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 Sharks for the Avalanche.
+ Alexandar Georgiev
While Mackenzie Blackwood went off and had the game of his life, Alexander Georgiev had to sit at the other end and go through long stretches of inactivity. He still had to face good chances, though, stopping a breakaway in the second period, and a clean 2-on-1. He didn’t have to make nearly as many saves as Blackwood, but he had to be good enough to keep his team close, and that’s what he did.
In the shootout, he was dynamite, as he usually is. If I was an opposing team, I wouldn’t really try to make a move on him, because he’s too quick. Hoffman’s attempt didn’t even come close to fooling Georgiev.
The victory gave Georgiev 100 career wins in the NHL. At the rate he’s winning games in Colorado, he might hit 200 within the next three seasons.
– Jonathan Drouin
You saw a lot of things from Drouin that aren’t going to help him earn ice time in Colorado.
For the second straight game, he took an offensive zone holding penalty, and it was the exact same penalty he took just a few days earlier. Along the boards, tied up with an opposing player, but just one hand on his stick and his feet aren’t moving. Those are the things refs look for, and it was too easy for them to call. He had a failed clear in the second when the puck came to him, because he only had one hand on his stick, so he couldn’t corral the puck.
After taking a puck in the face late, he got moved to the third line for the final 10 minutes or so. We’ll see on Tuesday if he’s back up with the top line.
+ Valeri Nichushkin
Nichushkin showed signs of life in the third period against the Kings, but no Saturday night, he might have been Colorado’s best all around forward. The Avalanche out-attempted the Sharks 29-5 with him on the ice, and the second line looked much better. That’s not a coincidence. Nichushkin has to be the play driver on that line, and he was against San Jose.
+ The Fourth Line
The return of Andrew Cogliano meant the Avalanche had a fully functional fourth line that they could use, and Bednar was not afraid to use them. He even had them out late, giving them a shift with under three minutes remaining so that the big guns could rest. Cogliano looked quick and fearless, and was used on the PK in overtime. Olofsson looks really strong down the middle, but has to start winning some face-offs, and O’Connor looks fast. If this trio stays together, they should be in good shape.
– Tomas Tatar
Through two games, I think I’ve noticed Tatar twice. In the first game, it was a clear that he whiffed on that led to a good chance for the Kings, and against the Sharks, it was on his lone shot attempt, which he wired wide of the net. He has zero shots on goal, and has generally been ineffective. It’s still very early, so plenty of time to figure it out, but a really slow start.
+ Situational Face-off Wins
Ryan Johansen went 17-for-28 in the face-off circle, but it sure seemed like when the team needed him to win a face-off to start a powerplay, or with the net empty, he got it done. The win with the net empty allowed the Avalanche to get possession, and the puck never left the zone until they tied it up. That’s one big thing he can add to this team.
+ Wood’s Physicality
I will continue to use the word “chaotic” when describing Miles Wood’s game, because it is. He’s a wild man. He sure seems to understand why the Avalanche brought him in, though. He’s using his big body to his advantage whenever he can. The big hit he threw on Bordeleau in the second nearly took him out as well, and then he came back and plastered Matt Benning into the boards. Solid start for Wood.