Sometimes you need your goaltender to win you one. That’s what happened on Tuesday for the Colorado Avalanche.
The team looked sloppier than they have in the last week, but Alexandar Georgiev was there to hold down the fort, as the Avalanche won their sixth straight game. The Avalanche now have just two games left before they hit the All-Star break. With the win, they moved into third place in the Central Division.
As with every game, you take the good with the bad, so time to take a look at the pluses and the minuses in the game against the Capitals.
+++ Alexandar Georgiev
In terms of shot attempts, the game was relatively even through two periods, but in terms of chances, the Capitals had the better looks.
It didn’t matter, though, because Georgiev was the best player on the ice. His save on Erik Gustafsson with under two minutes left was one of his best of the season. It was so unbelievable that I didn’t actually think the puck got through to him in the first place. In the first two periods, he made a number of saves with his quick legs, including a big one on Marcus Johansson in front of the net late in the first.
That is now three straight wins for Georgiev after a little break. He’s looked quick and confident, a lot like the goaltender the team saw the first two months of the year.
+ Sam Girard
A lot of the defenders for the Avalanche looked slow most of the night. Girard was not one of them.
He was moving his feet all night long, even dumping the puck in and chasing it himself at times during the night. It was the type of game the team needed with Makar missing again. His flip pass on the game winning goal was executed to perfection, as that was a clear set play off the face-off win.
Even with the heavy push from the Capitals in the third, he finished positive in terms of shot share, and was highest among all the defensemen. A big difference from last game.
– The Second Line
The second line has been a huge of the teams success during this winning streak, but this was not a good night.
Most of their evening was spent defending, as they struggled to get the puck out of the zone and couldn’t get a cycle going offensively. Mikko Rantanen was on the ice for 17 of the Capitals 33 even strength shots on net, far and away the highest on the team.
+ The New Third Line
This is easily the most confident Alex Newhook has looked at center this season. Maybe playing with two straight forward wingers has something to do with it.
Newhook’s goal belongs on the highlight reel, as that’s a very difficult move to pull off at high speed. Changing the angle like he did at the last second on Kuemper is a high skill play.
The Cogliano goal? That was all grunt work. He fought and battled for that puck behind the net to dig it out to O’Connor, and then was rewarded for crashing the net.
With the team finally getting back to health, it seems like they’ve settled in on some line combinations that are working at the moment. Consistency has been good for the squad.
+ Jared Bednar
He was sick of hearing about it, but it’s now official: Jared Bednar is the winningest coach in franchise history.
Tonight was his 266th victory behind the Avalanche bench, passing Michel Bergeron for the franchise record. He did it in 500 games. That may not seem that fast, but when you think back to how poorly that first season went, it’s incredible that he got there this quickly.
He is the best coach the franchise has ever seen, and I’m not sure it’s all that close.
– Sloppy Clears
The third period was full of failed zone exits by the Avalanche. A lot of that was just poor puck management when they had chances to get it out.
On the Ovechkin goal, MacKinnon tried to chip it past Dylan Strome for a break. Instead, it turns around and is in the back of the Avalanche net five seconds later. Later, Anton Blidh just had to chip the puck past his defender for a clear, but he tried to make a move to his backhand and had it taken off his stick.
Teams always push hard in the third down by a goal, but the Avalanche put a lot more pressure on their goaltender than they needed too with some sloppy clears.
+ Ben Meyers
It feels like he’s never going to score, but he had his looks against Washington. Most importantly, he was decisive with the puck. Rather than looking to pass or make an extra move, he was shooting. Kuemper stopped him on a great chance early, and got a shoulder on another Meyers shot in the second.
He even got a shift in the second period with MacKinnon and Lehkonen. That’s when you know the coaching staff is happy with your game.