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Avs Finish Up A Memorable Season

by Aaron Lopez / Colorado Avalanche
As the saying goes, all good things must come to an end.

In this particular instance, the “good thing” was the Colorado Avalanche’s 2009-10 season, which came to a close Saturday night at Pepsi Center with a 5-2 loss to the San Jose Sharks in Game Six of the Western Conference Quarterfinals.

Expectations were low heading into the campaign for a club that finished 15th in the Western Conference with 69 points a year ago. However, this young Avalanche squad was on a mission from day one of training camp to prove all the skeptics wrong.

In the end, the Avalanche enjoyed a 26-point turnaround and gained a berth in the postseason thanks to a number of variables, including, but not limited to, drafting Matt Duchene and Ryan O’Reilly, signing goaltender Craig Anderson, getting significant contributions from a large number of rookies and the leadership of a small but strong group of veterans.

From start to finish, Colorado’s season has been quite a journey and can only be viewed as a resounding success. Most teams that go through a youth movement tend to sit near the bottom of the league standings for a few years, but Colorado’s renaissance took a fraction of that time. The Avalanche contended for the Northwest Division crown for much of the year and gave the No. 1 seed San Jose Sharks all they could handle in the Western Conference Quarterfinals.

"I think something special is in here, because no one quit. You can see that in this game, no one quit," said captain Adam Foote. "We made a few adjustments, it seemed like we had momentum. We just pressed a little bit, we had nothing to lose. They got an odd-man rush, and that was the game. They’ll tell you, they had their hands full."

Obviously, nobody is happy to see the season end, but there’s little doubt that the future is bright in the Mile High City.

Svatos Comes Through
Following today’s morning skate, Avalanche head coach Joe Sacco praised Marek Svatos’ performance in Game Five.

“I thought Marek played well last game. He hit the post one time there early in the game. He had a couple of chances offensively,” said Sacco. “He’s obviously going to help out on the power play too. He’s on one of the power play units and that’s got to be his bread and butter.”

After earning a commendation from his coach, the forward went out and made one of the biggest plays of Game Five.

With the Avs trailing the Sharks, 1-0, in the middle frame, Svatos netted the second goal of his playoff career on a highlight reel effort.

Streaking up the left wing, the Kosice, Slovakia native beat Sharks forward Joe Thornton around the corner and then cut across the crease before putting a low shot past Evgeni Nabokov’s outstretched left pad at the 6:14 mark.

Svatos’ only previous postseason tally was the overtime winner in Game Four of the Western Conference Quarterfinals at Dallas on April 14, 2004.

Clark Gets In
Brett Clark saw his first action of the 2010 Stanley Cup Playoffs tonight, replacing Ryan Wilson on Colorado’s blue line. It marked the 10th career playoff game for Clark, who has appeared in 517 regular season contests over 11 NHL seasons.

All eight of Colorado’s active defenseman saw action in the series, with Kyle Cumiskey, Adam Foote, Scott Hannan, John-Michael Liles and Kyle Quincey playing in all six games, rookie Ryan Wilson skating in four and both Clark and Salei suiting up for one game apiece.
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