The 4-1 final tally for the Avs is not too indicative of how close the game was all night. The Avs opened the scoring on a power play in the 1st minute of the game on a tip in goal by Milan Hejduk. It remained 1-0 until almost 7 minutes into the 3rd when Marek Svatos put a little rebound in from the stick of Paul Stastny past Bryzgalov. The Coyotes made it a game just 3 minutes later after Ed Jovanovski's power play point shot was tipped by Kyle Quincey over Budaj's shoulder. That would be all Budaj would allow. David Jones added an empty netter in the final minute followed by a breakaway goal by Hejduk 19 seconds later.
The best line all night for the Avs was the McLeod-Duchene-Svatos line. Yes, for once, Svatos did not bring the line down. McLeod played with a visor but didn't shy away from the rough stuff. He created tons of space for Duchene and Svatos to fly around and they did just that. Svatos did of course take a dumb stick penalty late in the game as usual but the fact that they were able to kill off the penalty and the fact that he still had a goal nullified the dumb penalty.
The power play finally scored tonight on Hejduk's first goal and went 1-6 overall. Apart from the one that ended in a goal, the PP still looks like it needs work. Phoenix cleared it relatively easy and were able to skate around the Avs zone while on the kill. The PK was pretty good again as usual. Their penalty killing streak ended at 23 but the goal was a fluke off Quincey's stick. The Avs killed 3-4 of their penalties.
Performer of the night goes to Peter Budaj. He made the big saves when he needed to and was solid in net for the most part. There were still iffy moments in his game but nothing more than 1st game jitters in my opinion. His normal "always open for business" 5 hole was kept closed all night and the only shot that beat him was tip off Quincey's stick right in front of him. Perfect game for a back up goalie.
Underperformer of the night goes to Chris Stewart. The kid was sent down in the middle of last month and then came back flying. Tonight, he went back to lazy and slow ways. It seemed every time he was on the ice, the puck was in the Avs zone for his whole shift. I'm sure Sacco will deal with him appropriately.
3. P. Budaj
2. M. Svatos
1. M. Hejduk