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Stastny Sizzles In Victory Over Florida

by Aaron Lopez / Colorado Avalanche
Somewhat quietly, Avalanche assistant captain Paul Stastny has been one of the Avalanche’s most consistent performers since the NHL resumed play following the Olympic break.

That shouldn’t come as much of a surprise, as it’s the way Stastny typically goes about his business.

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Oftentimes, you might not come away from an Avalanche game ranting and raving about how well Stastny played until you look at the box score the next morning and realize he recorded an assist or two, won the majority of his faceoffs and finished with a plus rating.

One of the most understated young stars in the league, sometimes it may take repeat viewings to fully appreciate Stastny’s complete body of work. With few exceptions, the fourth-year pro brings a consistent – if not flashy - effort each night, makes things happen offensively and is more than responsible in his defensive zone. Sneakily dependable, rarely does he jump out with an eye-popping performance.

Thursday night against Florida was one of those exceptions, as Stastny netted Colorado’s first two goals in a 3-0 victory over the Panthers.

The Quebec City native opened the game’s scoring by knocking home the rebound of a Brett Clark point shot at 4:59 of the second period. He made it 2-0 just over 10 minutes later by burying a cross-crease pass from Chris Stewart while the Avalanche was on a power play.

“We played a patient game and a smart game,” said Stastny. “If we’re going to win 1-0 with defense and not give up too many chances we’ll take that any day instead of trying to score a lot of goals and not playing defense.”

Since returning from Vancouver with a silver medal in-hand, Stastny has recorded a point in each of the Avalanche’s six games, totaling 10 points (2g/8a) during that span. He has already tied his career high with 50 assists – a total that places him sixth in the league following Colorado’s game on Thursday – and leads the Avalanche with 64 points overall.

Porter Makes Avalanche Debut
While fans in Denver have seen what Peter Mueller is capable of providing on the ice, the other player acquired with him in a trade deadline deal with Phoenix also cracked the Avalanche’s lineup tonight.

Kevin Porter, a former Hobey Baker Memorial Award winner at the University of Michigan, was recalled from the Lake Erie Monsters of the American Hockey League on Wednesday and made his Colorado debut against the Florida Panthers.

“He gives us an extra guy to help us kill penalties. He’s got good speed,” said Avalanche head coach Joe Sacco.

According to Sacco, another reason Porter was inserted into the lineup was to help provide an offensive spark to Ryan O’Reilly’s line. While Sacco admits the main job of O’Reilly’s line isn’t to score goals, he would still like to see that unit chip in a little more offensively.

“The job of that line is to play with energy and it has to be responsible defensively, but we would like to see a little bit of offense from that line,” said Sacco. “Hopefully Kevin can provide some of that offense for us.”

Porter, who turns 24 years old tomorrow, skated mostly on a line with O’Reilly and Matt Hendricks and finished with two shots on goal in 14:52 of ice time.
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