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 for the Avalanche.
+ Alexandar Georgiev
If there were any fears that Alexandar Georgiev was a flash in the pan, he may be putting those fears to rest. The Avalanche were incredibly sloppy to start this game, but Georgiev held them in it long enough for the team to convert on a few chances.
He looks extremely confident so far. I’m far from a goalie expert, but he’s standing tall in net. Everyone knows about his athleticism, but when he makes himself big, it’s got to be hard for shooters. The save he made on Larsson in the second stood out, as he lifted his chest up to make the save, and he followed it up by covering the puck, not allowing a rebound. He is dialed in.
O’Connor came into the game with a plan, and executed it to perfection. The Avalanche must have gotten a hint about Seattle’s line deployment, because LOC being on the ice with Eberle immediately was not a coincidence. Good for him standing up for his linemate and mentor, Andrew Cogliano.
And, oh yeah, the shorthanded goal (and game winner) didn’t hurt either. O’Connor is a streaky scorer, and tends to score a lot of his goals early in the year, but this was a nice one. He’s had a solid start, especially on the PK.
– The First Period
I feel like I witnessed that exact first period 7 times a few months back…
Seattle made life miserable for the Avalanche early, and Colorado didn’t make it any easier on themselves, turning the puck over in the neutral zone a few too many times. Colorado plays Seattle a few more times in the next month. Let’s see if they can adjust at all.
– The Powerplay
They only got two opportunities, but they were pretty ugly attempts. The first powerplay in particular was hideous, with the top unit not even finding a way to set up in the offensive zone.
The team has just one powerplay goal on the year, but their last handful of attempts haven’t been pretty. Luckily, it didn’t come back to bite them tonight, partly because the other special teams group is holding up their end of the bargain.
+ The Penalty Kill
The PK continues to be a bright spot for the team through three games, and tonight, they chipped in with a shorthanded goal. That means the PK has scored more goals than they’ve given up (zero). That won’t be the case for long, but it’s a fun stat for now.
I feel like I could have Devon Toews in the + category every single night, but I’ll give him a shoutout in this section. His reads were on point against the Kraken, and his work on the O’Connor goal was incredible. He out worked two Kraken forwards to get the puck, leading to the game winning goal at the other end.
– Line Chemistry
The moves to start the game with Nichushkin on the top line and Drouin on the second line did not really pay off in any meaningful way. Nichushkin played a big role in Lehkonen’s goal, but on that shift, he returned to the second line spot he occupied the first two games.
I’m sure Bednar will try multiple lines to get things going, but right now, the only surefire combination in the top nine is MacKinnon and Rantanen. The third line has struggled to get any extended offensive zone time through three games, although I did like Tatar more in this game. With all the new pieces, it’s all about finding the right fits for everyone.
– Olofsson’s Face-Off Percentage
Whether or not you believe face-off’s are important, you can’t put up a goose egg two games in a row. That’s what Fredrik Olofsson has done this week.
At the moment, he sits 2-for-20 in the face-off circle, and hasn’t won a face-off since opening night. He’s earning Bednar’s trust, as he surpassed 10 minutes in this game, but he’ll need to start improving in the face-off circle soon.
– The Defensive Pairs
Toews and Makar are simply too good together to break up, but the other two pairs aren’t on the same page.
I’ve been really happy with Sam Girard’s start, but as a duo, he and Byram don’t work. At one point, they collided together in the neutral zone.
Manson and Johnson are kind of the same. In the third, Johansen won a face-off cleanly in the defensive zone, and Johnson reversed it back to Manson, who wasn’t ready for it. Seattle ended up taking the puck and getting possession.
The team is winning, but I have to imagine a mix up comes at some point…right?