Hejduk Scores Twice, But Avs Fall to Leafs
Winger Now Colorado's Leading Goal Scorer
Thursday, 01.29.2009 / 10:48 PM MT / Features
By Aaron Lopez - Special to ColoradoAvalanche.com
Avs Drop Wild One to Leafs
The Avs and Leafs didn’t play last year and thus were facing off for the first time since Oct. 18, 2006 (a 4-1 Avs victory at the Air Canada Centre). In fact, tonight’s game marked only the second time the Leafs have ever played at Pepsi Center, which opened in 1999-2000.
-With an assist on Stewart’s first-period tally, T.J. Hensick now owns five points (2g/3a) in his last five contests.
-Hejduk has scored four times in Colorado’s last six games.
-After assisting on Hejduk’s first goal and adding another helper on a John-Michael Liles tally in the third period, defenseman Ruslan Salei has now totaled six points (1g/5a) in his past four outings.
-Liles’ tally was the 50th of his career, making him just the fifth blueliner in franchise history to reach that mark.
-Marek Svatos also picked up a helper on Hejduk’s first tally, giving him four points (2g/2a) in Colorado’s last five games.
-Prior to the game Cody McCormick was activated off the Injured Reserve list. McCormick had missed Colorado’s past 15 games with a foot injury. The Avalanche also placed David Jones (shoulder) on the Injured Reserve list today. Jones suffered the injury in the second period of Tuesday’s game against the San Jose Sharks.
Just a Little Bit Longer
Although it officially goes down in the books as a regulation contest, the Avalanche and Maple Leafs actually skated for 60:53 tonight. Avalanche forward Milan Hejduk is partially to blame for that, but not in a bad way.
Just over a minute into the second frame, Hejduk attempted to bang home a puck from just outside the crease, but it was ruled that Toronto netminder Vesa Toskala had made a stick save just prior to the puck crossing the goal line.
Play continued until the clock read 17:46, when the next stoppage of play occurred. After the referees reviewed the play, the call was overturned and Hejduk was credited with the goal. The clock was then reset to 18:39, which was the time of the tally.
Hejduk’s goal was his first of two on the night, giving the 2009 NHL All-Star 17 markers to overtake linemate Ryan Smyth as the team’s leading goal scorer.
Hejduk appeared to complete the hat trick 5:45 into the third period, but his goal was waved off as Ryan Smyth was called for goaltender interference.
“It was at least a suspect call. I didn’t see much contact there," said Hejduk. "Just maybe a little bit but it looked like a regular goal to me but the referees had a different opinion. I don’t want to say it was a turning point but it definitely would have helped us.”
Almost Like Home
Chris Stewart tallied the Avalanche’s first goal Thursday night against the team he grew up watching. A Toronto native, Stewart spoke following Thursday’s morning skate about how excited he was to play the Maple Leafs.
“I was a huge Leafs fan growing up in Toronto, probably for the 18 years I lived in Toronto before I moved away for hockey,” said Stewart. “I always remember – from when I was about five years old – watching the Leafs and Canadiens and probably falling asleep before the second period started. But that was definitely a fond memory growing up.
Although he missed Wednesday’s practice with flu-like symptoms, Stewart felt well enough to play tonight and now has seven points (4g/3a) in his last seven games.
One Man Down
Defenseman Kyle Cumiskey suffered a shoulder injury just seconds prior to Toronto’s opening goal – which occurred 1:52 into the contest on Cumiskey’s first shift – and did not return. That meant the Avalanche played nearly the entire game with only five blueliners.
Each of Colorado’s five remaining defenseman logged at least 20 minutes of ice time, with Scott Hannan leading the way at 26:20.
Daniel Tjarnqvist was the healthy scratch on defense tonight for the Avs, who hope Adam Foote (triceps) will be back in the lineup soon. Foote has been practicing lately, but hasn’t yet received the green light to return to game action.