Budaj made 25 saves for his third career shutout and the Colorado Avalanche beat the struggling Columbus Blue Jackets 3-0 Friday night to snap a four-game losing streak. “It’s always great when a goalie gets a shutout,” said Budaj, who helped his team improve to 20-0-1-1 against Columbus. “Our team made a tremendous effort tonight. We capitalized on our chances. We did the little things right.”
Rookie Paul Stastny, Ossi Vaananen and Marek Svatos scored for Colorado. Joe Sakic, playing in his 18th season, had an assist to tie Stan Mikita for 14th on the career list with 926.
“We basically had the puck a lot tonight,” said Avalanche coach Joel Quenneville. “We checked, moved together well.”
The Blue Jackets, who have been shut out in five of their 17 games, have lost four straight and 11 of 14.
The game was the second for Columbus interim coach Gary Agnew, who replaced Gerard Gallant after Gallant was fired Monday because of the team’s slow start. Agnew lost his debut Wednesday against Nashville.
“We weren’t paying the price to score,” Agnew said. “We were not going to the paint. When you are going wide on a team you need to put pucks on the net and fight for a rebound.”
Stastny opened the scoring with his fourth at 7:29 of the first period on a Colorado power play.
Goaltender Fredrik Norrena stopped Milan Hejduk’s point-blank shot, but Columbus defenceman Rostislav Klesla threw the rebound into the slot to Stastny, who scored with a snap shot. The goal was the first in the Avalanche’s last 20 man-advantage chances.
“I was just competing, forechecking and getting on the puck,” Stastny said. “The more you have control of the puck, the more chances you will get. That’s what happened.”
Colorado scored twice in the second period, capitalizing on more defensive miscues by the Blue Jackets.
At the midway mark of the period, Klesla lost the puck to Sakic as he exited the zone. Sakic fed Andrew Brunette, who slotted a centring pass from the right boards to an open Vaananen. He then scored his first of the season in 18 games with a low shot from the high slot.
Later in the period, Klesla couldn’t corral the puck with the Avalanche pressuring. Tyler Arnason zipped a pass to Svatos, who beat Norrena from the left circle at 18:28. Svatos has seven goals in seven games against the Blue Jackets.
“We played this way last game and had a real frustrating loss,” Quenneville said of a 4-3 setback to San Jose. “I think we didn’t change our approach, but got rewarded.”
Notes: Colorado, which lost each game in its four-game skid by one goal, had not lost five consecutive regulation games since the 1998-1999 season. . . . Colorado has outscored the Blue Jackets 90-29 in 22 meetings. . . . Columbus, 0-for-17 the last three games on the power play, has only scored first in four games. . . . The Avalanche entered having taken the second-fewest penalties in the league.