AVALANCHE GRADES: A Is For Alexandar (+)
Avalanche 1, Islanders 0 (OT/SO)
Game 30 | Monday, Dec. 19 | Ball Arena
Sometimes you get ‘goalied’ and you lose. Rarely do you get ‘goalied’ and win. That’s what happened tonight at Ball Arena as the New York Islanders’ goalie Ilya Sorokin was outstanding. But, at the other end of the ice and in the Colorado Avalanche net was Alexandar Georgiev, who was up to the task for the home team.
A fitting end in what was an entertaining, if not frustratingly physical and defensive battle all night. The Avalanche claimed the extra point with the 1-0 shootout win thanks to the goaltending play of Georgiev and the fantastic move by Evan Rodrigues to net the only tally of the night.
Here is my first shot at player grades… be kind, I’m a generous grader.
Artturi Lehkonen (B+): Drew a penalty in the second and then hit the post in the slot on the ensuing power play. Was pesky all night, crashing the net (sometimes literally crashing into the net) and was great in possessing the puck for sustained zone time. I thought he was especially strong in the slot.
Mikko Rantanen (A): The best skater on the ice all night for either team. A career-high 10 shots on goal despite not having one in the first period. It felt like he was going to be the player who broke through in the final frame as he had six even-strength shots on goal, but it wasn’t to be. It’s hard to give someone an ‘A’ when being held without a point, but Mikko was all over the place tonight, creating chances for himself and his teammates, while also playing one of the heaviest games I can remember out of him in a long time. His physical play was very noticeable.