Connect with us

Colorado Avalanche

Avalanche Game 21 Plus/Minus: Confident Drouin, Dominant Penalty Kill



avalanche lightning

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 Lightning for the Colorado Avalanche.

+ Alexandar Georgiev

He cut off all his hair before heading to the rink today. After morning skate, Fredrik Olofsson looked over and told him it looked good. New haircuts are stressful for everyone, okay? Maybe that boost got him going for the night, because he was locked in right from the drop of the puck.

There might not be a more dangerous player in the league right now than Nikita Kucherov, and he had a clear breakaway on Georgiev early in the game. The Avalanche netminder did a great job of staying with Kucherov, and making sure he didn’t lose positioning with his glove hand, even though Kucherov was moving towards his blocker side a bit.

Georgiev is normally dominant on breakaways, which is why he was a little upset after the game that Cirelli beat him on one, but he has nothing to be upset about after that performance. He was a big reason why the Avalanche won. The reality is that you’re going to give up shots against a team like that, and you need your goalie to make some saves. Georgiev had to make a lot of them, and a fair bit of them were difficult, but that’s what you need. It’s what they haven’t consistently gotten from him this year, so they’ll need more of it.

+ That Drouin Rush…

This rush is the true sign that Jonathan Drouin is playing with some confidence.

– The Bowen Byram Penalties

I actually got into a small debate in the press box tonight. Granted, we only saw a quick replay of it, but it looked like he mostly got stick to me when he went for the stick lift. Maybe I’m wrong, and again, we only saw the replay once, but that’s what I saw.

Still, he’s getting caught in some tough positions out there and taking penalties as a result. Some of them are bad luck. The puck over the glass stuff? Having three consecutive games with those is a little bit of bad luck, in my opinion. All the stick penalties are what I’m not a fan of, and he now leads the NHL with 15 minor penalties.

+ Tomas Tatar

It’s not all rainbows and sunshine after a two assist game. In fact, if Artturi Lehkonen came back tomorrow, I think Tatar is the guy who would exit the lineup, but he did do some other things that helped the team outside of a few assists.

Beyond assisting on the two goals, he drew the penalty that led to the Cale Makar goal. Just before the second Johansen goal, he got in front of Brayden Point’s shot, which sent the play the other way.

He’s got work to do to get where he needs to be, but with Lehkonen not returning any time soon, he’ll get a bit of leeway to find his game.

+ The Fourth Line

There is absolutely nothing flashy about the three of these guys together, but they get the job done. In a game where the rest of the Avalanche lines were giving up some shot attempts, this line really didn’t. With these three on the ice, the Lightning only registered one shot on net.

What I find interesting is how adaptable all three are. At any point in a shift, you’ll see a different forward covering the center down low in the defensive zone. It’s not just Fredrik Olofsson doing it. In fact, I feel like I saw Joel Kiviranta playing the role of center in the defensive zone more than Olofsson.

Kiviranta has been such a tremendous addition for what he’s being asked to do. I doubt there are betting odds on something like this, but I have to imagine there is no way he’s playing for the Eagles again this year. He’s here to stay.

+ The Penalty Kill

Jared Bednar called it the best powerplay in the NHL, and Nikita Kucherov has been unstoppable with the man advantage. On Monday night, the Avalanche shut them down.

The Lightning still got their chances, like any team that has an extra attacker will, but when they broke down, Georgiev was there to clean things up.

It’s a lot of the new guys chipping in to help. Miles Wood has only been on the ice for one powerplay goal against in 25 minutes of PK time, while Kiviranta still has not surrendered one.

– A Little Turtle

When the game was 3-0, it never felt like the Lightning were going to come back, but the Avalanche did go into a bit of a shell. They stopped pushing the pace as much as they did early in the game, and sat back a bit more. With a lead like that and over half the game remaining, score effects will come into play, but I still would have liked to see them do a bit more offensively in the second half.

+ An Entertaining Game

After the ugly affair that was Saturday night’s game against the Calgary Flames, it was nice to watch real hockey again. That first period was incredibly entertaining. The rest of the game wasn’t as fun, but it was a much more enjoyable game to watch overall.

+ Jack Johnson Says “Scoreboard”

When you’re winning a game and someone tries to start something late on the opposing team, there’s no better comeback than to just point at the scoreboard. Seeing Jack Johnson do it was a little surprising, but appropriate.

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

This site is in no way associated with the Colorado Avalanche or the NHL. Copyright © 2023 National Hockey Now.