April 17, 2008, 06:43 PM
The story of the 2007-2008 Colorado Avalanche is one of trials, tribulations and, ultimately, hard-won success. Injuries are one plot line, but just as intriguing is how this team went from a finesse team with one enforcer (Scott Parker) and a single mucker (Ian Laperreire) to a physical team that can play down low and cycle the puck against almost any defense in the league. Chalk that miraculous transformation up to the additions of farm call-ups like Jeff Finger, David Jones and Cody McCloud and trade deadline acquisitions like Ruslan Salei and Adam Foote. Even Peter Forseberg is playing the kind of tough, physical hockey (full of sneaky pokes, prods and slashes) that aggravates opponents and gets them to commit 111 minutes worth of penalties on 26 infractions in a single blow-out game.

And it is that added physical dimension that has these Avalanche looking so good against a team that won the division and the regular season series. I cannot recall how I envisioned this series working out before it started, but with four games in the books the Avs do not look like they will lose another one. Games Two and Three were lost predominantly by virtue of tired play on the part of Colorado???s top lines come the third period and overtime. I assure you that Joel Quenneville will not let that happen again, as he rotated the bottom two lines in as often as the top two even before last night???s game was out of reach. Those third and fourth lines match up better defensively against the Wild anyway, and have had more than their share of scoring chances and goals in this series. The Colorado Avalanche are playing inspired, team hockey from the top of the roster to the bottom, and Jose Theodore has been quick, confident, and consistent in goal. The Marathon continues???

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