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Setting the Tone

by Aaron Lopez / Colorado Avalanche
Avs Down Senators In Overtime

The Avs and Senators met tonight for the first time since Oct. 19, 2006 at Scotiabank Place – a 2-1 Colorado victory. The contest also marked Ottawa’s first trip to Denver since Dec. 12, 2005, when they beat the Avalanche 6-2 at Pepsi Center.

-After playing 21 consecutive games without going to overtime or a shootout, the Avs have needed extra time to decide their last two contests.

-The Avalanche was held scoreless on three power-play chances, snapping the club’s steak of three consecutive games with a power-play tally. Colorado had also scored on the man-advantage in five straight home games prior to tonight’s contest.

-Ryan Smyth’s second period goal gave the forward 10 points (3g/7a) in his last 10 outings.

-Milan Hejduk has also totaled 10 points (6g/4a) in the past 10 games.

-McCormick now has a three-game point streak (0g/4a) in the works, the longest of his career.

Post-Game Video:
They’ve been dazzling offensively, solid in their own end and have set the tone for the Avalanche in the club’s past two games.

While that description might often apply to the combination of Ryan Smyth, Wojtek Wolski and Milan Hejduk, in this case it refers to Colorado’s line of Ian Laperriere, Ben Guite and Cody McCormick.

On Sunday, the trio put on a show in a 6-5 win over the defending Stanley Cup champion Detroit Red Wings, with Laperriere scoring just 16 seconds into the contest off a feed from McCormick and Guite adding his third tally of the season in the third period, with assists going to his linemates.

It was more of the same Tuesday night against the Ottawa Senators, as Colorado’s first tally started with Guite making a feed from the Avs’ defensive zone to McCormick. The winger then put a shot on net from just inside the blue line that was tipped home by Laperriere at the 17:05 mark of the first period.

McCormick nearly set up another Laperriere tally three minutes into the middle frame after stealing the puck from Mike Fisher and sending a feed across the crease to the Avalanche assistant captain. Ottawa netminder Alex Auld was able to recover in time and just got a piece of the attempt with his blocker.

“These points are important," said Laperriere. "They came in 5-0 in their last five games and we had to be ready and we were.”

Over the past two games, the Laperriere-Guite-McCormick line has accounted for nine points (3g/6a).

Go East, Young Man
Tonight’s contest marked the first of seven consecutive games the Avalanche will play against clubs from the Eastern Conference. Colorado will begin a six-game road swing – which matches the club’s longest since moving to Denver – on Friday in Washington. All six games on the trip will be against Eastern Conference clubs, as Carolina, Atlanta, New Jersey, the New York Rangers and New York Islanders are also on tap.

Liles, Tucker Updates
Defenseman John-Michael Liles missed tonight’s game with a wrist injury. Liles did not practice on Monday and will not be with the Avs when they begin their six-game road swing on Friday. The blueliner is listed as out indefinitely, however, Avalanche head coach Tony Granato said that Liles could possibly join the team at the end of the trip.

Forward Darcy Tucker was also held out of tonight’s game. Tucker, who missed Colorado’s contest in Detroit on Sunday due to personal reasons, was back on the ice during Tuesday’s morning skate but did not dress against the Senators.

“He just got back into town. He’s been off the ice for the last four days, I believe,” said Granato. “He’ll be back in there when we get on this road trip.”
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