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Stastny Nears Milestone In Avalanche Win

by Aaron Lopez / Colorado Avalanche
Avalanche assistant captain Paul Stastny had a hand in Colorado’s first two goals during Thursday’s 4-3 shootout victory over the Edmonton Oilers, drawing the primary assist on T.J. Galiardi’s tally 3:22 into the contest and then scoring one of his own at the 12:01 mark of the opening frame on a shot from the low slot.

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The points were significant because they helped the fifth-year center inch one step closer to a milestone. With his two points tonight, Stastny now has 299 points (97g/202a) in 310 career games. With his next point, he will become the third player from the 2005 Draft class to reach 300 points. Currently, only Sidney Crosby (571 points) and Anze Kopitar (325 points heading into Thursday’s game against Philadelphia) have accomplished the feat. Stastny would become the 11th player in Avalanche/Nordiques history to reach the 300-point plateau.

The Avalanche dominated in the faceoff circle Thursday, which proved to be a key area in Colorado’s victory. The Avs held a 43-25 advantage in the faceoff department, thanks in large part to Stastny winning 20 of the 28 faceoffs he took (71.4%). The center also had five shots on goal and a +1 plus/minus rating on the night.

Dupuis Hurt, Liles Okay, McLeod Out Again
Avalanche forward Philippe Dupuis was injured on his first shift of the game tonight when he collided with teammate Daniel Winnik near the Avalanche’s offensive blue line. After the collision, Dupuis got back up and began backpedaling as Colorado transitioned to defense, but he appeared wobbly and stumbled again almost immediately. The forward was attended to briefly before heading to the Avalanche’s locker room 4:23 into the opening period. Dupuis didn’t return to the game thereafter.

The Avalanche also played a portion of the game with five defensemen after John-Michael Liles was injured with 7:13 remaining in the second period and the Avs leading, 3-1. While the Oilers were applying heavy pressure around Colorado goaltender Craig Anderson, Ales Hemsky threw a pass across the crease to Andrew Cogliano. Liles tried to move to his left to cover the Oilers forward, but he fell to the ice and ended up blocking Cogliano’s attempt with his face. Though painful, the defenseman’s play proved to be crucial because Cogliano had a wide-open net on the play.  Liles was bloodied, but returned for the beginning of the third period.

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In other injury news, Cody McLeod missed tonight’s game due to a groin injury. The winger had previously missed three consecutive games due to an injured groin from Dec. 19-23, but returned for Colorado’s contest against the Detroit Red Wings on Monday. However, McLeod played only 5:48 in that game and didn’t practice Tuesday or Wednesday. He is considered day-to-day with the injury.

Game Notes
Craig Anderson made the 200th appearance of his career and picked up his 85th NHL victory…Tonight’s game marked Colorado’s fourth straight road win, the team’s longest streak of the season…Galiardi’s goal was his fourth in six games since returning from a 17-game injury absence on Dec. 17…Overall, Galiardi has five points (4g/1a) in his last six games.
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