Budaj: Absolutely pathetic. Colorado's offense played a puck possession type game from start to finish, and peppered Thomas (who stood on his head) with 39 shots, including 20 in the first period.
Budaj faced 20 shots, stopping only 15....5 of which came off of Bergeron's stick. Arguably, you can't really look at one of the 5 goals and question why it wasn't stopped.
But that's the problem, and that's the reason Budaj isn't a quality starting goalie in this league: he can't come up with the big saves. He had a couple big ones on Bergeron, but that's only two saves in the entire game. Thomas had that many in single sequences.
You could argue the fact that this is only the 1st game of the season, and that Boston's offense is arguably better than it was last year, but I won't accept that argument. I wish I could; I wish I could say "wow, the defense really blew it out there tonight", but I can't.
Budaj has always been like this, and he always will be. Even if the Avs would have tied the game, I doubt they would have won. It was just a matter of time before Boston got in the zone again, and that would have meant another goal against Budaj. I have to believe that if Theodore, Huet, Khabibulin, Kolzig, or even Raycroft were in goal tonight, the Avs would have a 1-0 record.
The Offense: It was great. It reminded me of the old days, honestly. There were a few turn overs, yes, but overall a good job. Puck control was superb, and they looked like the Avalanche of '99 in the 1st period.
It's also looking like coach G is going to ride the first two lines until the tires fall off. Sakic played a whopping 22:36, and even David Jones played over 16 minutes.
Ryan Smyth, who logged 0 points, was easily the best Avalanche forward tonight. He was fast, did all the right things with the puck, and simply played Ryan Smyth hockey. Avs fans haven't been able to see much of that because of all the major injuries he sustained last season.
The Defense: Also very good. Liles looked like crap defensively (blame the Ryder goal on his laziness), but as a unit it was a great effort. The turn overs came from the forwards (as noted above), not the defense.
Brett Clark really jumped up in the offense tonight. This is the first time in his career that he's playing the left side, and I guess that means he'll be jumping into the play more.
Overall: They looked like a team that could have beat anyone had Budaj stopped more than 75% of the shots directed his way. A painful loss.