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Wednesday March 31, 2010 12:52 am

Youthful Avalanche trying to turn around misfortunes

Posted by Adrien Griffin Categories: Athletes, NHL, Playoffs,

T.J. GaliardiThe Colorado Avalanche have got young and got good. After missing the playoffs last season and not advancing past the second round since 2002, the Avs are in the final stages of a rebuild and may squeeze themselves into the playoffs, currently holding on to the eighth and final spot in the Western Conference, but they do have some breathing room between them and Calgary. They’re also only five points back of third place, so things are still very much up in the air for Colorado.

The Avs’ young movement has been lead by rookies Matt Duchene and T.J. Galiardi. The pair has combined for 36 goals and 89 points. Duchene’s 23 goals and 52 points both lead all rookies, while Galiardi is fifth on the rookie points list. They, Tyler Myers in Buffalo and Peter Regin in Ottawa are the only rookies who are plus-six or better out of the top 15 on that same list. They’re not just playing for their futures in Colorado; they’re playing for each other as well.

In net, 28-year old Craig Anderson has taken the reigns from goaltenders past and recorded 36 wins in 66 games. He has a .919 save percentage and 2.60 GAA. He’s second in the league in shutouts, blanking opponents seven times this year. He also leads all goalies with 16 penalty minutes. Since debuting with Chicago in the 2002-03 season, he’s never seen playoff action. If he can continue his breakout season playing at an elite level, he’ll not only make the playoffs, he’ll likely find himself in the second and maybe the third round.

While it’s not as important for Colorado to move up in the standings as it is to not fall off the board, they probably don’t want to face San Jose in the first round. The Sharks are on a the same roll we’re used to seeing from them at this time of year, and the young Avalanche team might find themselves proverbial victims of their own mascot against San Jose. A great series would put them against another young and exciting team in Chicago. A battle of the kids would be a great storyline to begin the playoffs.



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