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Johansen, Georgiev Lead Avalanche To Big Win Over Canucks



Avalanche Georgiev

Sure, the Vancouver Canucks were on the second half of a back-to-back, but whenever the top team in the NHL comes to town, you want to make a statement. And for the second time this season, the Colorado Avalanche took care of business on home ice against the talented Canucks squad.

A third period goal by Ryan Johansen, his second of the evening, broke the tie in a tightly contested game between two of the best teams in the West, but it was the Avalanche who came out on top with the 3-1 win. Colorado held the Canucks to just 25 shots on goal, a big defensive performance from a team looking to tighten things up down the stretch.

Nathan MacKinnon extended his home point streak to 27 games with an assist on the empty net goal, and Alexandar Georgiev was great in net, stopping 24 of 25 shots.

First Period

Compared to Sunday’s affair between the Avalanche and Coyotes, the first 20 minutes of the matchup between Colorado and Vancouver moved at warp speed. Both teams came out skating, and the first ten minutes of the opening session were highly entertaining.

There was one difference in the period – one team got a save on a great scoring chance, while the other team didn’t.

Unfortunately, as they have been far too many times this season, the team on the wrong end of it was the Avalanche.

Early in the game, Mikko Rantanen sprung Nathan MacKinnon for a mini-break behind the Canucks defense. Thatcher Demko, one of the best goalies in the league, was up to the task, stopping MacKinnon as he cut across the net.

A few minutes later, the Canucks got a scoring chance on a nearly identical play, and took advantage. Rantanen turned the puck over in the neutral zone on a backhand pass, allowing the Canucks to regroup. Boeser hit a streaking J.T. Miller, who snuck behind the defense, was able to beat Georgiev, making it 1-0 Canucks.

Colorado did get a powerplay, but couldn’t beat Demko, so the Avalanche went into the intermission chasing the game.

Second Period

The second period was more of the same, with both teams showing off their speed while also generally keeping things to the outside.

Early in the second, the Avalanche tied things up off a hard working shift. After some cycling down low, the puck eventually came back to the point. Jack Johnson’s point shot missed the net, but it bounced perfectly off the boards back to the front, where Ryan Johansen was there to tuck it into an empty net. The center is starting to show signs of life over the last few games. Whether or not he can keep it up down the stretch is another story.

Vancouver got their first powerplay of the game soon after, but Colorado’s penalty kill did a tremendous job keeping pretty much everything to the outside, and killed it off.

At the other end, Demko made his best saves of the period off Jonathan Drouin, who had some good looks in front off deflections. The winger wasn’t able to bury anything, but Colorado’s top line was at least generating chances.

Colorado got another powerplay late in the period, and although it didn’t score, they peppered Demko with shots. There’s a reason why he’s one of the best goalies in the world, and he kept the game tied heading into the third.

Third Period

Who is ready for a Ryan Johansen resurgence? Very early in the third period, Johansen put the Avalanche on top with a seemingly harmless shot from the point. Zach Parise did a great job winning a battle in the corner to get the puck, feeding Johansen at the blueline. The center’s shot bounced off Ian Cole, who decided he wanted to try and play goalie in front of his own net, and over Demko’s shoulder, giving Colorado the early lead.

Even though Vancouver was on the second half of a back-to-back, you couldn’t really tell in the third. They kept pushing, and boy did they get close to tying it.

A crazy sequence early in the third period led to Sam Girard and Alexandar Georgiev combining for an absurd save. Girard’s clearing attempt up the boards hit a stick and bounced right into the slot. A quick passing play found Elias Lindholm with the puck at the side of the net, but Georgiev appeared to bat it out from behind him. The puck slid right to Hoglander, who fanned on his shot, but it was still heading into the net. Girard appeared to get a glove on it, deflecting it right into Georgiev’s glove, and sending the sellout crowd into a large chorus of “Georgie!” chants.

Later in the third, another chaotic sequence around the net led to a mass of humanity at Georgiev’s side. The puck eventually slid out behind the net, and to Hronek in front. Georgiev was still recovering, and Hronek opted to wind up for a bomb instead of placing his shot. That allowed Lehkonen to get in front of it, which the crowd really loved. Colorado eventually cleared it and lived to fight another day.

Vancouver got a late powerplay, but Colorado’s penalty kill outworked them. They bent, but did not break, and after an extended shift in their own end, Sam Girard outmuscled J.T. Miller in the corner to clear the puck. The crowd, which was really into the game in the third period, gave Girard a huge ovation as he got off the ice.

With the net empty, Bednar made sure to send out Nathan MacKinnon for a chance to extend his point streak at home, and that’s exactly what he did. MacKinnon hit a wide open Lehkonen to seal the game, and the Avalanche walked away with the 3-1 win at home.

Colorado will now head out on the road for one game, as they’ll be in Detroit Thursday night to play the Red Wings. That game starts at 5 PM MST.

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

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