But after he gave up a soft goal to Edmonton's Marc-Andre Pouliot in the first period, teammate Milan Hejduk tied it, Budaj buckled down and the Avalanche went on to a 4-1 win over the Oilers on Friday night.
"I knew I had done something that I'd never do," Budaj said of allowing Pouliot to score his first goal of the season. "Instead of making the safe play with my stick, I tried to make the play with my glove."
The Oilers never threatened again.
John-Michael Liles and Wojtek Wolski scored second-period goals in helping the Avalanche to their third straight victory. Tyler Arnason also scored for Colorado, Joe Sakic extended his point streak to five games with two assists, and Brett Clark added two assists.
"That first-period goal was the trigger for us," Colorado coach Joel Quenneville said. "Milan got us a fortunate goal right back and Peter responded after that."
Budaj stopped 18 shots for his third win in as many games. Colorado's first three-game winning streak of the season moved it into a second-place tie with idle Minnesota.
"I had a lot of things going for me," Budaj said. "It wasn't like many of their shots were great chances and a lot of them were hitting me in the chest."
Pouliot's goal was only his second in 17 career games, and Dwayne Roloson stopped 12 of 16 shots for Edmonton, losers in three of four.
Edmonton failed to convert on five power plays. Colorado's power play was 0-for-4 against the NHL's top penalty killing unit.
"We played predictably lethargic," Edmonton coach Craig MacTavish said. "It's disappointing because I thought the game was there for us early."
Edmonton hadn't tested Budaj when Pouliot sent a slow-moving shot that got past Budaj when he didn't smother the puck at 15:31 of the first period.
"It was just a bad goal," Budaj said. "I'm thankful we came back right away."
Hejduk matched Pouliot's goal with a wrist shot from the right circle at 17:37 when Roloson was late moving over to the left side of the crease.
The Oilers appeared to show the effects of playing the night before when they gave up goals to Liles and Wolski in the second period. Liles went end-to-end and got his own rebound to send a shot past Roloson at 2:42.
"I was aggressive on that play," Liles said. "My aggressive play was rewarded."
Wolski picked up a loose puck deep in the neutral zone and beat Roloson from the slot after taking a return pass from Andrew Brunette at 10:18 of the period to give the Avalanche a 3-1 lead.
Arnason's 10th goal of the year made it 4-1 at 3:11 of the third period. The teams were skating 4-on-4 at the time.
The Oilers failed to put a shot on goal in four power plays in the third period.
"This loss didn't have anything to do with us being tired," Edmonton center Toby Petersen said. "It was all about us not sticking with our system."
Notes: G Jussi Markkanen replaced Roloson at 5:11 of the third period and the Oilers trailing 4-1. ... Edmonton's Ryan Smyth missed his seventh straight game with a fractured right thumb. ... Colorado D Patrice Brisbois was a late scratch with the flu. ... Colorado D Karlis Skrastins played in his 465th consecutive game. ... Tyler Arnason had his 100th career assist.