Games against the St. Louis Blues have quickly become goal-scoring orgies for the Colorado Avalanche. After a relatively normal 4-1 loss on October 12, the Avalanche have beaten the Blues twice, by a combined score of 15-9. In two games!
The last Avs victory against the Blues, a 9-5 explosion on December 9th, came at the expense of backup goalie Hannu Toivonen. Manny Legace, the talented starter for St. Louis, was sitting out due to injury. Legace has always been an Avalanche-killer, and going into last night's game, he had a 12-1-0 record and 1.85 GAA when facing Colorado.
Finally, the Avs figured him out. In a back-and-forth affair that ended with a 6-4 Avalanche win, Colorado beat Legace five times on just 23 shots. TJ Hensick led off with the opening tally just 5:28 into the first period. He would also score a power play goal one minute into the third.
Other goal-scorers for the Avs were Jaroslav Hlinka, Tyler Arnason and Ben Guite, who scored two of his own. Both Wojtek Wolski and Cody McLeod finished with two assists.
Peter Budaj wasn't quite as strong in net against the Blues as he was the night before against the Red Wings, but this time he got the W while stopping 28 of 32 shots---still not a poor performance, but definitely not superb. Regardless, it was enough for the Avs to get two extremely valuable points from the Blues, who now trail them in the playoff chase by five.
The Avs' next game is Monday night back at home against the surging Phoenix Coyotes, a team that went 9-4-1 in January and is now just two points behind Nashville for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference. They will be tough to beat.
Stars of the Game:
- TJ Hensiiick (2g, 0a)
- Wojtek Wolski (0g, 2a)
- Dan Hinote (1g, 0a)