The winning ways continued for the Colorado Avalanche on Tuesday night.
They have their goaltender to thank for that.
Alexandar Georgiev was the best player on the ice, stopping high end chance after high end chance, as the Avalanche won their sixth straight game, this time by a score of 3-2. The third period was spent mostly in the Avalanche end, but the Bulgarian goaltender held down the fort as the Washington Capitals pushed to tie it.
The victory, coupled with a Minnesota Wild loss, moves the Avalanche into third place in the Central Division.
Artturi Lehkonen, Andrew Cogliano, and Alex Newhook scored the goals for the Avalanche. Logan O’Connor added two assists. Georgiev stopped 37 of the 39 shots he faced.
Conor Sheary and Alex Ovechkin were the goal scorers for the Capitals.
The Avalanche continued their recent trend of starting fast.
8:57 into the first, Nathan MacKinnon was sprung for an odd man rush. Dmitri Orlov, instead of playing the pass, went for the big hit on the star forward. MacKinnon, who is built like a semi-truck, bounced off the hit and got enough of the puck to get it to Lehkonen, who beat Darcy Kuemper over his blocker.
While the Avalanche left the period up by one, the Capitals had the better of the chances. Conor Sheary hit the post early on a rush, and the rest of the period, Georgiev stood tall to keep them off the scoresheet.
The third line brought the offense for the Avalanche in the second period.
Off some hard work behind the net by Cogliano, the puck to Logan O’Connor, who fed Kurtis MacDermid at the point. His shot appeared to be going wide, but hit a crashing Cogliano and went in, giving the Avalanche the two goal lead.
A little over two minutes later, the Capitals got on the board.
Sheary, who hit the post earlier, escaped the much larger MacDermid in front of Georgiev to deflect a shot into the net, cutting the lead back down to one.
It was time for the third line to go back to work.
Off a clean defensive zone face-off win, Newhook took off to the neutral zone. A flip pass from Girard hit O’Connor, who passed it to a flying Newhook. The young forward came in on his off-wing, changed the shooting angle at the last second, and beat Kuemper blocker side to restore the two goal lead. The Avalanche carried that two goal lead into the third period.
In the the third period, the greatest goal scorer the league has ever seen made an appearance. And the entire rink heard it.
Left all alone at the left circle, Ovechkin blasted a puck past Georgiev to cut the lead to one. It was a goal only Ovechkin could score.
That was as close as it would get, though. Georgiev shut the door the rest of the way, including a massive diving save on Gustafson late, to preserve the lead.
The Avalanche look to continue their winning ways on Thursday against the Anaheim Ducks. The game starts at 7 PM MST.