Colorado Avalanche Trash the Thrashers for First Place Tie

Anthony BumbacoCorrespondent IMarch 11, 2008

With the Avalanche lineup missing many of its superstar players and a very thin blue line, the Colorado Avalanche offense was able to explode for five goals in a 5-1 route of the lowly Atlanta Thrashers. The Avs were without defensemen Jordan Leopold, Ruslan Salei, Peter Forsberg, and received limited minutes from Adam Foote.

The effort by the Avs began early and the onslaught continued throughout the 60 minutes as they poured on a ferocious forecheck that the Thrashers were unable to answer on this night.

Just 4:47 into the first period, Andrew Brunette open the scoring on a beautiful feed from rookie call-up David Jones, who also contributed a second assist on Joe Sakic's 10th of the season under four minutes later.

Before the end of the first, Colby Armstrong netted his 11th of the season, cutting the Avs lead to 3-1. But before the ice had time to freeze, Milan Hejduk potted his 22nd of the season into a yawning cage on one of many of Atlanta's defensive breakdowns.

This was only a sign of things to come as the Avalance scored two more unanswered goals on starting netminder Johan Hedberg, chasing him from the game after allowing five goals on 23 shots. Brunette fired home his second goal of the game shortly after David Jones netted his first career NHL goal, giving the youngster a three point night.

Once again, Colorado received a tremendous effort from starting goaltender Jose Theodore who turned away 22 of 24 shots taken by the Thrashers; excluding newly acquired winger Erik Christensen's third period of goal that rounded out the evening's scoring.

The victory moves the Avalanche into sixth place in the Western Conference and a tie for the lead in the Northwest division with the Calgary Flames, who have a game in hand.

Next action for Colorado is on Thursday evening as the Avalanche look to remain hot winning seven of their last eight contests when they host the Edmonton Oilers at the Pepsi Centre.

Notes: David Jones recorded his first career NHL goal on a pass from Joe Sakic in the second period.

Adam Foote who did attempt to dress for the Avalanche was only able to play 4:52 seconds before leaving the contest.

Left Winger Ryan Smyth is hoping to return for Thursday night's contest if not this weekend's match-up versus the New Jersey Devils.

Also, defenceman Ruslan Salei's eye injury suffered in a fight with Dallas's Steve Ott has returned to Colorado for further tests.