MONTREAL – Budaj on facing two penalty shots, Semin’s blast, and Cunneyworth gives credit where credit is due.
Double duty: With penalty shots being a relatively rare occurrence in a hockey game, Peter Budaj likely figured his duties in that department were done after he stopped Troy Brouwer’s second period attempt. As fate would have it, Budaj would close out his night saving only 50% of the penalty shots he faced after another was awarded to the Caps’ Alexander Semin in the game’s third frame.
“No, I can’t think of the last time where I had to face two penalty shots in the same game. But at the same time, both shots were deserved. On the first one, I threw my stick, so that’s what it was called right away. On the second one, Semin was hooked a little and got the call. It is what it is,” expressed Budaj post-game after facing the 45th and 46th penalty shots to take place in the NHL this season. Semin’s goal would be the 20th scored in such circumstances with the league’s netminders making stops on the other 26 attempts.
All’s fair in penalty shots: Of the two penalty shots taken on Budaj Saturday afternoon, Semin’s was clearly the less conventional one, but also the more effective. Opting out of the usual deke approach, Semin instead chose to blast a slap shot from well below the hash marks and only a few feet from the Habs’ netminder. While some considered releasing a cannon from such close range bad form, Budaj himself, had a different opinion.
“Of course it was kosher. Why wouldn’t it have been? I’m a goaltender, I’m wearing a lot of expensive gear,” grinned Budaj who after Saturday’s tilt pulled even with Carey Price at 250 games played in the NHL. “Give him credit though, it was a nice shot – I thought he was going to wind up and deke. He took the shot instead and it went high glove-side on me. It’s was a tough play to read. You don’t want to be too aggressive because he has really good hands and you know he has a lot of moves in his repertoire.”
Line of fire: While the Habs out-shot the Caps Saturday afternoon, it was the stats in the blocked shots column that ultimately would up making the difference in the final score. The Canadiens blocked a total of 16 shots, compared to the Capitals’ 27, spread out over 12 Washington players.
“You have to give credit to the Capitals. I’m not sure exactly how many shots they blocked tonight, but they found a way to get bodies in our shooting game a lot,” explained Canadiens head coach, Randy Cunneyworth. “On our side, we have to find a way to make sure our shots are reaching the net. That’s what made the difference in the end tonight – our shots weren’t getting to [Tomas] Vokoun and so we weren’t able to pick up any rebounds.”
Justin Fragapane is a writer for canadiens.com.