I have the Altitude feed tonight. I was kind of looking forward to Jim Hughson, but I'll live. Peter Budaj gets his 6th straight start, facing Roberto Luongo. Surprisingly, Budaj hasn't faced Vancouver very often in his career. I believe this is just his 6th appearance and 5th start against the Canucks.
One thing I'm interested to see is who Quenneville throws out against the Sedins. I'm assuming the Guite line will get a lot of ice time against the twins.
20:00 And Guite's line starts, but there's only one Sedin (Daniel) on the ice. Is Henrik hurt?
19:05 Burrows runs into Matt Cooke at center ice. Cooke goes down hard and gets a bloody lip out of the deal.
18:46 McLeod, Hlinka and Svatos are together tonight. At least to start the game, anyway.
18:35 Must have just been something Alain Vignault was doing to start the game. Naslund and the Sedins are out there for a faceoff. Quenneville throws out the Stastny line, along with Clark and Skrastins.
17:44 Hensick, Brunette and Jones are the 4th line tonight. This seems like on that should work well together.
16:56 Cumiskey runs end to end. It looks pretty, but then ends with a half-hearted backhand on Luongo. I wish he would get a bit more creative once he gets into the offensive zone.
16:08 Faceoff: Sedin line out, with the Guite line and Cumiskey and Finger.
12:55 Faceoff: This time, Q puts out the Stastny line against the Sedins. Vancouver changes rather quickly.
11:24 The Sedins are out again. The Guite line comes out there on the fly.
8:56 First penalty of the game. Aaron Miller for holding. Q goes with Wolski on the point for this one (with Liles).
8:08 Wolski almost turns it over behind the net.
7:57 Liles carries in, beats Salo with a burst of speed, and gets a backhander off on Luongo.
7:42 Next PP unit: Cumiskey, Clark, Svatos, Hensick and Hlinka.
7:01 Penalty on the Avs for too many men, served by Brunette.
4:44 Lappy gets two hits on Naslund on the same shift. Naslund gets angry, and perhaps that's what goaded him into taking a hooking penalty against Brett Clark. Avs go back on the PP.
4:13 This time Clark and Liles are on the point, with the Stastny line up front.
3:01 They get much better puck movement this time, but can't crack Luongo.
2:17 Hlinka gets tripped up by Edler. The Avs are going back on the PP.
1:48 Before the Canucks can get position, Liles again goes in hard to the net and gets another backhander off on Luongo. He played very well against New York, and has had a good start to this game.
1:40 Wolski ends the PP just 8 seconds in with a hold in the corner. 4 on 4.
:25 Hannan gets a penalty for holding. So far, the refs seem to be calling this one incredibly tightly. That one was borderline, at best. Any lip readers out there heard some great swear words from Quenneville after that call.
0:00 The period ends 0-0. Budaj has allowed 1 first period goal in this 6-game stretch.
19:20 Wolski doesn't normally play on the kill, but he's out there 5 on 4 now because he just came out of the box. He quietly makes two good plays here. First, he tips a pass down in the lane from behind, and then he calmly clears the puck down the ice to allow him to change.
17:38 Hejduk puts some pressure on the forecheck, and the Canuck defensemen's crappy pass goes right to the stick of Stastny. The Avs get some chances on Luongo. Still no goal, though.
16:44 They finally break through. McLeod's pressure on the forecheck is the catalyst. He hits Krajicek in the corner and then again along the side boards. For the 2nd hit, Krajicek was able to avoid most of the force, but in his hurry to beat the check he makes a bad cross-ice pass that Svatos was able to get to first. Svatos dishes to Hlinka (who had also made a good forechecking play in this series). Hlinka's shot is deflected wide, and Svatos is able to get to the loose puck and deflect it in. They review, as it looks like it went off of Marek's skate. Luckily, from the review it seems like he might have kicked at the puck, but then was able to touch the puck with his stick just before it crossed the line. Without that little deflection, I think it would have been waved off. After the review, it counts.
