Colorado Avalanche goalies got a bad break before their game against the Vancouver Canucks and another at the end.
The Avalanche lost top goalie Craig Anderson to a knee injury in warmups and lost the game when Mason Raymond poked a puck off the stick of defenseman Jonas Holos and between goalie Peter Budaj’s legs 28 seconds into overtime to give the Canucks a 4-3 victory Tuesday night.
Holos was skating with the puck near his net after a scrambled faceoff in the Avalanche end when Raymond reached out to knock it past a surprised Budaj.
”I thought we had it and he poked it right through me,” said Budaj, whose 26 saves included a stop on Manny Malhotra’s breakaway with 5 seconds left in regulation. ”I probably should have had that, but it bounced over my stick.”
Raymond wasn’t even thinking about scoring.
”I was heading toward the back of the net and took a whack at it, so it was finally nice to see one of those go in after some struggles,” he said. ”You take them any way you can get them.”
Raymond’s lucky goal ended a wild, wide-open night featuring plenty of scoring chances and a tying goal by Colorado’s Matt Duchene with 1:33 left in the third period.
Peter Schaefer’s first goal in 2 1/2 years put Vancouver ahead five minutes into the third, but the Avalanche dominated the rest of the way, outshooting the Canucks 15-5 and hitting the goal post with 30 seconds left. Duchene tied it after Budaj was pulled for an extra attacker, taking a cross-ice feed from Milan Hejduk, who had two assists, and snapping it past Roberto Luongo.
”We threw everything but the kitchen sink at them in the third,” Duchene said. ”It was huge to get one point. We played a pretty good game and so did they. We outshot them, put a lot of pucks on net, and Luongo came up big.”
Jeff Tambellini also scored for the second straight game since being moved up to the top line, and Ryan Kesler added a power-play goal for the Canucks, 4-0-1 at home. But it was Luongo’s 36 saves that kept Vancouver in the game.
”Louie gave us a chance to win, without a doubt,” coach Alain Vigneault said. ”In the second half of the game, we turned the puck over, we got beat to loose pucks, we got beat one-on-one and they took the play to us. He gave us a chance to win on a lucky bounce at the end.”
David Jones and Daniel Winnik had goals, and Budaj made 26 saves for Colorado, which dropped its third straight. Budaj was scheduled to make his second start this season, but might get a lot more playing time after Anderson injured his knee during a scramble drill reserved for the backup.
Anderson was in obvious discomfort as he left the ice and never returned to the bench. Avalanche coach Joe Sacco said Anderson would return to Denver to be re-examined rather than travel with the club to Calgary for a game on Thursday.
”We’ll know more (Wednesday),” Sacco said.
Budaj wasn’t sure how long Anderson will be out, but he said he is ready to play more.
”I’d like to be in, and it looks like I’m going to be, so just be ready and see what happens and help the team get some wins,” Budaj said.
Jones opened the scoring 4:28 in on a breakaway, but Tambellini answered less than five minutes later after a turnover and tic-tac-toe passing from linemates Daniel and Henrik Sedin. Both Sedins got an assist, giving Daniel points in all nine games (seven goals, five assists).
Henrik has an NHL-leading 11 assists. Colorado’s John-Michael Liles matched that assist total – and set an NHL record – on Winnik’s goal early in the second period. It gave Liles an assist in each of the first nine games, the longest streak by a defenseman to start a season.
Liles was more impressed with Budaj’s performance.
”He played fantastic, and those bounces are going to happen,” he said. ”He’s been a starter for us before, so whoever is in net we have confidence.”
Notes: Canucks D Dan Hamhuis missed his fourth straight game because of a bruised foot, and D Keith Ballard missed his fifth with a concussion. … Colorado D Adam Foote missed his second straight game with a concussion, but D Scott Hannan played after leaving his previous game due to a head injury.