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Avalanche Game 61 Plus/Minus: Rantanen’s Frustrations, Georgiev Bounces Back



Avalanche Kraken

The Colorado Avalanche let an important point slip away late against the Kraken. And when it got to overtime, all they could do was watch, as Seattle didn’t even let them come close to touching the puck.

The top players on the Avalanche were not at their best, and one of their best players lost his cool. Again.

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 Kraken.

– Mikko Losing His Cool. Again

Less than two months ago, Rantanen took unsportsmanlike conduct penalties in back to back games for yelling at the refs. This is what he said a few days later.

It’s probably better to just try to stay cool. It’s tough when you lose games, and those things happen when you disagree. It happens quick. I think the best way, from here on out, for myself and for us leaders and the whole team, is focus on what we can do. The less we talk to the refs, the more they’re going to give calls to us. Probably just have to focus on our game.

Well, it happened again. And his coach nearly benched him for it.

I don’t know what the TV’s showed, but at the end of the second period, Rantanen followed the refs to center ice. He was clearly unhappy about a missed call, and was talking to them. Then he made a hooking gesture with his stick, followed by yelling at the ref. That’s when the ref turned around and gave him an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty.

You can be frustrated with the ref calling the penalty, sure, as well as missing calls. But this is not the first this has happened with Rantanen this season. Jack Johnson had already been called for a penalty moments before, so by taking a penalty, Rantanen put his team in an even tougher spot. It was a selfish move. The team killed off the penalties, but putting your team in that position is unacceptable from one of the leaders on the team.

Rantanen leads the team with 23 minor penalties this season. That ties him for eight most in the league. He’s too important to this team to be spending so much time in the box.

– The Overtime

The last time the Avalanche and the Kraken went to overtime, the Kraken controlled the puck for most of the extra period. They just did nothing with it.

On Sunday, the Avalanche didn’t even touch the puck in overtime. And a bad change by Compher and Toews gave the Kraken an easy breakaway, allowing them to walk away with the win. Too easy.

+ The 5-on-3 Kill

The Kraken got their chances, but the Avalanche did a very good job of keeping everything to the outside. Anytime the Kraken tried to get Georgiev moving side to side for an easier look, the penalty killers got their sticks on the puck. And when they did get shots through, Georgiev was there to stop them.

This really should have given the Avalanche momentum for the rest of the period. Unfortunately, it did not.

+ Alexandar Georgiev

He wasn’t the main cause of the loss to Dallas, as the team in front of him didn’t help him out a whole lot. Still, you wanted to see the starting goaltender on the team bounce back with a big performance. Georgiev did just that.

In the second period alone, he had to stop two breakaways, and another semi-break. He stood tall on the 5-on-3 in the third period, and was great on the penalty kill all night long. After the game, he was frustrated, probably because he played well and the team in front of him looked like they were stuck in mud. Regardless, he was their best player on the evening.

– The Top Players

After the game, Bednar said that he didn’t like how his top players played. It’s really hard to disagree.

MacKinnon had the great goal in the first period, but didn’t do much the rest of the evening. That goal was his only shot on net at even strength. His turnover late in the third period allowed the Kraken to tie the game up, and only Nieto had worse possession numbers than the superstar center.

Rantanen only finished with one even strength shot on net himself, and as mentioned above, he completely lost his cool. Makar looked better than he did yesterday, and hit the post late, but didn’t have his ‘A’ game. Nichushkin looked like a guy who had been playing sick, and Byram had an off-night as well.

Hard to win when a lot of your best players don’t play anywhere close to their best.

– Jack Johnson

This was one of those games where he stuck out, and not in a good way. MacKinnon had the turnover on the game-tying goal, but the Kraken were able to keep the puck in the zone because Johnson failed on a zone exit. He had the worst possession numbers on the defense, and every defenseman performed better when they weren’t paired with him.

+ The New Fourth Line

It was a strange combination that included two players who were on the second line not too long ago, but it worked. They produced a nice goal and had some good zone time. Newhook and Malgin were the only skaters to finish with positive possession numbers on the Avalanche.

+ Erik Johnson’s Health Status

I saw Johnson after the game, and he was walking around without a boot on. Someone mentioned to me that the broadcast said he skated in the morning. It must have been before everyone, because no one saw it. The Avalanche said they would know more about Johnson’s injury status this week, and maybe this is a good sign.

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