photo courtesy Avalanche.com
Andrew Brunette may not be fast, nor particularly young, but he knows where to be on the ice, and he knows how to put the biscuit in the basket.
Off a feed from Czech playmaking whiz Jaroslav Hlinka, Brunette scored the game-winning goal at 14:59 into the third period, leading the Avalanche to their fourth victory in the pre-season and an undefeated-in-regulation overall record of 4-0-2.
Also scoring for the Avs were Tyler Arnason in the first period and Joe Sakic (assisted by Brunette, who had two points) in the second. The Avalanche outshot the Phoenix Coyotes 26 to 21, but only won 40% of the face-offs in the game. Typical Avs.
Peter Budaj had another solid outing in net with 24 saves. He and Tyler Weiman have both had excellent performances during the pre-season, and despite losing two games in overtime (Weiman on a shootout), the pair has looked steady and capable. Jose Theodore is still a no-go despite a serious rehab effort from knee surgery.
With his one point (an assist) in yesterday's final pre-season game, Paul Stastny finished as the team leader in scoring with five goals and four assists. Hlinka finished as the team leader in assists with seven. The final roster cuts should be made early this week as Coach Q makes the hard decision on who gets to stay and who gets sent to Cleveland to play with the Lake Erie Monsters in the AHL.
The regular season finally begins on Wednesday against the Dallas Stars at the Pepsi Center. That game will be nationally televised on Versus.
Remember, the first Mile High Hockey game thread will be posted that day, so be sure to comment heavily! I'll be watching the game and typing away, so don't let me get lonely!