Friday, October 10, 2008

Avs Drop Opener 5-4

A question of whether or not your team has a solid starting goaltender is easily answered. Just ask yourself this: Does he make me believe that he's going to stop every shot? If that answer is yes, then you have a Roberto Luongo, a Martin Brodeur, or an Evgeni Nabokov. If that answer is no, then you most likely have a Martin Gerber, Andrew Raycroft, or Peter Budaj.

Wait a second, the Avs have two of those guys.

True, all five goals can't be blamed on Budaj. Krejci's goal with two minutes left that broke the 2-2 tie was more a result of a fluke play than any flaw in Budaj's game. It can be argued that Michael Ryder's goal should be blamed on the defenseman that didn't pick up his man in front of the goal instead of Budaj's inability to record a save percentage above .750 on opening night. And yes, "Boods" did make a very nice save on Patrice Bergeron's shorthanded breakaway in the third period.

But come on, he was pretty bad. 3 saves on 5 shots in the first period - one which the Avs dominated from start to finish. Budaj deserves some time before Avalanche fans begin to call for his head, but the Avs, who outshot the Bruins 39-20, would have won this game if the goaltending had been halfway decent.

Even with several defensive breakdowns and obvious problems in goal, the Avalanche offense looked pretty decent. Here are some highlights:

Hejduk, Wolski, McLeod, and Leopold score the first four goals of the Avalanche season. McLeod has already exceeded expectations for this season. Hopefully, this is just the start of great years for Hejduk and Wolski.

Sakic looked good. He lead all Avs with a TOI of 22:36 and assisted on McLeod's goal. Super Joe was robbed by Tim Thomas from tying the game at five in the dying seconds.

Tim Thomas stopped 35 shots, including a late flurry in the last 10 seconds. He even caught sight of Joe Sakic in the scrum, causing even more trepidation.

"I know from watching him over the years that he can go anywhere from five-hole to off the crossbar," Thomas said. "I was trying to be ready for anything."
NHL Game Recap

On the Tyler Arnason front, he had one shot and was a -1. Hensick was sent down in favor of this guy?

Ryan Smyth needs to stop taking slap shots every time he enters the attacking zone. I'd like to see him try to create something other than an offensive zone draw.

Granato really went to work on the offense. The power play looked good, especially since they were unleashing shots from the point. Hejduk's first period goal came on the PP while Wolski's goal came just after a Bruin left the box. Overall, I'm happy with the adjustments the coach has made.

Three Stars of the Game
The Three Stars indicate who I think the top three Avs were in each game. Remember, it's just an opinion.

1. Milan Hejduk (Goal, assist, Hejduk tied Sakic for most shots with 7)
2. John-Michael Liles (Two points, has finally decided to shoot from the point)
3. Joe Sakic (At 39, he's still the hardest working player on the ice)

Next Up

The Avs take the ice for the second time this season Sunday Night at 8 PM EST when they'll take on the Edmonton Oilers.

Video Fix

A little bit of that exhilarating Def Leppard concert last night. You be the judge... - Best Sports Blogs, Sports Blogger Rankings


Jibblescribbits said...

sorry to be nitpicky today... but Krejci's goal broke a 4-4 tie.

And I don't think it can all be pinned on goaltending. Budaj was bad, but the defense was pretty bad (at least on the goals). They really missed the Boston players who were trailing the play.

Geoff Rosenthal said...

Thanks, I'm being sloppy for some reason. At least I got the two minutes part right.

I agree that it can't all be pinned on goaltending, but he should have had at least two or three of them. Even if he had just gotten one, it would have been a different hockey game.

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