Talk about injuries, Pens vs. Avs

The Pittsburgh Penguins can’t use the injury bug as an excuse if they lose to Colorado today.

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Pittsburgh Penguins vs. Colorado Avalanche — 3 p.m. @ Pepsi Center

The Avs are equally as bitten by injuries and will have to plug many holes to field a team this afternoon at 3 p.m.

Joe Sakic is out after a freak snow blower injury to his hand and recent back surgery.  Paul Stastny is out with a broken forearm.  Adam Foote is out with an upper arm injury.  And Peter Forsberg is out until probably late in the season, if he even comes back at all.

This matches up to Penguins injuries of Pascal Dupuis, Ruslan Fedotenko, Mike Zigomanis and Sergei Gonchar.  No team has any symathy for the others’ problems and they surely see this game as a huge two points.

The Avalanche have one big problem: they allow far more goals than they score (a nine goal difference).  Normally, that’s not a good equation as far as getting to the playoffs goes.  But don’t look now, the Pens have the same problem.

These teams are very similar as far as their makeup goes.  This game will come down to who just flat-out wants it more.  As far as the recent past tells us, this team won’t be the Penguins.  Colorado is coming off a 2-1 win over the Chicago Blackhawks, on of the hottest teams in the NHL.

With Stastny out the Avs are without their leading scorer — 10 goals + 21 assists = 31 points.  And they are without their big, dominating defensive force in Foote.  These are all positives for the Pens who have had trouble on both ends of the scoring spectrum.

The Penguins will actually have to shut down an opposing power play, something that has been nearly impossible to do lately.  Colorado’s power play and penalty kill are both in the bottom tier of the Western Conference and, you’d hope, the Pens can take advantage of that.

It only get harder after this with games against Philadelphia, Washington and Anaheim.  Maybe that will be what the Pens need.

We can only hope…

Advantages:

Forwards: Penguins.  Stastny out hurts, plus the Avs don’t have the star power the Pens do.

Defense: Avalanche.  Nuf said.

Special Teams: Even.  Both are bad, bad, bad.

Goaltending: Avalanche.

Prediction:

Colorado will win.  The Avs just beat Chicago at home and have won their last two games.  They are maybe starting something special while the Pens are free falling.

Chris | PPT

“IN SHERO WE TRUST”

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