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Practice Report: Theodore Still Streaking

by Aaron Lopez / Colorado Avalanche
With all the excitement surrounding the trade deadline acquisitions of Peter Forsberg, Adam Foote and Ruslan Salei, the stellar play of Jose Theodore has almost been overlooked.

The Avalanche netminder has won four straight decisions and five of his last six as Colorado has moved into the seventh playoff position in the Western Conference.

But Theodore’s recent play is much more than simply a hot streak. The Laval, Quebec, native has solidified himself as Colorado’s No. 1 goaltender since the calendar turned to 2008. Since Jan. 5, Theodore has posted a 13-9-1 mark in 23 starts with a 2.11 goals-against average and a .924 save percentage.

Just as impressive, Theodore has allowed two goals or less in 16 of those 23 appearances, including one goal or less on eight occasions.

He again accomplished the latter feat on Tuesday against the Vancouver Canucks, stopping 26-of-27 shots and making several key stops in the waning seconds of the game in a 2-1 Avalanche victory.

“Jose has been giving us a chance to win every night. We’ve been involved in a lot of one-goal games and he’s come up big,” said Avalanche defenseman Jordan Leopold. “He’s played great the last couple of months, but we have to play well in front of him too. Hopefully he keeps it up, because he’s made a big contribution to the team.”

Smyth Update
Avalanche head coach Joel Quenneville gave a brief update on Ryan Smyth’s status following Wednesday’s practice. Smyth was injured during the second period of Saturday’s game against the Los Angeles Kings. Quenneville stated that the forward has been progressing and is much better off than he was a few days ago.

“We’re very encouraged by the progress he’s made to date,” said Quenneville. “He looks good and feels good, but we’re still not cleared to be ratcheting him up on the ice.”

On Tap
The Avalanche looks to extend its winning streak to five games on Thursday when the club hosts the Anaheim Ducks in the third contest of its four-game homestand.

Anaheim has won all three meetings this season, but the Avalanche has come away with points in two of the games – a 2-1 overtime loss on Dec. 19 and a 3-2 shootout setback on Feb. 20 – with both games coming in Anaheim. The Ducks also earned a 2-1 win on Feb. 12 at Pepsi Center.

“We’ve had three disappointing losses against them,” said Quenneville. “At the same time I think the games have been very even and very competitive. We probably expect much the same tomorrow.”
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