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Avs Look to Build on Positives

by Aaron Lopez / Colorado Avalanche
While it’s always disappointing to begin your season with a notch in the loss column, the Avalanche isn’t stressing about its opening night defeat at the hands of the Boston Bruins.

The game was just the first of 82 in a long season, meaning there’s still plenty of time for fine-tuning. Besides, the Avs showed many positive signs during the game against Boston that it can carry into Sunday’s matchup at Edmonton.

“Obviously there are 81 games left and that’s important. You don’t want to dwell on the loss. It’s frustrating and disappointing because it was the home opener, but onward and upward,” said Ryan Smyth. “We’ve got a good enough team here to rebound. We have a lot of great vets that can help us overcome a situation like that.”

Colorado was able to put the puck on net seemingly at will against the Bruins, scoring four goals while almost doubling Boston’s shot output, 39-20 (including putting 30 shots on Boston netminder Tim Thomas in the first two periods alone).

“I look on the bright side; we did a lot of good things. We put up 20 shots after the first period,” said Ian Laperriere. “We did a lot of good things, but made a few mistakes defensively and they cost us goals. If we play like we did Thursday and do the little things right, we’ll come out on the winning side more than the losing side.”

The team also showed impressive discipline by taking only two minor penalties (compared to five for the Bruins). A season ago, the Avs set a franchise record for the fewest total penalties in a full season with 388 (including bench minors), which also tied Los Angeles for the fewest in the league.

“I think the biggest thing was that we played well within our own games,” said Smyth. “We had our chances, but we need to take full advantage of those opportunities against Edmonton. Having 30-some odd shots is great and explosive for a team that establishes good cycles and works on getting the puck to the net. It’s important that we maintain that throughout the season.”

Foote to Hit 1,000
Sunday’s contest will mark Adam Foote’s 1,000th career NHL game. The milestone is significant, as only 14 active NHL blueliners have hit the 1,000 game mark.

While Foote realizes how great the achievement is, it’s not necessarily a goal that’s been on his mind.

“I’ve been fortunate to be on some teams that have won a lot, so maybe that’s why I didn’t think of it that much,” said Foote. “We were winning games, we won a Cup, and when you win that Stanley Cup you don’t think of too many other things. If you’re looking at a personal goal, it’s a pretty good number to attain.”

Notes: Peter Budaj is scheduled to start in goal Sunday for the Avalanche…Tonight will be Edmonton’s season opener…The Oilers finished 2-2-3 in the preseason…Edmonton defenseman Sheldon Souray, who missed a total of 55 games with a shoulder injury last season after signing a five-year pact with the club in July of 2007, led the Oilers in scoring with four points (2g/2a) during the preseason.
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