Last night's game came down to one missed play by easily the best player on the team last night. Raycroft made 34 saves but that won't be what is remembered about this game. It will be the one bad play that broke down his angles when he tried to be a hero and shoot the puck up the ice. He should have made the safe play to the defenseman, or to the corner. It cost him, and the Avs. His look after the bad play said it all. He played with confidence the whole game, and one play with too much cost him. Budaj has been given the next start against Calgary.
T.J. Hensick and his entire line had a strong game. They managed to stay in the offensive zone for prolonged periods of time. They were scored on early in the game, but showed character and kept fighting to earn a goal later. Stewart fed Hensick on the skate by and T.J. made a great shot into the upper deck. Hope he can make more plays like this. Makes it easy to be a fan when the youth play at a high level.
J.M. Liles is playing well. He was shooting well and earned an assist in the effort. His skating is continuing to improve as the season wears on. I am glad he is locked up for several more seasons(more to come). He also had a first, his first NHL fight. He held his own even though he didn't win. He really didn't throw any punches of note but kept his opponent at bay. He was outweighed by his counterpart as well and showed good strength. Just don't make it a habit please J.M. Liles, we need you on the ice.
The power play didn't accomplish much on three tries. This end of the specialty teams play just has never gotten going this season. I will blame the coach. This is something that has never been a strength under Granato. He couldn't get it going last year and apparently its not something he can get going this year. Its a generally accepted idea that if you don't score a power play goal a game you deserve to sit out the playoffs. Without the power play working we can expect to watch this team be inconsistent until they get the power play going.
The didn't kill off an Edmonton PP which could be associated with just down right weak special teams.
The team overall is missing two players beyond the offense. That would be Adam Foote and Lappy. They work hard night in and night out, and their leadership is sorely missed. Lappy forces his line mates to work as hard as he does. Foote is a steady calming presence on the ice for the other d-men, and is needed back soon.
See you all after the Calgary game on Sunday. Start of an 8 game home stand.