Avalanche set the tone

Joe who?

OK, let’s not get crazy, but let’s also give fans of the Colorado Avalanche a chance to be a little excited here.

A 2-0 start probably isn’t indicative of how the Avs will fare this season, especially with the team set to play 11 of its next 13 on the road. Still, it’s great to see Craig Anderson kick off his Colorado time by providing the Avs with the kind of goaltending they haven’t seen much of in the post-Patrick Roy era.

Anderson stopped 38 of San Jose’s 40 shots on opening night, which started with the club retiring No. 19 in honor of franchise face Joe Sakic. Another 35 saves versus Vancouver in Game 2 – to earn him his first shutout of the season – and suddenly the Avs and Anderson were on a roll.

But what the Rocky Mountain region should be most invigorated by is the play of rookie center Matt Duchene. Here’s betting that in about three years, a 1-2 pivot punch of Duchene and Paul Stastny will be about as good as it gets outside of Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin.

And we all know where the formula of building a team around two star centers has landed Colorado in the past.   



1 Philadelphia Flyers Ray Emery era begins with the right kind of bang
2 St. Louis Blues Can’t argue with consecutive wins over the Wings, no matter where they came
3 Washington Capitals How much fun is this team to watch?
4 Pittsburgh Penguins Sid shows JT who’s boss by scoring shootout winner over Isles
5 San Jose Sharks Nice three-goal start for Patrick Marleau after being stripped of ‘C’ in the summer
6 Calgary Flames Two wins, but both a little wonkier than new coach Brent Sutter would like
7 Chicago Blackhawks Coach Joel Quenneville should be pro Antti Niemi after his first start, a shutout for the Finn in Finland
8 Boston Bruins Is there any way they don’t win the Northeast?
9 Detroit Red Wings Left Sweden without a single point
10 Colorado Avalanche Nobody should be excited about facing Craig Anderson right now
11 Columbus Blue Jackets Seven of remaining 11 October games are on the road
12 Montreal Canadiens Possibly the most miserable 2-0 start in the history of hockey after losing Markov and O’Byrne long term
13 Vancouver Canucks Roberto Luongo picked up where he left off last spring…which isn’t a good thing.
14 Anaheim Ducks No miracles from Jonas Hiller in Game 1
15 Florida Panthers Got to think Ville Koistinen will remember scoring a shootout-winner in his homeland for a while
16 Nashville Predators Dan Ellis shines in season-opener
17 New York Rangers Good thing they got Brandon Dubinsky under contract; he already has two goals and four points
18 Dallas Stars Wonder what James Neal’s high-end output is; 35 goals, maybe?
19 New Jersey Devils Gave up five goals in opener; are we sure Jacques Lemaire is back?
20 Buffalo Sabres Keep an eye on 6-foot-7 rookie Tyler Myers on the blueline
21 Phoenix Coyotes Take a picture – the Coyotes are tied for top spot in the Pacific Division.
22 Edmonton Oilers Game-losing giveaway in final minute not the debut Nikolai Khabibulin was looking for
23 Minnesota Wild Lost a 2-1 game to start season; are we sure Jacques Lemaire left?
24 Ottawa Senators Kovalev, Michalek and Cheechoo combined for three shots and a minus-4 in the opener on Broadway.
25 Atlanta Thrashers Rich Peverley rewards all the poolies who believe he’s for real with a pair plus an assist against Tampa
26 Carolina Hurricanes Erik Cole shelved up to six weeks with fractured leg
27 Los Angeles Kings Super sophomore Drew Doughty scores two points, but is a minus-2 in opening 6-3 loss to Coyotes
28 Tampa Bay Lightning Really think Steven Stamkos could go for 75 points this year
29 Toronto Maple Leafs Bad start for much-improved blueline
30 New York Islanders Tavares on the board with goal and assist after one NHL game
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The Hockey News ranks the teams 1-30 each Monday based on a combination of last week’s play and a squad’s overall outlook.

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