

In Colorado’s season-opening 5-2 win over San Jose, Wolski scored twice, while Stastny had two assists and Hejduk added another. Two nights later against the Canucks, Wolski opened the game’s scoring with his third goal of the season (assisted by his two linemates). Stastny chipped in a goal in the second period from Hejduk, while Wolski picked up his first helper of the season on Darcy Tucker’s power-play goal in the final frame.

“They seem to be feeding off each other pretty well,” said Avalanche head coach Joe Sacco. “Paul and Milan are very good hockey players and make good plays out there. Wojtek is getting to the right areas of the ice.”

Practice Updates
Not a lot has changed with Sacco’s line combinations. At today’s practice, the Wolski-Stastny-Hejduk line was still together, as was the Cody McLeod-Matt Duchene-Marek Svatos line. Today, Tucker, T.J. Galiardi and T.J. Hensick skated together while wearing white sweaters. Meanwhile, Matt Hendricks, Ryan O’Reilly, Chris Stewart and David Koci were all in burgundy jerseys.

David Jones (chest) skated alone before practice today.

“Really nothing new to report, except that he’s skating on his own before the guys come out,” said Sacco. “We’re just hoping he can come back as quickly as possible.”

Road Trip
The Avalanche will have two more practices (Tuesday and Wednesday) before opening their longest road swing of the season on Thursday in Nashville. All told, the Avalanche will play its next seven games on the road, and will return to Pepsi Center for back-to-back games against Carolina and Detroit on Oct. 23-24.
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