The Columbus Blue Jackets goalie simply couldn't remember making a tough stop in a 3-0 win over the Colorado Avalanche on Tuesday night. "They had a lot of shots, but not a lot of quality scoring chances," said Norrena, who recorded his second straight shutout. "I didn't have a great save." Norrena stopped 42 shots - including 21 in the second period - as the Blue Jackets won in Denver for the first time in franchise history.
And now Columbus coach Ken Hitchcock has a dilemma - stick with Norrena or play Pascal Leclaire, the primary starter. It's the first time Norrena has started back-to-back games.
"You want to reward shutouts," said Hitchcock, who's seen his goalies allow six goals in the last five games. "But both are going to play.
"There won't be a problem."
It was loud in the Columbus locker room after the game with players yelling and screaming. The Blue Jackets entered the game with a 1-19-1-1 all-time mark against the Avalanche, their lone win being a 5-4 overtime victory in Columbus on Feb. 28, 2004. They had never won at the Pepsi Center (0-9-0-1) until Tuesday night.
"We let it all out," Fredrik Modin said.
That's all they heard about leading up to the game, how they couldn't win in Denver.
But Jason Chimera and Anson Carter staked Columbus to an early lead with goals within a span of 2:38 in the first.
The turning point came late in the second. The Avalanche had a 5-on-3 opportunity, but the Blue Jackets killed both penalties. With 4.3 seconds left in the period, Modin scored his seventh goal of the season on a pass from Manny Malhotra, who was on his knees and falling toward the ice when he sent the puck across the goal crease to the open Modin.
"They're emotional drainers," Hitchcock said of Avs' inability to score on a two-man advantage. "We were caught on our heels in the second period.
"We started to tire. My experience in this building is when you're not used to the altitude, it's always the second period that's the killer. You feel like you have nothing left in the tank after the first period. Luckily, we weren't chasing the game, we had the lead."
Peter Budaj stopped 18 shots. This was a different outcome than 18 days ago when he posted a shutout against Columbus, stopping 25 shots in a 3-0 win.
"It's tough," said Budaj, who played as Jose Theodore missed the game with a hip flexor injury. "I felt pretty good, I was seeing the puck pretty well. I was relaxed."
Relaxed was how Norrena felt much of the game. He's now gone more than 122 minutes without allowing a goal.
And while the rookie hasn't played much this season - this was his seventh start - Hitchcock has seen enough of him to know what he offers.
"I don't know his NHL career, but I've seen him three times playing internationally," Hitchcock said of the goalie who helped Finland win a silver medal at the 2006 Olympics. "He's a very good goalie.
"He's been in a lot of big games. He's very composed in the goal. Both goalies are exceptional."
For Adam Foote, the Blue Jackets' first win inside the Pepsi Center had added meaning. He played 13 seasons with Quebec-Colorado.
"The first time my family came back (to Colorado) was this trip," Foote said. "Colorado is tattooed in my heart.
"But it's part of the game (moving on) and things happen for a reason. A big part of my life is Colorado. You never know, I've got a shot to do it here right now. But one day I might bring my family back here."
Notes: The game was Colorado's 1,000th since moving to Denver in 1995-96. The Avalanche debut in Denver was a 3-2 win over Detroit on Oct. 6, 1995. ... Columbus has now killed 21 straight power plays over the last five games. The Blue Jackets killed four Tuesday night. ... D Jordan Leopold played his second game since coming off the injured-reserve list Friday following an off-season hernia operation.