ST. LOUIS – Peter Budaj compared a shutout to a skater scoring three goals. The Colorado Avalanche goalie certainly was in hat-trick form Monday night.
Making the most of only his fifth start of the season, Budaj stopped 35 shots for his eighth career shutout and first this season as Colorado finished off a five-game trip with a 4-0 victory over the St. Louis Blues.
“Shutouts are always great,” said Budaj, who tied Stephane Fiset for fourth place on the franchise list for career victories with 84. “The win was the most important for me because I haven’t played in a long time. … I was able to show the coaching staff that I can play here and be in the net, but the shutout is an entire team result.”
Chris Stewart scored twice and assisted on another, Paul Stastny and Matt Duchene each scored goals, Wojtek Wolski had three assists and John-Michael Liles collected two assists for Colorado.
The Avalanche finished off their second-longest trip of the season with a 3-1-1 record. They’ll play seven of their next eight at home.
“We don’t really worry about home games or road games,” Avs coach Joe Sacco said. “Our identity shouldn’t change no matter where you’re playing for us.”
The Blues, who have an NHL-worst 5-9-3 home mark, were coming off two road victories that came by shootout. They have yet to win three games in a row this season. It also was the third time the Blues have been blanked on home ice this season.
“For some reason, we just haven’t been able to get it done at home,” Blues defenceman Erik Johnson said. “You have to at least be .500 at home to be a playoff team. Your home record has to be your bread-and-butter. You have to take pride in your home record. For whatever reason, we just haven’t gotten it done.”
The Blues certainly peppered Budaj with a number of shots but also missed the net 23 times in the game, a number that has been alarming especially on home ice.
“We had lots of opportunities,” Blues coach Andy Murray said. “We missed the net 10 times (in the first period). … It was like 17 in the first two periods. We missed the net 17 times besides the times we put the puck on the net.”
Colorado grabbed the lead late in the first period when Stewart deflected in Kyle Quincey’s point shot with 10.9 seconds left in the period to give the Avs a 1-0 lead. Colorado won a faceoff in the Blues zone to set up Quincey’s one-timer, which Stewart deflected up over Chris Mason’s left shoulder.
“I just stepped in and got it over Mason’s glove,” Stewart said.
Stastny gave Colorado a 2-0 lead 6:08 into the second by knocking in a rebound into an empty net after Mason was knocked from the crease by an Avs player, who got a shove from the Blues’ David Backes.
Stewart got his second of the game at 13:53 of the second, as he was able to redirect in Liles’ shot from the right point for a 3-0 lead.
“I think it just went off the inside of my leg and in,” Stewart said. “Good things happen when you go to the net and it was definitely a good result tonight.”
Duchene, the No. 3 overall pick of the 2009 draft, netted his ninth of the season at 12:44 of the third with a shot from the left circle that beat Mason through the pads.
“To be 3-1-1 on this road trip is something to be proud of,” Sacco said. “We have a winning record on the road (10-7-4) so the guys should feel proud of what they’ve done.”
NOTES: Stewart has 13 points in the last nine games. … Wolski has a point in seven straight games and 11 of the last 12. … Duchene has nine points in the last seven games, including six goals. … Blues LW Keith Tkachuk has 52 points in 53 career games against Colorado. … Blues D Eric Brewer (back) was placed in injured reserve and will miss two to four weeks. … Blues C Patrik Berglund played in his 100th NHL game. … Of Colorado’s 32 games this season, 21 of them have been on the road, most in the NHL. … Colorado RW Darcy Tucker skated in his 900th NHL game. … Colorado G Craig Anderson (neck) missed his third consecutive game.