The silver lining in tonight's loss is that Liles set a new NHL record for an
points assist streak by a defenseman to begin a season when he notched the 2nd assist on Winnik's goal. It must be his new pretty hair.
Budaj was the scheduled starter, but Anderson went down with a knee injury in warm-ups (no, Ballard was not involved as he was out with an injury of his own), so Budaj was the ONLY option. Had he been hurt in the game, the Avs could have put any player in goal they wanted. I wish no harm to Budaj, but I kinda would have liked to witness that scenario. As of this recap, no official word on the extent of Andy's injury.
To the game: the Avs and 'Nucks traded goals in the first. David Jones netted his 3rd of the season, courtesy a smart pass by Hejduk in the neutral zone. Hejduk's helper freed up Jones who utilized his speed and blew past both Vancouver defenders before beating Luongo with a quick wrist shot. A little later, the freak passing on the Sedin twins evened things up after both brothers made perfect touch passes to Tambellini, who threw the puck up and over a sliding Budaj. If you put a trash can on the right side of Henrik Sedin, it would score 30 goals. Both teams then traded chances, good cycles, and powerplays but the first ended tied at 1. Budaj was sharp stopping 15 of the 16 shots he faced.
In the second period, the Canucks found thenselves on the receiving end of a weird bounce that sent a dump-in right back out onto the stick of Henrik Sedin. The evil twin made a good move to get Budaj down, but he couldn't corral the puck to stuff it home. The Avs quickly transitioned that odd sequence the other way on a 2-on-1 with Radar O'Reilly making a very mature play. He waited for Winnik to drive the lone defenseman to the opposite side of the net and then placed a perfectly timed fake slapshot/pass right into the tangled mess driving to the net, with Winnik tapping the puck home. Beautiful play. Winnink is doing his best to make us forget...who was that....oh ya, Hendricks.
Daniel Sedin scored a goal on a powerplay minutes later, but it was waived off because the ref had blown the play dead. Thanks zebra! It didn't really matter because later on the same powerplay Ryan Kesler was the beneficiary of another friendly bounce off a point shot that hit a body in front and dropped right at his feet. 2-2.
Later, Stastny almost scored from his knees, but Loungo was pushed into the net and the puck was hiding under him somewhere. Stastny's first line would draw a penalty minutes later with some good old fashioned hard work down low. The Avs had some quality chances on the subsequent PP, but Luongo stopped them all.
Things opened up a bit in the third before, eventually, the Canucks pinned the Avs down in their zone. Hannan blocked a shot and was limping on the ice, which led to Budaj getting beat on a screened slap shot. 3-2 Vancouver. Budaj then made a fantastic save on another freakish Sedin passing play that found Daniel creep right in front and miss on a great scoring chance.
Later, Stastny went down after taking a vicious errant elbow on the forecheck. I shit my pants and shed some tears as SoS lay motionless on the ice for several minutes (no penalty), fearing another concussion for our beloved team. Luckily, Peter's son is a badass and Paul returned to the ice minutes later. The Avs had a bunch of players go down with nasty looking injuries, all to return (besides Anderson). This night could have been much worse than it was.
After a Vancouver timeout, Sacco pulled Budaj with under two minutes to play with the face off coming in the Vancouver zone. The extra attacker paid off as Duchene buried a cross ice pass from Hejduk to tie it up with 1:33 to play. Quincey almost put the Avs ahead when his slapper hit two Vancouver bodies before clanging off the cross bar with seconds to go. But it was Peter Budaj who made the save of the game after an unlucky turn-over let Malhotra in all alone on Budaj, but the Slovakian netminder shut the door - with 5 seconds left.
28 seconds into OT, Mason Raymond chipped the puck off Holos' stick and right past a surprised Budaj. Lame. The Avs played well and fought hard to earn their loser point tonight.
- Wilson was mack trucking fools all over the ice tonight. His perfectly timed hitting might just keep teams honest. I want teams to have to warn each other about our #44.
- Hannan returned from his head injury last game (puck to the head).
- The Canucks wore their white away jerseys because they were doing their ring of honor thing. They also had no names on their jerseys. That is really helpful when you're doing a recap. Thanks Vancouver!
- According to Mike Haynes, Chris Stewart made a save when he took a shot on Luongo in the third. Yes folks, Chris Stewart is THAT good.
The jaunt into Western Canada continues as the Avs take on Alex Tangauy and his Flames: Thursday, 7:30 MDT, at the Scotiabank Saddledome.