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Colorado Avalanche

Malgin, Georgiev Lead Avalanche to Sixth Straight Victory



Colorado Avalanche Denis Malgin NHL

Right now, the Colorado Avalanche are the hottest team in the NHL. And the rest of the Western Conference should be very worried.

Coming off a road trip where they went a perfect 4-for-4, the Avalanche returned home and kept the momentum going. Good goaltending, timely goalscoring, and disciplined hockey were the key in a 5-0 victory over the Chicago Blackhawks. That’s now six in a row for the surging Avalanche, and 21 wins in their last 29 games.

The win moves the Avalanche into a tie with the Minnesota Wild at 88 points, and within one point of the Dallas Stars for first place in the Central Division. The Avalanche currently have a game in hand on both of those teams.

First Period

It was a bit of a strange first period for the Avalanche, as their fourth line was really strong but the other three lines struggled to get any sustained pressure offensively.

That fourth line worked hard to get everything started, though.

After a long shift in the offensive zone, Matt Nieto sent the puck to the point. Brad Hunt passed it over to his defensive partner Kurtis MacDermid, who looked like he might have been throwing the puck in the corner, because it was going about 10 feet wide. The puck ended up banking off the defenders shin pads right into the net, giving the Avalanche the 1-0 lead, and giving MacDermid his first goal of the season.

Both goaltenders made some strong saves, but Alex Stalock had one on Nathan MacKinnon that was pretty jaw-dropping.

MacKinnon was sprung on a break, as he snuck behind the defender and got a nice stretch pass from Brad Hunt. He cut to the net, and let a quick, low shot go. Stalock made the initial save, but the puck bounced right to MacKinnon, who was staring down an empty net. Stalock reached his stick out, making the absurd save, and keeping the Avalanche lead at one.

The Avalanche outshot the Blackhawks 11-10, and went into the first intermission up 1-0.

Second Period

It was another sloppy period offensively for the Avalanche, but the skill difference between the two teams showed up on the scoresheet. Despite the Blackhawks being the team controlling most of the play, the Avalanche were the team that scored twice in the second.

The first of those two goals came 6:17 into the period. Denis Malgin entered the zone with possession, which he loves to do, and dropped it off to Valeri Nichushkin. The Russian winger sent it back to Malgin, and the Swiss forward scored his 9th of the year from a tough angle, extending the Avalanche lead to two.

And on the first powerplay of the game for the Avalanche, the moose got loose.

J.T. Compher sent the puck to Rantanen, who was in his usual office in the right face-off circle. He stepped in and wired a laser over the right shoulder of Stalock for his 47th of the year, giving the Avalanche the 3-0 lead.

Outside of those goals, the Blackhawks had the better of the play. The Avalanche were not crisp with their passing, leading to a lot of extended zone time for the road team. At even strength, the Blackhawks outshot the Avalanche 10-5, but were kept to the outside most of the time. When they did get a good look, Georgiev was there to shut it down.

The Avalanche carried that three goal lead into the third.

Third Period

The period started with bad news for the Avalanche, as Evan Rodrigues never came back from the locker room. The 29 year old forward took a heavy hit in the second period, played the rest of the period, but did not return to the game. There was no update on him after from Jared Bednar.

The Avalanche stepped up their game in the third period, outshooting the Blackhawks 14-5, and added two late goals to finish the game off.

With less than seven minutes left in the game, Malgin sent a centering pass out to Logan O’Connor, who fired a laser beam over the shoulder of Stalock. It was the first goal in 13 games for O’Connor.

Malgin found the scoresheet again just 14 seconds later. MacKinnon whiffed on his shot, and the puck rolled to the front of the net. Malgin got just enough of the puck, deflecting it off the defenseman’s skate and in, giving the Avalanche the 5-0 lead.

Georgiev stopped all 27 shots that came his way, picking up his fifth shutout of the season. The Avalanche walked away with a convincing 5-0 win over the lowly Blackhawks.

They’ll now stay at home, with a big game coming up Wednesday against a desperate Pittsburgh Penguins team. The game starts at 6 PM MST.

Colorado's premier coverage of the Avalanche from professional hockey people. Evan Rawal, Editor-in-Chief. Part of the National Hockey Now family.

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