Sunday, October 26, 2008
Game #8 Recap
Before I get into tonight's game, I apologize for the lack of updates for the last two games. On Monday night, I was consumed by the Patriots on Monday Night Football and with my FFF (fantasy football fate) hanging in the balance, I held off on watching the Avs/Kings game until after football. By the time the game ended, and I had gloated in front of my dad (the world's biggest Kings fan) for a good five minutes, I was too tired to formulate my emotions on the game into coherent thoughts. I then got sick Tuesday morning, and am still trying to fully recover from it.
Luckily, the Avs have kept their win streak alive as it now stands at FIVE, count 'em, five straight games after dropping the first three contests of the season. The latest victim on the way to a 79-3 season were the previously 6-0-1 Buffalo Sabres. I was a bit nervous going into this game after seeing their record this season, and seeing as the Avs haven't truly been tested by a team playing at the top of their game yet this season, but the team seemed to match up pretty evenly against the Sabres. The first period was quite exciting, as their was a ton of action at each end, and hitting galore. Adam Foote got hit in the ankle by a shot early in the game, which seemed to be serious, but a few minutes later, he was back on the ice like the trooper he is. After returning to the ice, he seemed to be playing with an extra step out there, blocking shots, following up his hits, and attempting to fight Adam Mair who cheap-shotted him and then skated away. Jeez! In the second period, Budaj gave up his lone goal-against of the night, and the Avs seemed to be a bit out-played, but managed to keep it a one goal game going into the third. About midway through the third, the ice started to tilt towards the Sabres goal, as Miller was peppered with shots from just about every angle imaginable. The one that happened to go in started on Jordan Leopold's stick, hit off a Sabres' d-man's skate, off another Sabres' helmet, and past a stunned Ryan Miller. Miller instantly darted to the ref calling for goalie interference, but the replayed showed that it was actually his own teammate who bumped into him during the goal sequence. Sorry Ryan! The teams skated to a 1-1 tie in regulation, and again in the overtime period, the ice seemed to be tilted towards Miller. To be honest, if he wasn't such a solid goaltender, I think they would've found a way to put one past him before time expired. However, a shootout was necessary to decide this one. Hejduk made a great move to put one past him, but it was completely over-shadowed by one of Wolski's signature triple-deke moves as he totally faked out Miller. Go Wolski-Goalski! After the original three shooters, the score was still tied. Next up for the Avs was Svatos, who didn't do much of anything with his shot. Luckily, Budaj came up big on the following save, and round five was on! Smyth was up, and buried a wrister below Miller's arm, and Budaj again came up with a big save for his third straight victory, and his second straight one-goal-against game. Did he see Raycroft's winning streak as a challenge? WHO CARES! This is the Budaj we need this year and he finally seems to be finding his groove.
Positives from the night have to start with Budaj's play. Also, this was the first game that the penalty kill didn't allow a goal! I'm really loving the consistency in the line-up, especially with the defensive pairings. The six defenders seem to be really getting a feel for each other on the ice and are learning to trust each other to be in the right place at the right time. No more Q line-juggling please! The fourth line was a bit invisible tonight which upsets me a bit since those are three of my favorite Avs, but what can you do. I expect a bounce-back game from all three of them come Tuesday night. I was sad to see Mr. McCormick sit tonight, but Davey Jones proved me wrong and was strong on the puck all night and definitely deserved to be out there. All in all, an extremely solid performace from the boys, and they proved to the league that they can play with the big boys. From the looks of things, this will be a VERY exciting season, and I can't wait!
Also, thanks to Shane over at AvsTalk for posting that great picture of Tucker.