Game notes from tonight's game. Recap will be out tomorrow.
20:00 31 vs 31 – Pascal Leclaire vs Peter Budaj
19:56 Wolski starts with Sakic and Brunette. If I had done a game preview, I would have predicted that…but I didn't, so now I just look like an idiot.
18:40 I've seen Finger and Skrastins out there. Leopold is out, and Cumiskey has been called up. Not sure at this point if Cumiskey made the lineup over Sauer, but I'm guessing Sauer. Last year, when Cumiskey and also Guite got called up, both spent their first game as a scratch.
18:09 Avs go on a powerplay.
17:34 Hlinka seems to have some jump. He blows past Adam Foote on the way to the net, and Foote has no play but to take a hooking penalty. Avs go on a 5 on 3.
17:01 Ryan Smyth is in the crease on the powerplay. Obviously, someone's been reading this stupid blog.
16:36 Smyth gets a great chance in front of the net. Leclaire makes a great stop. The ref goes up onto the back of the net to watch the play.
15:29 Hlinka looks like game 1 Hlinka so far tonight.
15:10 The Avs don't score on the PP, but do look good (6 shots).
14:51 Ben Guite is a healthy scratch, for Scott Parker. I'm ok with Parker getting to play…but why Guite got scratched over Wyatt Smith I have no answer for.
13:53 Score! The Avs take a 1-0 lead, just minutes after Leclaire sets Columbus' shutout streak (he notched a shutout in the first two games of the season). The goal is an odd one, with Brunette circling the net and firing a backhander high. The puck hits Joe Skakic in the chest as he's tangling with a defenseman and deflects right into the net. Not the prettiest of Joe's 600 and some goals, but he'll take it.
13:20 Brunette gets an interference call for running into Leclaire. As he's trying to get up after the collision, #6 pushes him back to the ice, and Chimera KICKS Brunette in the side. It's not a vicious kick, but that's just not something you do. Unless, of course, you are a humungous douchebag.
10:27 Sakic is already looking much better tonight, and not just because of the fluky goal. He's moving really well both with and without the puck.
7:50 Jeff Finger hammers Chimera into the boards.
7:37 After the next whistle, the two are still on the ice and Chimera goes looking for Finger. This guy is WICKED cool.
6:24 LOL. Finger totally levels Chimera again. That was extremely enjoyable to watch, and I back up the Tivo several times to do so!
4:50 A Sakic drop pass leads to a blast of a slapshot from Hannan joining the rush. Leclaire makes a nifty save.
4:42 Svatos gets nabbed for hooking on Chimera (any time a guy in white falls to the ice tonight, it seems to be this loser).
3:56 I swear, I'm not singling him out, but I just had to back up the Tivo to see who it was that just "accidentally" bumped into Hejduk as they were skating near each other. Yep, #25 again. I've been wracking my brain for the last few minutes, trying to remember what I recall about Chimera, and then it hits me. He's the guy who Finger fought with last year – he chased down Finger after a whistle after Finger checked him hard into the boards; that's eerily reminiscent of the play above when he tried to start something. Thanks to hockeyfights for confirming that - http://www.hockeyfights.com/players/1636/fightcard/reg2007
2:52 Just as the Svatos penalty is winding down, Sauer gets called for hooking. The Svatos call was questionable, but the Sauer call was 100% correct.
20:00 Only 16 shots between the two teams in the first period, but it seemed like there was much more offense than that. Also, the Avs hold an astonishing 14-8 advantage on the draw. Yes, really.
18:36 Ugly goal to tie it. Kesla shoots it from the point and it deflects off of Sauer's leg and past Budaj. Originally, the puck was headed wide, and Budaj barely moved. 1-1.
16:33 Hejda called for holding. Avs go on the PP
16:04 2-1! On the PP, Ryan Smyth centers it to Hejduk in the slot. Hejduk's first shot is stopped, but the rebound goes right to his stick. He beats Leclaire up high with the rebound attempt.
