Mackenzie Blackwood may have played arguably the best game of his NHL career, but it still wasn’t enough to beat the Colorado Avalanche.
It took 49 shots, but the Avalanche were finally able to solve the San Jose Sharks netminder late, tying the game up with under 2 minutes remaining, thanks to a Cale Makar goal. In the shootout, their own goaltender stole the show, and Mikko Rantanen was the only skater to find the back of the net, giving Colorado the 2-1 shootout victory.
Blackwood finished the evening with 51 shots, and certainly was responsible for his team coming away with one point.
At the other end, Alexandar Georgiev stopped 20 of the 21 shots he faced to record his 100th career victory in the NHL.
Colorado came out flying, out-attempting the Sharks 24-12 at even strength, but MacKenzie Blackwood (and his friends) did a great job holding the Avalanche off the scoresheet. The first powerplay for the Avalanche was particularly dominant, with Artturi Lehkonen sending a rebound through Blackwood’s legs and out the other side, but they couldn’t quite finish.
Less than halfway through the period, the Sharks, who had just two shots on goal at that point, got on the board first. A Matt Benning point shot was deflected past Georgiev by Thomas Bordeleau, who was left uncovered in front of the net.
The Avalanche would keep coming, but couldn’t push the puck past the goal line. A wide open MacKinnon got a shot past Blackwood, but it died behind the goaltender, allowing the Sharks defenders to clear the puck. Moments later, Ryan Johansen looked like he was about to score his first goal in a Colorado uniform, but Jan Rutta came out of nowhere and got his stick in the way, allowing the Sharks to carry their 1-0 lead into the second period.
Colorado carried the majority of the play again, but in the second, they gave up some good chances for the Sharks when they got too aggressive. Fortunately for them, Alexandar Georgiev was up to the task.
Georgiev made a big glove save on a Zetterlund breakaway, and stopped Hoffman on a 2-on-1 to keep the Avalanche within one. Blackwood, meanwhile, kept doing his thing, and stopped all 15 shots he faced, keeping the score 1-0 heading into the third period.
Halfway through the third period, it sure looked like the Avalanche were just never going to solve Blackwood. The Sharks goaltender looked unbeatable, and his best save of the night came in the third, when he robbed Cale Makar with his blocker on a rebound opportunity.
Colorado simply could not solve the netminder, and their last resort was pulling Georgiev late for the extra attacker…which worked.
A nice pinch by Makar kept the puck in the zone, and it eventually found its way back to the best defenseman in the world. He walked the puck to the center of the ice, and with Nichushkin and Lehkonen providing a screen, fired it past Blackwood, who never saw the puck. On their 49th shot of the evening, the Avalanche were able to tie the game up, and send it to overtime.
Overtime and Shootout
Colorado was forced to kill off a MacKinnon penalty in overtime, and their penalty kill came through again. They got a late powerplay with under 30 seconds left, but couldn’t capitalize, sending the game to a shootout.
In the shootout, Georgiev was perfect, as he’s proven to be one of the better shootout goalies in the NHL. At the other end, the Avalanche only needed one, and Mikko Rantanen provided it with a ridiculous shot.
— Colorado Avalanche (@Avalanche) October 15, 2023
The victory sends the Avs to 2-0 on the season, and they’ll look to finish off a perfect road trip on Tuesday evening when they head to Seattle. It will be their first crack at the Kraken since that squad eliminated them back in April in the first round. The game starts at 8 PM MST.