I think the lines are pretty good as they are. Lots of chemistry between Svatos, Wolski, Sakic. Hejduk, Brunette, and Stastny are clearly gelling. And Arnie's line with Mclean and Lappy was always pretty good.
Great game, although the last ten minutes were pretty nerveracking. They seemed to back off, but at least they cleared the front of the net well, and used their sticks well to disrupt the Tampa players.
Stastny had a hell of a game. I thought he might be starting to hit the wall a bit, but then he goes and has a wonderfull three point night. That pass to Hejduk for the goal was Forsberg'esque the way he saucered it over the defenseman's stick. Reminded me of when Hedgie and Forsberg were linemates and they scored so many goals like that. Stastny finished the night with the most ice time among forwards and he used it well playing great hockey in all three zones and in all situations including key draws. The amazing thing is he plays that hard every night, but he doesn't always get rewarded like he did tonight. Great to see.
I thought Skrastins had a great game too, even if you take out the two assists. Easily one of his best games of the year.
I liked what I saw from Cumiskey as well, but I think his time would still be better served finshing the year in Albany, as he doesn't quite seem ready to me. He's very calm with the puck, knows when to pinch, and makes smart plays that you can't teach, similar to Liles. Also, if the Avs have to choose between him and Liles, I would like to see them stick with Liles, even though they will have to give him a big raise a lot sooner. They really are very similar players, but Cumiskey seems a bit smaller, and Liles has already prooved he can be a gamer in this league and I think he could easily go on to be an elite defenseman for years to come.
Great to see Budaj put up another solid game. He stood very tall when it counted, and made a couple key saves in the third period which we haven't been getting too much of this year. Great game.
I thought tonight was one of the best played games of the year by our D. There were a few times when TB dominated the puck, but for the most part, they moved it smartly out of the zone and didn't have to deal with many rebounds by Budaj.
Cumiskey really impressed me with his instincts the past couple of games. I'll definitely give him slack on missing an open net from the slot in just his second game. The guy has some b*lls with the plays he makes, and does look like liles_2.0, but a much smaller JM imo. Does anyone else think he's just too small?
But it hasn't mattered much b/c Sauer has been awesome in the past couple of games. He's hitting, skating, making outlet passes, and positioned well. Looks very much like Ossi when he finally got it going, but willing to skate a bit more. I don't see how he can be taken out of the lineup when Breezy comes back.
Which I think causes a bit of a logjam. While we clearly lack a #1, or even #2 guy, if Sauer/Vanny/Klee continue to play this way as legit bigger Dmen, imagine when we have Leo to put with Liles and Clark as puck-movers.
That leaves out Skratch, who had an a great game tonight. He wasn't flopping on the ice, he used his stick to make some nice poke checks and obviously had the points. If everyone keeps playing as they are, I think we have some great depth. Something I never would have thought not that long ago.
Goal 1 by Tampa, kind of a goofy rebound, but the initial svae kinda knocked Budaj off balance, no harm done
Goal 2, I think Budaj would like back. Tampa telegraphed that pass, but Budaj was just a little slow reacting. Oh well, he played a good game outside of that so you can't really fault him.
Nice to see Arnason rewarded with a goal tonight. He has had 3 really good games in a row, strong on the puck, but nothing really to show for it.
The Avs first goal, classic Sakic
Hejduk again, a few good shots, and (outside of the goal) he remains snake-bitten. He seems to be putting his shots chest high and center right now, which doesn't seem to help. I wish he would start picking his spots again like he did in his Rocket season
And poor Lappy, 2 great and simple chances, and he couldn't hit either...I feel bad for him
And seriously, can our PK ever clear the zone? It seems the other team spends about 1:45 of a 2 minute penalty in the zone. THe Avs have 6 or 7 chance to clear, but they always clear it right AT someone
Finally saw that game, a good solid game from both teams.
Stastny was the star of course with a great play to steal the puck from Boyle and to set up Hejduk for the goal. I think this goal might help Hejduk's confidence, he had a few very good opportunities once again. Wolski speed is amazing and he has such soft hands, a pleasure to watch ! He also was taking care of the business defensively with one or two good plays. The only top 6 who disappointed me is Svatos, he tries but his decisions don't seem the right ones right now, but playing with Sakic and Wolski will help, hopefully tonight is the night for him.
The bottom 6 was okay, with a special mention to Lappy, good checks (sometimes a little too good, but well, fans appreciate), but he really can't buy a goal ! Turgeon seems to have some difficulties physically to follow the pace of the game, and that after a long break. I wouldn't be surprised to see him a game here and there, maybe for Guite, or later on for Richardson.
Defensively, Skrats was a rock last night, Cumiskey was impressive IMO, making good outlet passes and creating some scoring chances, not many mistakes at all, but I really liked the fact that Q was able to put Klee back on defense for the last 10 minutes or so of the game. Clark should be sharper than that, he was average. I liked the grit showed by Vaananen, it looks very confident out there, and that's good news.
Finally, Budaj had a good game, but he made me nervous many times, looks to committ very early, and IMO the Avs were lucky that the many bounces didn't give Tampa more opportunities. Needs to be quicker side to side.
If only we could steal another win from Minnie, that would just be great for the confidence we'll need before the Detroit and Calgary games.