Obviously, the Avalanche are on their way to an 0-82 season. Peter Budaj can't stop a thing. We're done for. Doomed, I tell you. DOOMED.
Or not. Yes, it has not been fun to see the Avalanche lose two games that they should have won. The Avalanche at least appeared to be heading to overtime against the Oilers, but with 6 seconds left an Ethan Moreau shot deflected off of Dustin Penner's skate in front of Budaj, and the Avs came up just short. Again.
The Avalanche have outscored their opponent in all 6 periods of the new season. But that 72-39 shot advantage hasn't shown up on the scoreboard. They've also generally outplayed, outhustled and outhit both the Bruins and the Oilers (I loved watching Ryan Smyth and company grab pucks by simply knocking Edmonton puck carriers down). The Avalanche had numerous scoring chances - besides the 33 shots, they rang 3 more off the post and had another die just before crossing the goal line. Things simply haven't gone their way, but it's not for lack of effort.
Fingers will point at Peter Budaj, for sure. He misplayed a Penner wraparound attempt in the 3rd and when he opened his pads to slide across for an expected pass, Penner snuck the puck under his skate. While that was certainly a soft one, that was the one bad one in the game. The first goal came when Ales Hemskey found a seem to Shawn Horcoff all alone to the side of the net on a powerplay, and the winning goal redirected off a skate a foot away from Budaj. For most of the night, he was vintage Budaj - square to the shooters and controlled rebounds. Now, if the Avs could just catch a break offensively, we can stop having this conversation.
Tuesday would be a great time to start, which brings us too...
"Will he finish what he begins?" - Yoda, Empire Strikes Back
The effort's there; the Avalanche just need to find a way to get that puck across the goal line.
If you needed any proof that the Avalanche changed head coaches this summer, read the next sentence. After Thursday's loss, the Avalanche went with the same lines and defensive pairings.
The line report is up. I've tweaked the formatting of the event summary while adding team totals (although team penalties aren't in there yet, so the Oilers penalty numbers are one short). Oh, and I inadvertently reveresed the team faceoff percentages (Avs should be 72). I knew about that this afternoon, but forgot to fix it before running the report. I'll fix it tomorrow.
- Adam Foote was playing in his 1,000th NHL game and received a nice round of applause from the Edmonton crowd when that milestone was announced.
- Meanwhile, Ryan Smyth was booed when he took the ceremonial faceoff. That idiocy continued most times he was on the ice or touched the puck (which was frequent - he's been excellent so far).
- Joe Sakic has made some turnovers, but overall has looked head and shoulders better than he was last year.
- It didn't take long for Ruslan Salei to start disappointing. In the second period, he conspicuously skated away from an both incoming forechecker AND the puck, leaving Budaj stranded and leading to a turnover.
The Avalanche travel to friendly Calgary to take on the Flames.