I guess my 4-2 prediction wasn't so far off. Right away I have to say Craig Anderson was dominant. He was absolutely phenomenal, especially during the Sharks 5 on 3 power play. 38 saves on 40 shots made him the well deserved 1st star of the game.
I thought the team played excellent...for two periods. The flood gates really opened in the 3rd (out shot 19-1), but Anderson held the fort.
- Matt Duchene and Ryan O'Reilly both got their 1st NHL points tonight, and both were strong defensively. Duchene had some good offensive chances (and a screen that led to the Liles goal); it'll only be a matter of time before he gets his first NHL goal.
O'Reilly didn't stand out as much to me. I thought he was pretty good on the PK, but even then he was out shined by his partner T.J. Galiardi. One game is a small sample size, and we'll have to see how he does the next 2-8 games to see if he warrants staying in the NHL this season.
- I could really see Matt Hendricks becoming a key part of the team as things move forward. His positioning was great, and he stood out to me every time he was on the ice.
- Kyle Quincey brought exactly what I thought he would to the table. Many Avalanche fans complained when management traded Smyth for him...well, I didn't hear any complaining tonight! Clearly the team's best defenseman tonight, but I think Liles also had a great game.
- I must give credit where credit is due. Darcy "Darby" Tucker had a great game - even if you don't count the goal. I would go as far as to say tonight was his best night in an Avalanche jersey, and I for one am glad. He was always a quality player in Toronto, and he was god awful last year. Hopefully this game will be a turning point in his work ethic.
- Wolski looked good because he was finally driving the net. Hopefully he'll finally start to fulfill his potential this season. Then again, he's scored a goal on opening night every season of his career.
- I agree with the decision to bench a healthy Salei in favor of Cumiskey (even though he was pretty mediocre tonight). The Avs are rebuilding, and the choice is between a 22 year old or a 34 year old. Hmm.
As for Joe Sakic's ceremony- it was done well...except all those wrinkles in the banner. Like...really? Shouldn't they have made sure it was ironed or something?
Next game is Saturday at 1 pm MDT (3 pm EST). I don't expect another win (3-1 loss), but hopefully I'm proved wrong.
Also, my 100th career blog is the one you just read. Because you care.