So far this season Peter Budaj has shown he’s more than capable of manning the Avalanche goal on the few occasions when incumbent starter Craig Anderson has needed a break or been forced to the sideline due to injury.
Saturday night’s game at Pepsi Center proved to be another example, as Budaj received his seventh start of the season and stopped 39 shots in the Avalanche’s 4-1 victory over the Dallas Stars.
Anderson didn’t skate Saturday morning due to illness, but felt well enough to serve as the backup goaltender against Dallas.
Budaj mostly credited his teammates for the victory, but the netminder made several solid and timely saves throughout the course of the game, including a stop on defenseman Jeff Woywitka early in the third period.
The blueliner snapped off a shot during a 2-on-1 with teammate Mike Modano, which forced Budaj to move left-to-right. Budaj nearly over-shifted while making his lateral move, as Woywitka’s shot came back across his body. However, he was able to make a sterling glove save to preserve the Avalanche victory and his fourth win in 10 appearances.
“I think it’s a big team win especially after that disappointing loss before Christmas," said Budaj. "We regrouped and I think that we came out really strong. We played a really strong defensive game.”Another First
Avalanche forward Chris Durno opened the game’s scoring at 6:04 of the first period with the first tally of his NHL career. Matt Hendricks helped to set up the play by winning a foot race with Woywitka to a loose puck deep in the Stars’ zone. Hendricks pushed the puck over to Durno, who showed patience by holding onto it momentarily while stationed behind Alex Auld’s net. The Scarborough, Ontario native then attempted a centering pass meant for Cody McLeod
that ended up bouncing off Auld’s stick and into the goal.
“It felt amazing," said Durno. "It is something that you work to get for a long time. And to finally get it, words cannot describe it.”
Durno became the sixth player to score his first NHL goal with the Avalanche this season, joining Matt Duchene
, Matt Hendricks, Ryan O’Reilly, Ryan Wilson
and Brandon Yip.Defensive Audible
The Avs made a few small changes to their defensive pairings for tonight’s game. For the better part of the past few weeks, Avalanche captain has skated with rookie Ryan Wilson
, John-Michael Liles and Brett Clark have been paired up and Kyle Quincey and Scott Hannan have played together.
Tonight, only the Quincey-Hannan combo remained the same. The Avalanche captain found himself skating with Liles, while Clark and Wilson were paired together.Deadmarsh Honored
Prior to tonight’s contest, former Colorado/Quebec forward and the Avalanche’s current video/development coach, Adam Deadmarsh, became the sixth player honored by the Avalanche Alumni Association this season.
Deadmarsh was part of the Avalanche’s first Stanley Cup Championship team in 1996 and totaled 288 points (138g/150a) in 453 games with the Avalanche/Nordiques franchise. Following a video tribute, Deadmarsh dropped the ceremonial first puck between Foote and Dallas assistant captain Brad Richards.