The Avs strike back

5 games ago the Avs went into Columbus and put up the most frustrating game of the season. Here's what I wrote after the game:
So Q has whittled his pass from the rest of the season to 5 more games, no small feat. Really the avs need to go 4-1 or win 5 straight (I'll even take 3-2 with a good effort in both losses) in the next 5 to gain anyones confidence. I think a true measure of someone's ability is how they react when they are down and the Avs are down, and this is really a test to prove himself.
Since the Columbus debacle they have gone 4-1, with their only loss to Columbus where the Avs still played well, but Theo did not. It's hard to blame Q for having Theo in there, because he had started the previous 2 games and played pretty well in both of them. I also stated what every Avs fan has been saying all season, he needed to pick a starter and stick with him, he needed to hold consistent lines, and he needed to bench Arny.

Well he was more consistent with lines, shuffling a lot less and keeping together lines that are good even after some slow games. Arnason has been sidelined with injuries, and I'm not a doctor but it's entirely possible he has been diagnosed with "sucky defensive hockey". Either way he was playing very poorly before getting hurt, you could actually point to plays and say "wow that goal was all Arnason's fault." It's not often you can do that with players not named Theodore.

More importantly than Arnason being benched injured has been consistency on the top line. The Smyth-Stastny-Hejduk line has been together for the last 5 games, even after the two where they didn't score much (@ Columbus 0 points, @ Nashville 1 point). Yet they were still skating together in last nights win. Hell they have been playing so well it prompted a Nickname-that-line thread at Mile High Hockey

He has actually been better with goaltenders too. Even though he didn't name Budaj as the Starter, Theo played exceptionally well against Philly, in fact he was fantastic. In the next game against St. Louis he wasn't all that great, but Q gave him another chance against the Blue Jackets. When he sucked it up there (2 games in a row) he was benched in favor of Budaj. Buds has now played in 2 straight and has been spectacular in both. No doubt he'll be starting again in LA on Monday.

More importantly than all of this is the Avs have played well in all 5 games since the Columbus Debacle. The reason that loss was so frustrating was because it capped off a long stretch of misery for the Avs where they seemed to lose every night (ok they had lost 8 of 12). It's hard to see a turnaround of that magnitude and not credit the coaching staff some. While the goalie rotation is still frustrating, it's evening out some even and the line combinations are leveling out as well. More importantly the team is playing well. We'll make another judgment in 5 games.

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