After containing Sheldon Souray so well throughout the game, the Avs let him get off a last second shot that hit off Dustin Penner's skates and went weakly through Budaj's five-hole. Just like that, the Avs are 0-2.
It's not time to panic by any means. Who thought the Avs were going 81-1 this season? No, there will be more losses like this one and the Avs will eventually score one of these last second goals at some point this season. It's part of hockey.
That being said, allow my semi-assault on Peter Budaj to (somewhat) continue. The guy actually played pretty well. He made some key saves to hold the promising Edmonton offense to just two goals for over 59 minutes. Two of the goals (including the game-winner) could be considered flukes. Though, now that we've seen 3 or 4 flukes in just two games, they really need to stop. Budaj needs to start tightening his game or else the Avs are going to be constantly playing from behind as they have been in the first two games. The shakiness we see could just be early-season rust, it's just ashame that the Avs aren't 2-0 right now.
Edmonton coach Craig McTavish said it best,
"That's not the way we drew it up, for sure," Oilers head coach Craig MacTavish said. "It's nice to be able to win a game when you don't have your best stuff. We were fortunate to win but we will take it. The reason we won the game was our goalie outplayed their goalie and when that happens you can get away with a stinker."The question is, will Budaj be capable of stealing games for the Avs this season? He's never proved that he could do that over a full season in the past. Hopefully he can make 08-09 his year.
NHL Game Recap
If you want to look for another weakeness, it clearly comes when the Avs are playing in their own zone. They still do a mediocre defending the backdoor on the penalty kill and they have an unbelievable hard time clearing the puck when the other team is forechecking. There are even times when the defenseman will wrap it around the boards to a forward, the forward will wait for the puck to roll to him, and the opposition will beat the Av to the puck. It's frustrating and has become painfully obvious that the Avs are an easy club to get chances on.
Adam Foote played in his 1000th game last night. Foote's family was, as a surprise to #52, in the audience for the game.
Milan Hejduk scored his second goal of the season on a penalty shot while Joe Sakic scored his first goal as a 39-year-old.
Cody McLeod actually seemed to learn how to fight. He took on Steve Staios and connected with a few rights before falling on top of him. The nice thing about Laperriere and McLeod is that they actually try to punch, instead of simply grabbing the jersey.
For the second straight game, the Avs outshot their opponent by a wide margin. This time, it was 33-19. That doesn't include four posts that were hit in the game. I'm not sure if that includes the Sakic's waived off goal either.
On the Arnason front, #39 was a fairly impressive even, with two penalty minutes and one shot on goal. His wingers, Svatos and Tucker, haven't done much either. Maybe it's time to change the center? No? Ok.
Three Stars of the Game
1. Joe Sakic (A goal, a waived off goal, and at 39, he was fourth on the team in ice time)
2. Scott Hannan (One assist, helped create the Sakic goal by jumping into the play)
3. Milan Hejduk (Playing well defensively, continuing to create offensively)
The Avs travel to Calgary to take on the Flames. Game time is 9:30 PM ET tomorrow night. The Flames were my choice during the Avalanche Roundtable to be Colorado's new rival. Will we see the first taste of that tomorrow?
To build your confidence in Peter Budaj...