The Colorado Avalanche were dominant on the road last season. It looks like that might be the case again this year.
Backed by the stellar goaltending of Alexandar Georgiev, the Avalanche walked away with their 14th consecutive regular season road victory, defeating the Seattle Kraken by a score of 4-1. Georgiev made 37 saves, and held the Avalanche in the game for the first two periods.
Artturi Lehkonen, Logan O’Connor, Mikko Rantanen, and Valeri Nichushkin were the goal scorers for Colorado. Kailer Yamamoto scored the lone goal for the Kraken, who now fall to 0-3-1 on the season.
Jared Bednar decided to roll with some new lines, but didn’t see a whole lot from the new combinations early. Seattle came out flying, and the Avalanche made their lives a little too easy, thanks to some sloppy play with the puck.
The highlight of period one for Colorado came on the second shift, when Logan O’Connor went toe-to-toe with Jordan Eberle, a direct response to the hit the Seattle forward threw on Andrew Cogliano this past April. It wouldn’t give the Avalanche any immediate momentum, but LOC factored in later.
The lone goal of the period came from Kailer Yamamoto, as he was left alone at the side of the net. He caught Georgiev off his angle, and beat him up high, giving the Kraken the 1-0 lead. Seattle outshot Colorado 16-9, but Georgiev kept it close. That ended up making a big difference when the second period came around.
For at least one shift, Valeri Nichushkin found himself back with Ryan Johansen and Artturi Lehkonen, and it paid dividends. The big Russian crashed the net, causing some mayhem. Lehkonen ended up finding the loose puck, and whipped it past Grubauer, tying the game at one.
The rest of the period was a penalty-fest, and the powerplay for the Avalanche looked pretty ugly. The penalty kill, on the other hand, held up their end of the bargain, and them some.
After a brutal call on Nathan MacKinnon, Devon Toews outworked two Seattle forwards behind the goal line, tipping the puck free for Cale Makar. The defenseman cleared the puck hard around the boards, so hard that it eluded Vince Dunn. That’s when Logan O’Connor reappeared.
The speedy winger caught up to the loose puck, and fired a quick shot past Grubauer’s glove, giving the Avalanche the 2-1 lead shorthanded.
Georgiev made sure they took that lead into the third period. Late in the period, he stopped Yanni Gourde, who was left all alone in front, with a big shoulder save.
Period three was definitely Colorado’s best period, as they stabilized defensively and didn’t give Seattle nearly as much room. They also cleaned up their own play, limiting the turnovers.
With under seven minutes to go, Mikko Rantanen silenced the Seattle crowd on his first shot of the game. Sam Girard, whose had a strong start to the year, hit Rantanen in the slot, and the sniper whipped the puck past Grubauer, giving the Avalanche the 3-1 lead.
Nichushkin added an empty net goal, and Colorado walked away with their 14th consecutive road victory.
They’ll now head back home for a few games, as they take on the Chicago Blackhawks Thursday night at Ball Arena. The game starts at 8:30 MST.