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This Week In Avalanche Hockey - Dec. 15

by Aaron Lopez / Colorado Avalanche

WEEK OF DEC. 15-21
All Times Mountain

Wed, Dec. 15 @ Chicago (6:30 p.m.)
Fri, Dec. 17 vs. Ottawa (7:00 p.m.)
Sun, Dec. 19 vs. Montreal (6:00 p.m.)
Tue, Dec. 21 vs. Los Angeles (7:30 p.m.)



They Said It...

 “It’s a whirlwind. When you get a few goals at the end like that – three goals in the last two and a half minutes – it was huge for us. It’s great to gut one out like that.”

-Matt Duchene after Colorado’s crazy 7-5 comeback win against Chicago on Monday


Photo of the Week



Stat Of The Week

Sidney Crosby will look to extend his point streak to 20 games when the Penguins face the Rangers on Wednesday.  Since the 2004-05 lockout, only two players have recorded points in 20 or more consecutive games, Dany Heatley (22) in 2005-06 and Paul Stastny (20) in 2006-07.    



Avalanche All-Access

This week on Avalanche All Access, Kyle Keefe and Julie Browman are hanging out at the Brown Palace Hotel, where they’re checking out everything the hotel has to offer for the holidays.  Also, Julie hangs out with Avalanche defenseman Kyle Quincey, who shows her his extensive music collection.  Plus, Mike Haynes chats with head coach Joe Sacco, and Peter McNab evaluates the first third of the season in his “McNab Minute.”

I. THE STORYLINE
The Avs start the week on the road, but they shouldn’t become too accustomed to sleeping in hotel rooms. Colorado will spend the majority of the next month and a half at Pepsi Center, playing 15 of its next 20 games in Denver. That stretch includes three different five-game homestands.

II. WHAT’S ON TAP
Colorado begins the week by playing the back end of a home-and home series with the Chicago Blackhawks on Wednesday at the United Center. In the first game of that series, held Monday at Pepsi Center, Colorado rallied from a late deficit and scored three times in the final 2:24 of the game to earn a dramatic 7-5 win.

The Avalanche then begins a five-game, 11-day homestand with a Friday night contest against the Ottawa Senators. While the standings are constantly changing at this point in the season, the Senators rank ninth in the Eastern Conference through Tuesday’s games with 29 points (13-16-3), but sit seven points behind eighth-place Tampa Bay.

Colorado will play its first Sunday game of the season this weekend (one of five overall) when the club hosts the Montreal Canadiens. These two teams squared off once last season, with the Avs earning a 3-2 win on Oct. 15. Through Tuesday, Montreal holds the top spot in the Northeast Division with 38 points (18-10-2).

After two games against Eastern Conference opponents, the Avs get back into Western Conference competition on Tuesday with a game against the Los Angeles Kings. It will be the second of four meetings between Colorado and Los Angeles this year, with the first ending in a 6-4 Kings victory on Oct. 23 at Pepsi Center.

III. NEWS OF THE WEEK
Even with four of its top wingers out of action, the Avalanche has continued to light up the scoreboard at an impressive rate.

T.J. Galiardi is currently traveling with the team, but hasn’t played since Nov. 9, while Chris Stewart has missed seven games so far with a fractured hand he sustained on Nov. 27. Add in Milan Hejduk (who has sat out the past two games due to an injured groin) and Peter Mueller (yet to play this season due to a concussion) and you can clearly see that Colorado is missing a lot of firepower up front.

Even so, Colorado currently leads the Western Conference and is tied for the NHL lead with 108 goals scored. The Philadelphia Flyers (3.34 goals-per-game) have also put up 108 goals, but have played two more games than the Avalanche (3.53 GPG).

Just over a third of the way through the season, the Avalanche has received goals from 20 different players and boasts 10 players who have scored at least five goals for the club.

IV. IN CASE YOU MISSED IT
-Although the tradition started at the end of the 2009-10 season, the so-called “Bang Bang Dance” that Matt Duchene and Paul Stastny do after victories has gained an incredible amount of exposure recently. The origins of the dance were explained in the Dec. 2 Avalanche Mailbag. Click here to watch Duchene and Stastny celebrate following Monday’s win against Chicago.

-Although the group has gone through many changes this season – including the additions of Matt Hunwick and Ryan O’Byrne via trade and the emergence of rookie Kevin Shattenkirk – Colorado’s defensive unit has somehow managed to maintain its cohesiveness.

-Forward Daniel Winnik is the latest player to be highlighted in ColoradoAvalanche.com’s “Five Quick Questions” feature. What is the worst job Winnik has ever had? If he could be on any reality TV show, which would he chose? Click here to read the winger’s answers.

-This week’s Farm Report details the strong recent play of North Dakota forward Brad Malone. Just hours after the piece was posted, Malone was named the WCHA’s Offensive Player of the Week. Also on the prospect front, University of Minnesota goaltender Kent Patterson was named the WCHA's Co-Defensive Player of the Week.

V. AROUND THE LEAGUE
-Be sure to check out the NHL’s tops goals, hits and saves from the past week.

-There’s still time to cast your vote and help your favorite Avalanche players gain a roster spot at the 2011 NHL All-Star Game. Click here to vote for the Avs, and here for the latest results from NHL.com.

-Sidney Crosby, Alex Ovechkin and Jeremy Roenick will be guests on the Dec. 20 edition of “The Price Is Right.” The trio will introduce an NHL-themed showcase that includes a trip to Pittsburgh for the highly anticipated 2011 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic, played outdoors at Heinz Field on New Year's Day.

VI. ODDS AND ENDS
-On Sunday night, the Avalanche Alumni Association will honor current assistant coach and former Avs defenseman Sylvain Lefebvre. Lefebvre will be recognized during a pre-game event that will include a ceremonial puck drop. All fans in attendance at Sunday’s game will receive a free Sylvain Lefebvre poster from renowned painter Stephen Holland.

-Don’t miss out on your chance to get four great games for one low price, a free Avalanche scarf and an autographed puck signed by Matt Duchene, John-Michael Liles or Chris Stewart. That’s what you’ll receive with the Avalanche Holiday Pack.

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