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This Week In Avalanche Hockey - Oct. 27

by Aaron Lopez / Colorado Avalanche

WEEK OF OCT. 27-NOV. 2
All Times Mountain

Thu, Oct. 28 @ Calgary (7:30 p.m.)
Sat, Oct. 30 vs. Columbus (7:00 p.m.)



They Said It...

“You obviously have your top scorers, but when they aren’t scoring it helps out a lot to have depth like we do. We have a lot of players who can chip in offensively and also some good d-men who can jump up into the play. It’s huge, because it takes a lot of pressure off the top-line guys.”

-Forward Brandon Yip, discussing the Avalanche's scoring depth


Photo of the Week



Stat Of The Week

Milan Hejduk is currently tied with Joe Sakic for the most career points at Pepsi Center.  Hejduk has 344 points (170g/174a) in 377 regular season games in the Avs’ home rink, while Joe Sakic had 344 points (119g/225a) in 297 games at Pepsi Center.  Hejduk’s 170 goals are already an arena record.




Avalanche All-Access


This week on Avalanche All Access, we head to the Capital Grille in downtown Denver, as Kyle Keefe and Kyle Cumiskey have a cook-off of epic proportions.  We also check in on the yearly Avalanche Charity Golf Tournament, and Peter McNab talk about the significance of the “Hockey Fights Cancer” program.  Mike Haynes also chats with head coach Joe Sacco, and we look back at last week’s highlights.

I. THE STORYLINE
The Avalanche has a light schedule this week, and that might be a welcome sign for a club that has experienced both a heavy workload and a few injuries early in the season. After playing nine games within the first 20 days of the season, the Avs have just two contests over the next eight days.

II. WHAT’S ON TAP
The Avs continue their quick jaunt through Canada with a game against the Calgary Flames on Thursday. If you’re a person who likes to bet, a safe wager for the final score would be 3-2. The Avalanche won the season series against the Flames last year, going 4-2. Of those six contests, the first five ended in 3-2 final scores. The final meeting of the season wasn’t much different, as the Flames claimed a 2-1 victory on April 2 at Pepsi Center.

Colorado’s only other game this week will be a home contest Saturday against the Columbus Blue Jackets. The Avalanche holds a 27-7-1-1 advantage in the all-time series, including a 15-3-0 mark in 18 games at Pepsi Center. Colorado swept the four-game season series a year ago, outscoring Columbus by a 16-to-7 margin in the process.

III. NEWS OF THE WEEK
Recently, most of the hype surrounding the Avalanche has been focused on the NHL record John-Michael Liles recently set for consecutive games with an assist to start a season by a defenseman. Liles broke the record on Tuesday night in Vancouver, gaining an assist on Daniel Winnik’s goal to make it nine straight games with a helper. The blueliner is one of three NHL players to record a point in each of their club’s games so far, joining Boston’s Nathan Horton and Vancouver’s Daniel Sedin.

Somewhat quietly, forward Chris Stewart’s early play has been almost as impressive.

The power forward currently leads the club with five goals and is tied with Liles for the team lead with 11 points (5g/6a).

“He’s off to a good start, especially statistically,” Avalanche head coach Joe Sacco said prior to the start of his team’s two-game road trip. “He’s put the puck in the net for us and has done a lot of good things offensively for us. His development curve has been headed in the right direction since day one when he joined the organization.”

Stewart recorded an assist Tuesday night on Matt Duchene’s goal late in the third period, extending his own impressive point streak to six games (4g/5a). He also leads the club in game-winning goals (2) and power-play goals (2-tie) while ranking second in penalty minutes (21) and third in shots on goal (29).

“I’ve been lucky enough to coach Stewy since his first year in the minors and now I have him here for the second year,” added Sacco. “I’ve been able to see how he’s matured as a player over the years. The biggest thing that Stewy did was get himself in really good shape during the offseason. He’s given himself a chance to be the type of player that we expect from him.”

IV. IN CASE YOU MISSED IT
ColoradoAvalanche.com posted a number of photo galleries last week, with many of them being centered around the club’s Hockey Fights Cancer initiatives.

-The Avalanche’s mascot, Bernie, made a visit to HealthONE’s Rose Medical Center on Wednesday. That same day, Avalanche forwards David Jones and Cody McLeod visited patients at HealthONE’s The Medical Center of Aurora.

-On Thursday, the Avs hosted their Hockey Fights Cancer game, during which players wore decals on their helmets and the Avalanche’s coaches and broadcasters sported lavender ties to support the cause.

-Speaking of Bernie, the mascot celebrated his first birthday with a one-year checkup at The Children’s Museum of Denver.

-Finally, Craig Anderson and strength coach Robert McLean hosted a Team Fit event at the Denver Botanic Gardens at Chatfield Corn Maze

-Anderson also took home “Avalanche Play of the Week” honors in one of the closest battles in the history of the competition.

-Colorado and Los Angeles staged the NHL’s first-ever Twitter Hashtag Battle last week. See the results here.

V. AROUND THE LEAGUE
-As always, NHL.com posted the top goals, hits and saves from the past week.

-Adam Kimelman composed an interesting article about a dilemma that a handful of NHL teams are currently facing – one the Avalanche had to broach a season ago. Do you keep your talented teenagers on your roster all season, or do you send them back to their junior teams to delay the start of their entry-level contracts?

-The NHL and NHLPA will auction autographed Reflections 2010 photo books to benefit Hockey Fights Cancer. The book chronicles highlights from the first decade of the 21st century and provides candid, behind-the-scenes images.

VI. ODDS AND ENDS
-Avalanche fans will have two great ticket deals available to them on Saturday when Colorado hosts the Columbus Blue Jackets at Pepsi Center. One is the first Arby’s Faceoff 4-Pack of the season, where fans can get 4 tickets, 4 regular roast beef sandwiches, 4 small curly fries, 4 medium Pepsis and a $10 Altitude Authentics gift card for only $99. The second is a KYGO Puck Pack deal, with two tickets, two Pepsis and a $10 Altitude Authentics gift card for $98.50.


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