It wasn’t the prettiest win of the season for the Colorado Avalanche, but you take them any way you can get them this time of year.
Especially against a division rival you’re trying to separate from in the standings.
The Avalanche got a boost from the return of Josh Manson, but it was mostly the Alexandar Georgiev show in net. It took two periods for the Avalanche to get going, but Georgiev held it down in net until they found their legs.
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 Wild.
+++ Josh Manson Returns to Takes Some Souls
The Avalanche got Josh Manson back, and you knew it five seconds into the game. He wasted no time jumping up and crushing Duhaime with an open ice hit. He got Eriksson Ek good in the second period along the wall as well.
His best hit, though, was the destruction of poor Connor Dewar in the third period. Dewar tried to to chip the puck to the middle and Manson played the body, and just annihilated him. The perfect open ice hit.
Manson had some good sticks defensively as well, including stopping a breakaway in the second, and some pokes in the third. You could tell his legs were a bit heavy, but nice to get him back in the lineup. Showed up on the scoresheet as well.
+++ Georgiev the Workhorse
We knew Georgiev was going to play tonight based off what Jared Bednar said after the Tampa loss, but I imagine the Avalanche were hoping to keep his workload a little lighter than they did. It was the second time in three games he’s had to face 40+ shots, and in the last three games total, he’s faced 123 shots.
Far from ideal, but he was the only reason the Avalanche were in this game. Through 40 minutes, the team could only muster up 10 shots on net. The only shots to beat him were a deflection, and Kaprizov wizardry. Georgiev got his revenge on Kaprizov late, though, with a nice glove save.
There’s another back to back this weekend. With two days off, it wouldn’t surprise me to see him play in both of them again.
– Dead Legs
Bednar let it be known how unhappy he is with the scheduling on Tuesday night, and the team having played just 24 hours prior was very noticeable. None of the forwards really had any burst, and they spent most of the night chasing because they didn’t have energy to control the puck.
The Wild had every advantage and still couldn’t find a way to pull out the win.
– Byram Fighting
Bo is a big boy and can take of himself, but I imagine 98% of Avalanche fans did not love seeing him drop the gloves. He came out of the fight just fine, but yeah, not something you hope to see from a guy whose been through what he has. He’s a hockey player, though. He’s going to do what his instincts tell him.
+ Nathan MacKinnon
The Avalanche generated very little in terms of offense, but MacKinnon played a role in two of the three goals, and generated six shots on net on 14 attempts. No one else on the team attempted more than four. He hit the crossbar in the third period too, coming very close to breaking the game open.
It’s a good thing he showed up, because…
– Mikko Rantanen
Rantanen did not.
Well, he showed up, but it wasn’t pretty. Perhaps one of his worst performances of the season, particularly in the defensive zone. He looked a little lost, and couldn’t get anything going offensively. He even managed to miss an empty net with under a minute left.
Just not his night.
+ Denis Malgin
That’s two nights in a row where you’ve gotten a goal from your fourth line. For the majority of the season, that was unheard of. And both belong to Malgin.
There was nothing pretty about this goal. Frankly, it should have been stopped, but Malgin finding a way to get it through the defender in the first place took some skill.
He was feeling it late in the game, too, because instead of dropping the puck to MacKinnon on a break, he took it himself. It didn’t go so well, though, as he missed the net high by a good bit.
+ The Standings
This win provided a big swing in the standings. By closing it out in regulation, the Avalanche now jump two points ahead of Minnesota with a game in hand. The Wild are struggling, too. They’ve lost five of six at the moment.
They would have preferred to win both the games, but a win over Minnesota takes a lot of sting away from the overtime loss to Tampa Bay.