The Avs finished off their 5 game road trip the same way they started it, with a shutout victory. This was another successful road trip for this young team as they finished up 3-1-1. The whole road schedule is now half way over.
The first game of the trip was a 3-0 victory over the Lightning. Matt Duchene caught fire in this game as he ended up with 2 goals for his first multigoal game of his young career.
Duchene again was a huge story two nights later in Florida despite the Avs losing to the Panthers 6-5 in a really entertaining game. The Avs trailed by 2 goals almost the whole game. Duchene scored his 2nd of the game with just under a minute left in regultation to bring the Avs to within 1. With the net still empty, the Avs put heavy pressure on the Kittens and TJ Galiardi tied the game only seconds before regulation ended.
The season turned scary during the overtime as Keith Ballard, who nearly decapitated his goaltender Vokoun in their previous game, went hard into Craig Anderson and Andy had to leave the game with a neck injury. Budaj came in for the rest of OT and the shootout where only 1 goal was scored by Steven Weiss (who also had a hat trick in the game) for the winner.
The next night in Pittsburgh, Budaj had a really solid game despite the 4-1 outcome. Galiardi had scored in the 2nd period but the play was prematurely whistled dead so the goal did not count (even though the puck crossed the line before the whistle went). That wouldve given the Avs a 2-1 lead but instead it clearly took a lot out of the Avs and they then let Pittsburgh take a 2-1 lead as Sidney Crosby made a nice feed to Bill Guerin who put it by Budaj who had no chance at making the save. Crosby and the Pens got some help padding their stats by netting 2 empty netters in the final minutes.
Budaj got his 2nd straight start in Columbus in another solid performance by the boys in burgundy. They got off to a 2-0 lead which normally is like an Avs loss waiting to happen. The Jackets got 1 past Budaj and that looked like the comeback was about to start but then just after that, Wojtek Wolski made a nice pass (while also taking a hit) to Chris Stewart who took a wrister that squeaked past Steve Mason. The Jackets did get 1 more but the Avs still managed to hang on to the win.
Finally last night the Avs received another great effort by Budaj who recorded the shutout against the Blues. Chris Stewart was a beast in the game as he scored 2 goals and 1 assist for his 2nd career 3 point game. The line of him, Wolski, and Stastny was the best line all night and Coach Sacco played them every chance he got. Matt Duchene capped off the night with his beautiful wrister through Chris Mason to make it 4-0 in the 3rd.
Some other highlights and notes from the trip:
-Matt Duchene was named NHLs 3rd star of the week last week.
-Paul Stastny quietly moved into the top 10 in both points and assists.
-Wojtek Wolski is on a 7 game point streak where he has 10 points in those 7 games.
-Wolski also moved into 16th place on the scoring list.
-Wolski-Stastny-Stewart might become the Avs true #1 line after their performance against the Blues.
-Andy was sent back to Denver before the game in St. Louis to meet with team doctors. He may be ready for the game against the Wild.
The Avs return home tomorrow night when they host the Wild who has had the Avs number all season. The game will be on Versus so as long as you dont have Directv, like me, you'll get to see it.