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Yip Continues To Evolve

by Aaron Lopez / Colorado Avalanche
The evolution of first-year forward Brandon Yip continued Monday night, as the 6-foot-1 rookie netted a pair of goals during the Avalanche’s 5-2 win over the St. Louis Blues at Pepsi Center.

Yip has been a revelation since making his NHL debut on Dec. 19 vs. Columbus. The very definition of a power forward – a winger who plays with grit, finishes every check and can also put the puck in the net - the Boston University product’s production has exceeded most people’s expectations.

Tonight, Yip first tallied at 16:42 of the opening frame by knocking home the rebound of a Kyle Cumiskey blast while Colorado was on a power play. He would add his second tally of the evening during the middle stanza. After gaining control of his own rebound, Yip worked a nice give-and-go with Wojtek Wolski before beating Chris Mason with a wrist shot to the netminder’s blocker side.

Yip had a handful of additional chances after scoring his second goal, but could not complete the hat trick. The last three-goal game by an Avalanche player came from Milan Hejduk on Dec. 9, 2007 against St. Louis.

“I’m still learning a lot everyday. The older guys do a great job of teaching all of us young guys,” said Yip. “I’ve just been keeping it simple and I’ve been lucky to play with some great players.”

In 22 games with the Avalanche, Yip has now produced 18 points (11g/7a), including four power-play tallies.

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O’Reilly Sits
Avalanche rookie Ryan O’Reilly missed his first game as a professional tonight. Following Monday’s morning skate, Avalanche head coach Joe Sacco told the media that O’Reilly was suffering from a foot ailment.

“He’s got a bruised foot,” said Sacco. “We’ll just re-evaluate him again tomorrow morning and see how he presents.”

Sacco added that X-rays on O’Reilly’s foot came back negative. After playing in each of the club’s first 57 games during his rookie campaign, O’Reilly is officially listed as day-to-day.

Five players have now skated in all 58 games for the Avalanche: Matt Duchene, Scott Hannan, Kyle Quincey, Paul Stastny and Wojtek Wolski.

Koci Sidelined
Forward David Koci engaged in a fight with St. Louis’ DJ King in the first period during what turned out to be his only shift of the evening. During the scrap, Koci suffered a hand injury and did not return to the game thereafter.

Anderson Down But Not Out
Colorado had a bit of a scare in the second period when goaltender Craig Anderson appeared to be struck in the collarbone on a shot by Blues forward Andy McDonald. After being tended to for a few minutes, Anderson bounced back up and completed the game, finishing with 32 saves for his 29th victory of the season.

Both Brett Clark and Wojtek Wolski were also sidelined for a short time late in the second period after blocking shots on the same penalty kill. After briefly heading to the dressing room, each player returned before the conclusion of the middle frame.

Chris Stewart recorded a “Gordie Howe Hat Trick” by scoring his 18th goal of the season, adding two assists and also squaring off with B.J. Crombeen during the second period…Stewart’s three points tied his career high…Yip recorded his third multi-goal effort in 22 games…The Avs improved to 8-0 on Mondays this season…With an assist tonight, defenseman Ryan Wilson now owns a career-best three-game point streak.
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