Avalanche: Three Things We Learned From the Last Week
It has not been the best of times for the Colorado Avalanche.
After dropping five straight games, they were able to snap their losing streak on Saturday night with a come from behind victory in overtime against the Edmonton Oilers.
While they finished with a record of 1-2 over the last seven days, there were a few things we did learn about the Avalanche.
Evan Rodrigues’ Importance
On Saturday, the Evan Rodrigues returned to the Avalanche lineup.
The impact was noticeable immediately.
Without Rodrigues, the team lacked transition forwards beyond Nathan MacKinnon and Mikko Rantanen who could carry the puck through the neutral zone and gain entry to the offensive zone easily. With him back, they now have the ability to spread the offense around more.
And on Saturday, they did.
Jared Bednar broke up Rantanen and MacKinnon, a move that could only happen with Rodrigues’ return. The 29 year old stepped onto the top line with MacKinnon and showed immediate chemistry with him. That’s something he’s been able to do with multiple players since coming to Colorado.
He noticed two assists in his return to action, and set up MacKinnon for several other great looks.
An unrestricted free agent again after the season, it looks like Rodrigues is a player that the Avalanche will need to find a way to keep around a lot longer.
Georgiev Has Fight
Against the Vegas Golden Knights and Vancouver Canucks, the Avalanche hung Alexandar Georgiev out to dry for extended periods of time.
The frustration set in.
After giving up three goals in under four minutes against the Canucks, Georgiev had seen enough. He took his goal stick and tried to shatter it across the crossbar. His team, outshot 11-0 to end of the second period, was collapsing.
Normally you don’t love seeing your goalie lose their cool, but I didn’t mind this. Georgiev, in his short time in Colorado, has shown to be very competitive. You can see it on the ice when things get chaotic as well. He’s always battling.
And maybe the team needed it. The team bounced back against the Oilers to end the skid, and Georgiev was rewarded with a victory after a pretty strong week.
Depth Scoring Issues Remain
Part of what made the victory over Edmonton so great was a big goal from an unlikely source.
Veteran defenseman Brad Hunt scored the tying goal halfway through the third period, allowing the Avalanche to get the game to overtime.
They will need more of that.
Too many players on the team are slumping. Logan O’Connor has now gone 26 games without a goal. Ben Meyers has one goal in 18 games. Andrew Cogliano has one goal in his last 14 games. Alex Newhook has one in his last 15 games. Martin Kaut has one in 24. Heck, even Artturi Lehkonen, playing on the top line, has one goal in his last 11 games.
Most of these players provide more value to the team than just goal scoring, but you need everyone chipping in to win consistently. With some players returning from injury, these guys will be pushed down the lineup into roles they’re probably better suited for.
Hopefully that kick starts some of them offensively.