I've criticized Peter Budaj this season. This post will not do that. Instead, I'll say that last night was one of the better games I've seen in awhile and definitely one of Peter Budaj's best performances in the NHL.
He out-dueled Roberto Luongo, the hottest goaltender in the league who entered the night with a three-game shutout streak.
He made glove save, pad saves, toe saves, stick saves - you name it. The only goal was scored on a penalty shot. That means he has now let in 0 goals during regular play in the last two games. Not bad.
He won the shootout by making terrific saves against Kyle Wellwood and Taylor Pyatt.
He played a great game. Lets hope he can remain consistent.
On the scoring front, it took the Avs until an early third-period power play to break through the wall that is Luongo. Originally credited to Paul Stastny, the NHL has now given the goal to Marek Svatos, crediting Stastny and Wolski with assists.
The last ten minutes was so intense. End-to-end action. The ice seemed tilted in the first period (towards Vancouver's end) and also in the second period (towards Colorad's end) but the third period seemed to balance out as it went along. Both goalies had to be spectacular to get his team a point. Luongo actually had to make a huge glove save on Wolski (thanks to a beautiful pass from Wolski) with about 1.9 seconds to go. Classic.
In the shootout, Wojtek Wolski pulled the old Peter Forsberg move while Marek Svatos, the last shooter for the Avs, netted one top shelf to give Colorado the victory 2-1.
Some other notes...
Ben Guite reportedly has broken ribs. That's not what we needed to hear after Tyler Arnason was finally a scratch. Speaking of Arnason, he played just over 8 minutes and finished with his usual 0, 0, 0 line.
Joe Sakic didn't make the trip with the team, but according to Mike Haynes on the telecast, he might join them later on. Sakic has until Saturday to figure out if he'll be good to go or not.
John-Michael Liles was paired with Brett Clark in what seemed like a smart move for Granato. That switch helped free Adam Foote to play with Scott Hannan. Those two will be the shut down pair while Liles and Clark will be expected to provide some offense from the point.
Three Stars of the Game
1. Peter Budaj (31 saves in a remarkable performance)
2. Marek Svatos (Goal in regulation, goal in shootout - doesn't get much better)
3. Ruslan Salei (Terrific on defense, as were all the defensemen)
Edmonton, Saturday, 10 PM EST. The Avs will try to climb back to a .500 record while Peter Budaj will look to make it three great performances in a row.
The conclusion to the best game of the 08-09 season thus far: