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This Week In Avalanche Hockey - Dec. 22

by Aaron Lopez / Colorado Avalanche

WEEK OF DEC. 22-28
All Times Mountain

Thu, Dec. 23 vs. Minnesota (7:00 p.m.)
Mon, Dec. 27 vs. Detroit (7:00 p.m.)



They Said It...

 “Everyone always talks about confidence, and it is the truth. You need it, and if you have that swagger you’re able to make those plays. If you make a mistake you know you’re going to go out there the next shift and make the right play. Sometimes in Montreal that eluded me for whatever reason.”

-Ryan O'Byrne, prior to facing his former club, the Montreal Canadiens


Photo of the Week



Stat Of The Week

All 30 teams will be off both Friday and Saturday for the NHL's annual holiday break. There have been no games on Christmas Eve since 1972 (when three were played) and none on Christmas Day since 1971 (when six were played).    



Avalanche All-Access

This week on Avalanche All Access, we join the Avs players and coaches at The Children’s Hospital as they make their yearly visit to lift the patients’ spirits during the holiday season.  Also, Kyle Keefe sits down with Ryan O’Reilly, who talks about his childhood growing up with a large family, including foster children.  Plus, Mike Haynes chats with head coach Joe Sacco, and Peter McNab talks about the disappearance of home-ice advantage in hockey.

I. THE STORYLINE
Due in part to the holiday break, the Avalanche will play only two games this week. Contests against the Minnesota Wild (Thursday) and Detroit Red Wings (Monday) will wrap up the first of three separate five-game homestands that Colorado has within a span of 45 days.

II. WHAT’S ON TAP
The Avalanche returns to action with a Northwest Division game against the Wild on Thursday. It will be the first divisional matchup for Colorado since Nov. 27, which also came against the Wild at Pepsi Center and ended in a 7-4 Avalanche victory. Colorado holds a 2-4-1 record against the Northwest Division this season.

On Monday the Red Wings will come to town for the first time in 2010-11. Colorado and Detroit have met up twice at Joe Louis Arena this season, with the Avs earning a 5-4 shootout victory on Oct. 12 and the Wings winning by a 3-1 count on Nov. 13.

III. NEWS OF THE WEEK
You’d be hard pressed to have a better week than the one Avalanche forwards Matt Duchene and Tomas Fleischmann just experienced.

The pair each recorded a League-leading seven points (4g/3a) and came through in the clutch to help Colorado pull out four victories within seven days. On Monday, Duchene was named the NHL’s First Star of the Week, while Fleischmann earned Second Star of the Week honors.

Duchene scored twice, including the game-winner, and added an assist during a 7-5 victory over Chicago on Dec. 13. After netting two assists during a 4-3 win over the Blackhawks last Wednesday, Duchene added another pair of goals in a 6-5 triumph over Ottawa on Friday night. One of those tallies was the overtime winner – the first of his NHL career.

Fleischmann’s highlights included a three-point effort (1g/2a) in the final 2:24 of Monday’s game against Chicago and a hat trick during the third period of Wednesday’s rematch at the United Center.  The forward was the first player in Avalanche history to score three goals in the third period.

“They’ve been rewarded for their efforts,” said Avalanche head coach Joe Sacco. “They’ve picked up their game too. When we’ve had some guys out, they’ve stepped up their games and helped our team through some tough situations here. It’s a nice reward for those guys.”

IV. IN CASE YOU MISSED IT
-If you missed our coverage of the Avalanche’s annual holiday visit to The Children’s Hospital, you can view a photo gallery from the event here and watch a video of the Avs spreading holiday cheer here.

-In the latest Avalanche Mailbag, Matt Duchene discusses the “Duchene Curve,” Greg Maudlin talks about the key to his speed and David Jones tells a story about how he was told he was “too small” to play junior hockey.

-Avalanche prospect Tyson Barrie earned a roster spot on Team Canada’s entry for the 2011 IIHF World Junior Championship. This week’s Farm Report also put Barrie under the spotlight.

-Playing against his former team for the first time, Avalanche defenseman Ryan O’Byrne had one of his typical solid, under-the-radar performances during Sunday’s victory over Montreal.

-Finally, defenseman Kyle Quincey will be sidelined for the remainder of the season due to a shoulder injury.

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

-NHL Network will broadcast exclusive live coverage of Team USA at the 2011 IIHF World Junior Championship in Buffalo, N.Y. The network will televise all medal-round games and five additional preliminary-round match-ups, airing a total of 15 games in high-definition.

-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.

-This year’s NHL Winter Classic will be bigger and better than ever.

VI. ODDS AND ENDS
-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.

-The next Avalanche Family Night will take place on Thursday, Dec. 23 when the Minnesota Wild invades Pepsi Center. Get 4 Tickets, 4 Pepsis and 4 Family Meals for just $99!

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