So, I think we've found the solution. All we have to do to make the playoffs is to play the Ducks 20 more times or so. We are now 3-0 against the team that swept us from the '06 playoffs, and 0-3-1 against the team (Dallas) that we defeated last year. This is the 2nd time this year that Peter Budaj has beaten the Ducks after getting pulled in the previous game.
And make no mistake, it was Budaj that beat them. Budaj turned away all 39 shots he faced last night (he faced 40 shots the last time he beat the Ducks). Colorado played decently in the 1st period - certainly well enough to earn the 1-0 lead on a stoppable shot from Milan Hejduk late in the period. Unfortunately, with just a slim lead on one of the most potent offenses in the league, the Avs started sitting on the lead in the 2nd, getting outshot by a 15-4 margin. Budaj was on his game, though, and kept his team on top. And Paul Stastny converted one of those 4 shots to put Colorado up 2-0.
This is where my recap shifts from firsthand to something else, because I was light's out asleep after Stastny's goal. Looks like the Ducks took a chapter out of the Avalanche comeback handbook, taking 3 minor penalties (2 bench minors). Any Colorado fan can tell you: it's hard to come back when you are shorthanded. Likely thanks to the 3 powerplays, the Avs managed to get 15 shots on J.S. Giguere. Meanwhile, the Budaj stopped all 14 that Anaheim took, leading the Avs to the 2-0 victory.
I made a couple mistakes in my preview yesterday, but I did correctly predict that Pierre Turgeon and Marek Svatos would be scratched. Brad Richardson played for one of them, and Joel Quenneville decided to dress 7 defensemen for the 3rd time in 4 games. This time, though, he mostly used Ken Klee at defense, rotating 11 forwards around for the 4 lines, and saved John-Michael Liles primarily for the powerplay. I'm guessing this means Liles is still hurting, and, frankly, I'd rather see him sit and heal if he can't play more than 6 minutes.
C Sakic, LW Wolski, RW Brunette: 15:25 ATOI (EV), 0 pts (EV), 9 shots, E
C Stastny, LW May, RW Hejduk: 12:17 ATOI (EV), 2 pts (EV), 5 shots, +2
C Arnason, LW McLean, RW Laperriere: 13:01 ATOI (EV), 0 pts (EV), 8 shots, E
C Guite, LW Richardson, : 5:33 ATOI (EV), 0 pts (EV), 1 shot, +1
D Clark & D Skrastins: 16:45 ATOI (EV), 0 pts (EV), 2 shots, E
D Klee & D Vaananen: 11:18 ATOI (EV), 0 pts (EV), 0 shots, E
D Leopold & D Sauer: 16:05 ATOI (EV), 1 pt (EV), 2 shots, +2
- Hejduk is one of the few Avs enjoying more success in the 2nd half. He's currently tied for 3rd on the Avs in 2nd half scoring with 13 points in 15 games. He was 8th in scoring in the first half (25 points, 39 games).
- Conversely, his sometime linemate Svatos has 2 points in 14 2nd half games after notching 23 in 36 games in the 1st half.
- Since January 1, the Avs PK has allowed just 13 goals in 79 opportunities, with 2 SHG scored. The 83.5% effectiveness would put them 11th in the league. Their average of 5.76 goals allowed per 60 minutes is more than 1 goal lower than their season average (6.88).