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Three Questions: Nov. 17 at Calgary

by Aaron Lopez / Colorado Avalanche
1. What were the implications of tonight’s game on the standings?

Colorado came into Tuesday night’s game with a one-point edge over Calgary in the Northwest Division (27-26), although the Avs had played two more games than the Flames (20-18). A Calgary win in regulation would have given the Flames the outright division lead. An overtime or shootout victory would have caused a tie, but the Flames would have officially taken the division lead based on having played fewer games.

Fortunately, the Avalanche didn’t have to deal with those semantics, as Colorado earned a 3-2 win in regulation.

Ryan Wilson’s first NHL goal gave the Avs a 1-0 advantage after one period. The Flames took a 2-1 lead on goals by Jarome Iginla and Rene Bourque, but the Avs struck back with a pair of tallies late in the period. Cody McLeod one-timed a Paul Stastny feed at the 18-minute mark of the middle frame, while Milan Hejduk gave Colorado a 3-2 lead with 54 seconds remaining in the period after his centering pass to Darcy Tucker went off the skate of Calgary defenseman Jay Bouwmeester and into the net.

Craig Anderson took things from there, stopping all 11 shots he saw in the third period to seal the victory.
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2. Speaking of Ryan Wilson, what exactly is his story?
Tonight’s game was the 10th NHL game of Wilson’s career, all of which have come this season. He also picked up an assist on Cody McLeod’s goal in the second period, giving him four points (1g/3a) on the year.

Wilson was acquired by Colorado at the March 4 trade deadline last season from Calgary as part of the Jordan Leopold trade (the Avs also received Lawrence Nycholat and a second-round pick in the 2009 NHL Entry Draft, which the club used to select defenseman Stefan Elliott of the Western Hockey League’s Saskatoon Blades).

The 22-year-old Wilson was first recalled from the Lake Erie Monsters on Oct. 12 and has been with the team ever since, as fellow defensemen John-Michael Liles, Tom Preissing and Ruslan Salei have all missed significant time due to injury.

The fact that Wilson has shown some offensive flair early in the season shouldn’t come as a big surprise. During each of his final two seasons in the Ontario Hockey League (2006-07 and 2007-08) Wilson led all league blueliners in points while serving as captain of the Sarnia Sting.

3. Where was Matt Hendricks, and what happened to Adam Foote?
Hendricks, who didn’t practice on Monday, was scratched from tonight’s game due to a groin injury. The forward previously missed five games from Oct. 27-Nov. 4 due to a groin injury. Chris Durno was recalled from the Lake Erie Monsters earlier in the day, but it was T.J. Hensick who filled Hendricks’ spot in the lineup.

As for the Avalanche captain, he suffered a jaw injury in the first period and didn’t return, logging only 5:28 of ice time in nine shifts. As a result, all five of Colorado’s remaining defensemen picked up some extra ice time tonight. Scott Hannan (28:14), Kyle Quincey (26:42) and Brett Clark (24:08) took the majority of the minutes.

Foote’s status for Wednesday’s game in Edmonton is still uncertain. John-Michael Liles is traveling with the team on the road swing, but is still on the injured reserve list. If Liles is not activated for tomorrow’s contest, Tom Preissing may play his second game of the season.
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