If you're searching for the Colorado Avalanche in the League standings tables, you may want to save yourself some time and start looking from the bottom up.
Injuries, mediocre goaltending and a lack of scoring depth have conspired to have the Avs possibly headed for their first losing season since moving to Denver. Their power play has been bad, their penalty kill worse, and they've been terrible at five-aside as well. They've been decent at home, but their 10-16-1road record is among the worst in the League and they have never won a game in regulation in Washington (or Maryland) as the Colorado Avalanche. Ever.
If you're thinking right about now that this sounds like a team that will give the Caps some trouble, you're probably right, especially when you consider that as bad as the above sounds, the Avs have played the most one-goal games in the League and have the most one-goal wins (sorry, Jose), so they're playing teams close. They're also coming off of big wins over Detroit (at The Joe) and Ottawa, and have a winning record (6-5-0) against Eastern Conference opponents.
The Avs will be without young stud Paul Stastny (whose dad and uncle once torched the Caps for sixteen points in one game), but that likely won't matter much if Andrew Raycroft can't stop some pucks. Raycroft will be getting his third straight start, presumably on the strength of those two wins and despite giving up seven goals on 67 shots against (I guess Peter Budaj's 0-3-0/3.35/.867 over his last three games isn't exactly an enticing alternative for bench boss Tony Granato at the moment).
Speaking of the Avs' goaltending, their team GAA is up nearly a half a point since they let their number one goaltender walk in free agency last summer. And while reasonable minds might disagree as to whether or not that was a good move by Colorado, that goaltender is looking forward to facing his former club for the first time tonight:
"Look at the position I'm in now and where my game has been for the past two months. I think that pretty much speaks for itself."
It definitely does... but that statement could certainly use an exclamation point tonight.