The Colorado Avalanche lost to the Vancouver Canucks by a score of 3-1 on Thursday night at Pepsi Center.
After four days off, the Avalanche started off slowly, but Vancouver came ready to play scored three power play goals, one goal in each of the three periods.
It wasn’t until the second period that the Avalanche really got into the game and started to create decent scoring chances.
The Avs were unable to score until late in the third period when David Van Der Gulik scored his first NHL goal to prevent a shutout. It was Van Der Gulik’s first NHL goal.
Although the Vancouver Canucks outplayed the Avalanche, goaltender Peter Budaj still had an outstanding performance. He faced 18 shots in the first period and a total of 36 before the final buzzer rang.
Budaj was able to keep the Avalanche in the game, at one point even jumping across the crease to bat the puck away in acrobatic fashion.
Vancouver forward Ryan Kesler acknowledged Budaj’s impressive play.
“Their goalie played very solid,” Kesler said. “We probably could have had six or seven goals. He stood on his head.”
Avalanche forward David Jones did not think the team had good puck control and had problems getting through the neutral zone.
“We’ve got to protect the puck better and be more responsible with it,” he said.
Avalanche Head Coach Joe Sacco was disappointed with the team’s play.
“You’re going to lose games in the course of a season, but I didn’t like the way we lost this game,” Sacco explained. “I didn’t think we were ready to start on time. For such an important game, we didn’t have the usual energy that we have in our game. I called the timeout pretty early there just to wake the guys up. We didn’t play to our identity tonight.”
Canucks goaltender Cory Schneider proved that Vancouver has more than one man who can be trusted between the pipes. He was only minutes away from getting his first career shutout, but was happy to get the win.
“At the end of the day, it’s not the most important thing. I’d rather give up one goal and get the win,” Schneider said. “It’s not a big deal, but it’d be nice to get that first one out of the way.”
The Avalanche can do nothing but to look ahead to Saturday when the Dallas Stars come to town.
“Most nights, win or lose, we put up a good effort,” said Sacco. “Tonight was a night I think we probably just need to throw the game in a garbage can and get ready for the next one.”