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Georgiev, Fourth Line Lead Avalanche To Another Win Over Stars




The Colorado Avalanche have owned the Dallas Stars this season.

Come April, that might matter a lot.

Led by a fantastic performance in net by Alexandar Georgiev, and some big goals from their fourth line, the Avalanche moved to 3-0 against the Stars with a 5-1 win on Tuesday night. With the win, the Avalanche now move two points back of the Stars in the Central Division, with one game in hand. The two teams will meet one more time this season in early April at Ball Arena, and these games could be the difference between who gets home-ice advantage come playoff time.

Nathan MacKinnon extended his home point streak to 29 games with two more points. Andrew Cogliano, Mikko Rantanen, and Artturi Lehkonen all chipped in with two points of their own. Georgiev had one of his better nights this season, stopping 33 of 34 shots.

First Period

Both games between these two teams have been very chaotic, and the first period was a continuation of that. One minute in, on there very first shot of the game, the Stars got on the board, quieting the sellout crowd in Denver. The two youngsters on the Stars, Johnston and Stankoven, gave the Avalanche fits in period one, and Stankoven escaped Girard in the slot to give Dallas the lead.

It didn’t take long for the Avalanche to answer.

The fourth line, which has been quiet for a long time, tied the game up, as they executed a 3-on-2 perfectly. Chris Wagner cut to the net, and Andrew Cogliano hit Joel Kiviranta on the opposite side of the ice for a one-timer. Kiviranta buried the shot for his first goal since Dec. 7, making it 1-1.

A few minutes later, the top line got in on the action, sticking with it after a chance off the rush. Nathan MacKinnon’s initial shot was stopped, and Artturi Lehkonen’s rebound attempt was blocked by a Stars defender. The Stars tried to clear the puck, but it hit Rantanen and bounced to MacKinnon. His second shot was stopped, but the rebound came to Rantanen, who scored his second in as many games to give Colorado the lead.

The rest of the period was pretty hectic, with lots of chances at both ends, but Alexandar Georgiev was particularly strong, holding the Stars attack off until the end of the first.

Second Period

Georgiev’s strong play continued into the second, and made a huge difference. The Stars created a lot of scoring chances in the first seven minutes of the period, many of which came of Colorado mistakes, but Georgiev was particularly strong. His best stop might have come off Jamie Benn in the slot, as he made the glove save look particularly easy.

Those saves really mattered, because the Avalanche woke up and started to take advantage of a tired Stars team. At 7:09, the fourth line contributed again, with Chris Wagner chipping the puck past a Stars defenseman, creating a 2-on-1 for his team. Andrew Cogliano took it to the net by himself, beating Oettinger over the glove and making it 3-1.

Not even 40 seconds later, the Avalanche turned this game into a route. Dallas let Nathan MacKinnon take the puck to the net with absolutely no resistance, something no NHL team should ever do. Colorado probably doesn’t mind, though. MacKinnon skated through the crease and beat Oettinger over the blocker with a backhand, making it 4-1.

A few minutes later, Wyatt Johnston shot the puck over the glass, sending Colorado to the powerplay. While the first 50 seconds of the powerplay didn’t look great, a beautiful passing play between Rantanen, Jonathan Drouin, and Lehkonen ended with Lehkonen being gifted a wide-open cage, so open that it didn’t matter his shot missed the empty part of the net. The shot bounced off Oettinger’s pad and into the net, making it five unanswered goals for Jared Bednar’s team.

Georgiev made another big stop on another 2-on-1 towards the end of the period, and Colorado took the big lead into the intermission.

Third Period

In the third period, we saw a Stars squad that had shut down. They knew this one was over, and they just played the game out. Georgiev stopped all eight shots sent his way, and Colorado walked out away with the 5-1 win.

The Avalanche will now head onto the road for a quick road trip, as they’ll take on Chicago on Thursday evening. That game starts at 7 PM MST.

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