10:26 3-1! This is the goal we expected to see this year. Hannan starts the play with a long pass from his own zone. Hejduk receives the pass at the line and skates in, but takes a wide path to give time for Smyth to head to the net. Hejduk shoots, and Smyth deflects it past Leclaire. That's almost exactly how we drew it up in our minds this summer. I'm glad I mentioned that Smyth needs to be in front of the net more. Hejduk, at least for now, gets credit for the goal. No matter – this is what the team needs to do more of.
7:00 Ryan Smyth with a high stick on Hainsey. Oddly, it was the handle of his stick hitting Hainsey, not the blade – not the kind of high stick you see every day.
4:50 Mostly thanks to Budaj, the Blue Jackets come up empty on the PP. This PK looked very much like the collapsing, timid PK of the first few games, not the aggressive PK that has been so good in the last 2 games.
3:14 Budaj is looking more and more solid as the game has gone on. That's the good news. The bad news is that the Avs D is forcing Budaj to be more and more solid. Way too early to start coasting here, guys.
20:00 Peter McNab's mic dies. I know there's a few people out there who are happy for the short break.
19:34 Peca called for interference. I've heard Peca's name called twice tonight – both for penalties.
19:09 Colorado is now 28-15 on faceoffs. That can't be right.
18:54 Ryan Smyth is in front of the net on the PP. I am a broken record.
18:39 4-1! Sakic rifles it from the faceoff circle. Smyth seems to deflect it in front, and, regardless of whether he did or not, he was enough of a distraction for Leclaire to cause a goal. Sakic gets credit. The scorekeepers at the Pepsi center are going to need to get used to watching in slow-mo for deflections from #94.
18:00 Arnason rifles a nasty shot on net. Leclaire makes a gorgeous glove save to keep the Blue Jackets to within 3.
17:33 The Avs get called for a penalty. I forget who it is, as I got distracted by the camera shot of the nice cleavage sitting behind the Avs bench. Ok, looks like it's Lappy for holding.
13:05 Wouldn’t it be funny if Smyth got a goal tonight after having what looks like 2 goals credited to other people? Or maybe he needs one more goal given to someone else. A non-hat trick hat trick.
11:26 Smyth dives for a loose puck in the offensive zone, with 10 minutes to go and a 3 goal lead.
10:32 It’s a Scott Parker sighting.
9:22 5-1! Hat Trick for Sakic. Mike Haynes does his best South American "Goooooooooooooal" impersonation. Wolski starts the play, putting pressure on Peca (nice game, Peca!) outside the blue line. Brunette joins the play, and the 2 force a turnover. Wolski breaks in with it 2 on 1 with Sakic on his left. He makes a nice feed and Sakic blasts it past a shell-shocked Leclaire. Want to know what I think is funny? Sakic has made several hundred million dollars in his career. He's the richest player on the ice, and richer than probably 99% of the people in the Pepsi Center tonight…and yet he's the one getting showered with free hats. I think HE should have to buy everyone at the game a hat. It seems like the fairer thing to do.
5:11 Scott Parkers seems eager to get into a scrum, but he hasn't had the chance.
4:58 Peca, again to the box.
4:10 On the PP, Laperriere takes an ugly looking slapshot that almost finds its way past Leclaire.
3:51 With the turtleneck he's wearing under his jersey, Hlinka reminds me of Alexei Yashin a bit.
1:39 Smith gets dropped behind the net by Westcott. Westcott and Smith get into a bit of a back and forth while the play continues. Parker skates onto the scene and Westcott cross checks him in the mouth as he approaches. Parker gets a bloody mouth…and a penalty. Wescott gets a misconduct. Parker is absolutely seething inside the box.
:55 #9 hooks Hlinka. And then Tollefssn chases down Hlinka after the whistle. Why? Parker screams at Tolleson from the box. He'll want to play the next time the Avs play the Blue Jackets. While the refs sort through the penalties, the camera cuts to Arnason standing on the ice with a "I'm not sure I want to be here" look on his face.