16:28 Tonight's McNabism: "Is he not maybe the most determined guy on the Avalanche to score inside that 10, 15 foot point in front of the net?"
14:29 Penalty to Stastny for hooking.
13:03 Pyatt ties the score. Richie winds up but then keeps the puck with Lappy goes down to the ice. He goes wide and fires an odd-angle shot off of Budaj. The rebound drops right in front of net, and Pyatt is right there to bang the rebound home. It's 1-1.
11:30 Kessler's dangerous wraparound attempt goes off the post. That one scared me.
10:00 The Guite line is out against the Sedin line again.
9:20 Laperriere and someone get tangled up along the Vancouver bench. I didn't see who the Vancouver player was, but he took Lappy to the ice well away from the play.
8:57 Another creative rush from Cumiskey (he uses the boards once in a little give-and-go play). This time, he gets a bit better shot off on Luongo…although it will take a lot more than that to beat Luongo.
7:15 Liles gets pressured off the puck behind the net. He's cut that down, lately, but he's still good for one or two a night, unfortunately.
3:55 Luongo robs Svatos. Bruno finds him breaking to the net, and he sets him up nicely in the slot.
3:11 Edler (I think) rings one off the post.
2:45 Svatos, still out there on a long shift, gets his stick in front of the puck to break up a Linden shot.
2:18 Save by Budaj on one of the Sedins.
2:04 Another post. The Avs have dodged a couple of bullets in the last few minutes.
:07 Cumiskey is tripped by Pyatt. The Avs will start the 3rd on the PP.
0:00 It's been a rather even game, but the Canucks were getting momentum in the last part of the 2nd. Hopefully, the Avs can get some juice back with the PP in the 3rd. 1-1 after two.
20:00 I see Bruno out there, so it looks like we're back to Wolski and Liles on the point.
18:16 Svatos carries in with speed, and makes a nice dish to Hlinka. Luongo stands firm, though.
14:59 After a whistle, Alex Burrows is over in front of the Avalanche bench molesting Stastny. Stastny is just trying to get off, and Burrows starts hammering on him. Somehow, Stastny gets a roughing minor to match Burrows', which is about an idiotic a call as I've seen all year. Asinine.
11:48 Wolski had Liles breaking to the net, but couldn't quite get it to his stick.
10:28 Wow. McCormick LEVELS Ryan Kesler. One of the biggest – if not the biggest – hit by an Avalanche this year. Byron Ritchie tries to challenge McCormick, but nothing materializes.
9:42 Big save by Luongo on Finger.
9:10 SCORE McCormick. He makes it look easy, picking up a loose puck on the side boards, takes a step towards the center of the ice and rifles a shot past Luongo. Huge goal, and, for a second there, I though Mike Haynes might rupture his larynx. Cody McCormick, you might have just finished what will become the two best shifts of your NHL career.
9:00 Interestingly, if McCormick had fought Ritchie after the Kesler hit, he would have been in the box instead of scoring a goal right there.
7:58 Delay of game coming up as Weaver shoots it over the glass. You have to give some credit to Hlinka there, as he was all over Weaver and forced him to rush his shot.
7:36 And Bruno makes him pay with a nasty goal. Liles fires it from the point, right to the stick of Bruno in front of Luongo. Bruno has some time and no one comes to pick him up, so he just moves the puck side to side in front of Luongo a few times before burying a backhand top shelf. That was pretty to watch. 3-1 Colorado.
5:14 McNab made this point earlier, so I don't want to push this off as my own idea, but Hlinka and Svatos are exhibiting some great chemistry together.
4:55 Svatos to the box for tripping.
1:51 Two big saves by Budaj to preserve the 2-goal lead. He had to really move across the crease to get to the 2nd one.
0:00 Strangely, Vignault doesn't pull Luongo. We move back into a tie with the Canucks for first in the NW, and have the 4th best record in the NHL. Imagine where we'd be if Quenneville had gone to Budaj earlier…