The Avalanche take on the Red Wings at the Joe tonight. FSN feed tonight, Ken Daniels and Mickey Redmond.
To me, this game boils down to two simple questions. Will Budaj rebound from his long layoff and tough outing on Wednesday? And will the Avalanche offense be able to score against a team that is substantially better than the Blackhawks? (My guess is the answer to those questions is yes and no, respectively). Budaj will face Dominik Hasek.
Oh, and Mick McGeough is referring, which is always good for a chuckle or six.
20:00 The 4th line starts tonight, but they jump off almost immediately to be replaced by the McLinka line.
19:03 Kurt Sauer was activated today, but is not dressed tonight.
17:58 Budaj gets handcuffed on a long shot and Samuelsson has a wide open net as a result, but thankfully bangs it off the post.
17:45 Finger goes to the box...in other not great news, they are reviewing the post shot above. No goal, but it was damn close.
17:17 Budaj is not off to a good start – he flips a puck into the corner, and it goes right over the glass. 5 on 3 for a minute and a half. He needs to settle himself down.
16:54 Rafalski's one timer rattles off the post.
16:00 4 minutes in, and we have yet to see the Arnason line. The Hensick line was out for one shift.
15:18 Both penalties are killed off. The Red Wings are looking sharp, though.
14:52 And here’s the Arnason line, finally. Watch out, Hasek!
11:29 McCormick gets dumped by a big check from Kopecky
11:08 Finger turns it over at the blueline breaking Hudler and Kopecky 2 on 1. Kopecky fans on the one timer.
9:52 Three times tonight an Avalanche forward has skated to the right wing corner and then fired a hard centering pass to a guy charging for the net. It hasn't connected yet…
8:14 The Avs are going on the PP. Filppula off for hooking.
8:01 Same first unit as Tuesday – Hejduk at center again.
5:58 This may shock you, but our PP failed to generate anything.
5:26 The Avalanche take a terrible line change while the Red Wings are going in 3 on 2. Thankfully, Kopecky passes instead of taking a shot when he had a lane.
1:50 Redmond says that Colorado is "hanging on by their bootstraps" and he's 100% correct. It's 0-0, but the Avalanche are barely in it at this point. Our passing is atrocious tonight.
1:09 McLeod gives Lebda a hard hit in the corner after Lebda touches up for icing. I know he's trying to fire up the team, but that's a dick move in my opinion. That's how people get injured.
:44 Guite and Holmstrom get their elbows up on each other as a whistle is blowing (Lappy, for interference). Redmond magically notices just Guite's elbow, not Holmstrom. Holmstrom is so good, his elbows are invisible to Detroit broadcasters!
Holmstrom and Finger trade some blows with their sticks as play expires. Again, Holmstrom is invisible to Redmond. In other news, 14-3 shot advantage for the Wings. Budaj has rebounded nicely and has kept the team in the game. The Avs can't keep stinking like this, though, and expect to win this game.
18:29 Lilja goes off for a cross check. His glare at the ref is rather intense. "He wouldn't have broken a spider web with that crosscheck" according to the impartial Redmond.
17:49 How bad does your powerplay have to be ice the puck? Colorado bad.
16:08 A fight between Downey and McCormick. It's over before the cameras cut to them. Both guys have a lot to say after the brief fight (they get roughing minors). Daniels and Redmond both exhibit their cluelessness after. Daniels is shocked that the Avs are fighting with Parker scratched (because, you know, he's the only guy with the fighting majors). Redmond explains that McCormick had it coming as he's been running at Red Wing players all night. Wrong Cody, Mickey.
13:54 Downey and Finger have some words after the whistle. Not quite "Blood Feud" territory here, but the aggression level is rising.
13:09 The Avs have zero shots on net this period and just 3 in the game.
10:45 Beauty of a save by Budaj, robbing Datsyuk. Hey, this backup we have is rather nifty!
10:33 The first Colorado shot of the 2nd period. 20-4 shot advantage for Detroit.
3:06 Lappy and Chelios get involved in some pushing and shoving. Guite comes in late and hits Samuelsson, which gets him a trip to the box.
2:15 Gorgeous skate save by Budaj. Looks like I was dead right with my assessment at the start of this (he's good, our offense isn't).
1:38 That "clap your hands" song that's all the rage in all the rinks drives me absofuckinglutely insane. I'd rather here the Macarena.
:08 The Avs score, but it gets waved off. As the shot is going in, Lebda knocks Hannan into Hasek. That's rough. Not only did Lebda knock Hannan, but Hannan seemed to be doing everything he could to avoid the contact. That's a crappy call and an unfortunate break.
It's 0-0 after two. The Avs are playing as defensive hockey as any team could ever play. 23-4 Is the shot advantage.
18:16 If this were the playoffs, it would be an exciting game. It's not the playoffs, though, and the result is a rather dull affair.
17:00 Another post. Lidstrom.
16:45 Nice pokecheck by Skrastins on Datsyuk. I'm not sure he had to go down to the ice to do it, but whatever.
12:53 The Avs are aiming for the fewest shots in franchise history. 9 is the franchise low (in 1981). We're at 7 so far. 3 this period, though, so we're cruising!
10:46 The Avs will get a powerplay. Hooking on Lilja. A goal here would be superific. Heck, a shot on the PP would be a cool thing.
10:15 The Avs almost got a shot there, but Lile's backhand went off a leg in front.
9:32 Solid defensive play by Liles to break up a shorthanded chance by Franzen.
8:12 We didn't score. We looked better on this one, at least.
6:02 I think Redmond may be insane. To illustrate Lidstrom's greatness, he shows a replay of him missing a pokecheck on Liles and then attempting to hook him to recover. It's super impressive because…get this…Lidstrom can hook with just ONE HAND! Amazing. Look, Lidstrom is aces, but that may have been the worst evidence to his greatness ever presented.
4:55 "Look at [Holmstrom] taking a beating." This is what Redmond says after Finger pushes at Holmstrom…after Holmstrom almost knocked over Budaj in the crease.
4:02 3 on 1 Detroit. Budaj saves it with his shoulder. That saved the game right there.
2:21 Well, we were so close. Zetterberg finally gets one past Budaj. Hannan lets Zetterberg get behind him on the goal line. Zetterberg gets the puck, circles unmolested around the net, and banks it off of Leopolds stick in for what surely will be the winning goal. So close.
1:09 Budaj is out. Who will get the empty netter?
Detroit wins 2-0. They deserved it without question, but it would have been terrific to see Budaj get us to OT. Quenneville played for a tie, and almost pulled it off, but we come up short.