Budaj stops 31 shots as Avalanche blank Stars
DENVER – The high-scoring Dallas Stars were no match for Colorado’s checking line.
Backup goalie Peter Budaj made 31 saves for his first shutout in nearly a year, fourth-liner Kevin Porter scored two goals and the Avalanche beat the Stars 5-0 on Saturday night.
Philippe Dupuis had a short-handed goal and two assists and David Van Der Gulik added an assist to give the Avalanche’s fourth line six of the team’s 13 points in the game.
“You don’t see that a lot,” said Dupuis, who scored his first NHL goal. “Tonight we had some good scoring chances and we capitalized on them.”
Milan Hejduk and Brandon Yip also scored for Colorado. Matt Duchene chipped in with two assists for the Avalanche, who bounced back from a flat game Thursday against Vancouver to end the Stars’ three-game win streak.
A big reason was the fourth line. The trio combined to be plus-8 and played well on the penalty kill.
“Good for those guys,” Avalanche coach Joe Sacco said. “They work hard all the time and sometimes they don’t get a lot of the credit. For those guys to chip in offensively was a big boost for our team.”
Budaj provided a boost, too. Dallas came into the game leading the league in goals per game (3.42) and had scored six goals in Phoenix on Friday night, but Budaj kept the high-scoring Stars off the board. He made 14 saves in the second period and benefited from two hit posts en route to his first shutout since Dec. 7, 2009.
He is 3-1-1 since taking over for injured starter Craig Anderson.
“Every time you win a game and on top of that you get the shutout, you feel great, you feel confident,” Budaj said. “The guys did a great job and it was a great defensive system.”
Meanwhile, his team was peppering Dallas goalie Andrew Raycroft with a season-high 45 shots. They had 11 in the first 10 minutes of the game, and the pressure led to a goal midway through the first period.
Porter, who was recalled from Lake Erie of the AHL on Friday, put the Avalanche ahead 1-0 with his first goal of the season. Van Der Gulik set it up by outworking Dallas defensemen Nicklas Grossman and Stephane Robidas to feed Porter in front of the net. Porter put a backhand by Raycroft with 9:58 left in the first period.
“They came at us really hard right from the first shift,” Robidas said. “They were just relentless and we just couldn’t get anything.”
Hejduk made it 2-0 with his fifth goal of the season when he lifted a backhand over a sprawled Raycroft at 4:53 of the second period. The Avalanche extended the lead to 3-0 later in the period.
With Colby Cohen in the penalty box for roughing, Dupuis picked up a loose puck near center ice, skated into the Dallas end and beat Raycroft with a slapshot over his left shoulder with 6:56 left in the second.
“It was surreal,” Dupuis said. “(Brad) Richards went down to give us a 2-on-1. I saw the D-man was going down so I knew I had to shoot. The short side was open so that’s what I went for. I was trying for the corner and I got lucky.”
The Avalanche blew it open with two goals in a 31-second span early in the third. Dupuis stole a puck from Dallas defenseman Jeff Woywitka and fed Porter, who scored to make it 4-0. Right after that Yip redirected Duchene’s centering pass by Raycroft to finish the scoring.
“They played a great game, that’s the bottom line,” said Raycroft, who had 40 saves. “They were skating well and putting the puck in the net. They did pretty much everything they wanted to do.”
Notes: Budaj’s victory gives him 90 career wins with the Avalanche, third in franchise history behind Patrick Roy (262) and Dan Bouchard (107). … Dupuis’ goal was the first of his career. … Hejduk has 13 points in his last eight games. … Anderson (right knee injury) is working out and could return in a week or two.
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