I think we've all had "special friends" that metaphorically resembled the Colorado-Edmonton game last night - maybe not all that great to look at, but damn if they weren't a hell of a lot of fun in the sack. That's right: last night's game was a fuck buddy. It was a bit awkward to watch, but it was a ton of fun and was rewarding for both parties. Last-place Edmonton had to be satisfied to collect a point, while showing signs of breaking out of their dismal season-long PP slump (the Avs are great cures for an ailing PP). Meanwhile, Colorado again found themselves behind in the game, and again found a way to dig deep and pull out a win.
The Avs now have 4 more points than they did through 15 games last season, and that strong start has propelled them to a 1st-place tie with Minnesota (whom they play twice in the next four games). While the Avalanche are scoring at about the same pace as last season (just one goal less than last year), they have allowed 8 less goals to this point. At this pace, they'll cut their GA to 224 this year (down from 247) - a 9% drop. Peter Budaj (last night's winner) and Jose Theodore have been solid this year, and the defense is generally playing well in front of them.
Budaj and his Edmonton counterpart, Dwayne Roloson, looked shaky to start the game last night. The game resembled a tennis match with all the back and forth action, and neither goalie seemed ready to handle the crazy action. By the end of the first, the Oilers led 3-2 and Budaj seemed just one goal away from the Joel Quenneville Yank Machine. Both goalies settled down substantially in the 2nd period and, despite some occasionally furious action in both ends, only 1 more goal was scored in the final 45 minutes. Thankfully, that goal was from Ian Laperriere - his second of the game - and it knotted things up and giving Colorado the chance to win it in the shootout (the Avs are 3-0 in OT and shootouts this year).
My rants and rambles on the game can be found here.
Lines and Stuff
Line report and shift chart should be up this evening. No major changes from the last game.
- Lappy's 2-goal game was - by my count - the 9th multi-goal game between these teams in the last 2 seasons. And it's actually his second. The other multi-goal scorers are Sykora (twice), Smyth (twice - obviously both times for the Oilers), Arnason, Svatos and Brunette. Brunette is the only one to get a hat trick, although Lappy came damn close several times.
- As Brad pointed out in the comments of the game notes, Brett Clark had a whopping 28:43, which is at least a high for this and last season. Not bad for a guy who got hit in the face with a puck during the game.
- 28 minutes is a lot for the balanced approach the Avs take. Meanwhile, the pencil-thin Oilers had three defensemen - Staois, Tarnstrom and Gilbert - with 28 or more minutes
The Avs 5-game home stand (thanks js) is over (they were a solid 4-1). They travel to Vancouver to play the Canucks on Friday before hosting the Wild on Sunday. The Canucks and Wild are the only two teams the Avs have lost to since October 19th (8 games) .