Swedish for­ward Carl Soder­berg hits his stride as Colorado ex­tends its hot streak.

For­ward’s con­tri­bu­tion since Dec. giv­ing team big boost

The Denver Post - - SPORTS - By Terry Frei Terry Frei: tfrei@den­ver­post.com or @TFrei

The ques­tion to Carl Soder­berg on Satur­day night in Dal­las be­gan with the ob­ser­va­tion that “you’re” on a roll. His an­swer, re­fer­ring to the Avalanche’s suc­cess dat­ing back to the first of De­cem­ber, as­sumed that the “you” meant the Avalanche, not him.

“I think we’re play­ing pretty good right now,” he said. “We want that to keep go­ing."

Yes, the Avalanche is 17-7-2 in that stretch.

But he was told the ques­tion ac­tu­ally was in­tended to be about the quiet Swede who led Colorado in scor­ing dur­ing De­cem­ber, has con­tin­ued to play well (if un­flashily) and had just scored his 10th goal of the sea­son — and his first short-handed — as the Avalanche beat Dal­las and ran its win­ning streak to four.

“Oh, me,” Soder­berg re­sponded. “Aw, I’m play­ing pretty good. I play my game. I find my game.”

Soder­berg has been cen­ter­ing Blake Comeau and Gabe Lan­deskog, who also had a short­handed goal against the Stars. That came with Soder­berg serv­ing the se­cond two min­utes of the dou­ble-mi­nor he drew for in­ad­ver­tently high-stick­ing the Stars’ Ja­son De­mers as De­mers got the Stars’ only goal.

With 10 goals and 34 points, he now is third on the Avalanche in scor­ing, be­hind Matt Duch­ene (40) and Nathan MacKin­non (39), and just ahead of Lan­deskog (33).

Dur­ing Soder­berg’s slow start — at least sta­tis­ti­cally — it wasn’t out of line to won­der if the Avalanche had over­rated him when it ac­quired his rights from Bos­ton just be­fore he could have be­come an un­re­stricted free agent and signed him to a five-year, $23.75 mil­lion deal.

It was a pre-emp­tive strike, an­tic­i­pat­ing an im­mi­nent trade of Ryan O’Reilly, who ended up go­ing to Buf­falo and sign­ing a sev­enyear, $52.5 mil­lion ex­ten­sion. The year be­fore, the Avalanche had lost Paul Stastny as an un­re­stricted free agent, and the ac­qui­si­tion and sign­ing of Soder­berg sum­moned com­par­isons of the three as heady for­wards whose con­tri­bu­tions went be­yond num­bers.

Colorado’s 80.4 per­cent penalty-killing now is 19th in the league, and Soder­berg does sig­nif­i­cant work there.

Foot­notes. The Avalanche re­turned to Den­ver af­ter the game Satur­day night, had Sun­day com­pletely off and is ex­pected to prac­tice Mon­day morn­ing be­fore leav­ing for San Jose. Colorado’s fi­nal two games be­fore the all-star break are Tues­day against the Sharks and Wed­nes­day at Los An­ge­les. … For­ward Jack Skille, who slid and slammed into the end boards, suf­fer­ing a back in­jury in the first pe­riod against the Stars and didn’t re­turn, was walk­ing around after­ward and didn’t ap­pear to be se­ri­ously hurt.

With 10 goals and 34 points, Colorado’s Carl Soder­berg is third on the team in scor­ing, be­hind Matt Duch­ene (40) and Nathan MacKin­non (39). AAron On­tiveroz, The Den­ver Post

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