St. Louis’ Manny Legace has dominated the Avalanche despite Colorado’s status as one of the league’s best offensive teams the past few seasons. Facing them now doesn’t seem nearly as daunting.
Legace seeks his 11th straight win over the Avalanche on Saturday night when the Blues continue a three-game homestand.
Overshadowed while he played behind star goalies Dominik Hasek, Curtis Joseph and Chris Osgood in six seasons with Detroit, Legace is finally earning respect as one of the league’s best at his position. He is 156-71-12 with 18 ties and a 2.28 goals-against average during a nine-year career, but didn’t make his first All-Star appearance until this season.
While the rest of the NHL is only now viewing Legace as an All-Star, the Avalanche have felt that way for years.
Legace has won 10 straight starts against Colorado (27-21-4), recording three shutouts and a 1.40 goals-against average in those games. He is 12-1-0 with a 1.85 GAA in 14 career appearances versus the Avs.
He continued his winning ways against Colorado with a 4-1 victory on Oct. 12, stopping 24 of 25 shots.
“It’s just one of those teams that you have to be up for,” Legace said following the win. “Hopefully, it keeps up. I respect this team so much. They’re so talented, if you don’t show up against these guys, they’re going to bury you in a hurry.”
The Avalanche team Legace beat nearly four months ago had Joe Sakic (hernia surgery), Ryan Smyth (ankle) and Paul Stastny (appendectomy) up front. The one he will see Saturday won’t have any of those injured players in the lineup.
Without arguably their three best players, the Avalanche have become a defense-first team. That style nearly helped them beat league-best Detroit on the road Friday, but the Red Wings scored the game’s first goal with 2:20 left in regulation en route to a 2-0 victory.
Peter Budaj was outstanding in defeat, making 34 saves as his team was outshot 36-15.
“That was a very tough ending,” Colorado coach Joel Quenneville said. “To come that close to getting something and have it get away on a lucky bounce, we spoiled a very special night by our goaltender.”
Budaj likely will start this game because Jose Theodore was scratched Friday with back spasms. Budaj, 0-4-0 in his last four starts, has split six career decisions against St. Louis.
The Blues entered the All-Star break with a season-high seven-game losing streak (0-5-2), but have returned from the time off with a pair of one-goal victories.
These teams have split two meetings this season, with each winning at home. St. Louis has outscored Colorado 10-2 during a three-game home win streak in the series.