Connect with us

Colorado Avalanche

Georgiev Struggles, Rantanen Exits In 6-2 Loss To Oilers




Alexandar Georgiev looked like he had turned the corner after the All-Star break for the Avalanche, but his last 81 minutes of hockey won’t fill anyone with confidence just two weeks before the playoffs are set to begin.

Colorado’s goaltender didn’t get much help from his defense, as the Avalanche gave up 47 shots just 24 hours after giving up 46 to the Minnesota Wild. Georgiev made some big saves, especially on the penalty kill, but it’s the ones he gave up in the 6-2 loss to the Oilers that leave you scratching your head. Both of Evander Kane’s goals should never have happened, especially his goal at the end of the second period, as Georgiev failed to corral an unscreened perimeter shot with less than five seconds remaining. Coming on the heels of a 44 safe performance by Justus Annunen, some fans may be wondering if he should get the call on Sunday night against the Stars.

To make matters worse, the Avalanche lost Mikko Rantanen to injury after taking a big hit from Mattias Ekholm in the second period. After the game, Jared Bednar said Rantanen will be under evaluation “for a while.”

Jonathan Drouin and Ross Colton scored the goal for Colorado in the loss.

First Period

Giving up early goals has been an issue for Alexandar Goergiev. That didn’t change on Friday.

Georgiev misplayed a dump-in by the Oilers, giving it right back to them. After making the initial stop, the puck went out to the point. Darnell Nurse’s point shot looked like it was going well wide, but Corey Perry deflected it back towards the net, beating the Avalanche goaltender and making it 1-0. Not a bad goal to give up by any means, but the turnover is what started it all.

The Avalanche played with fire in period one, taking two straight penalties, but were able to slow down the deadly Oilers powerplay, keeping it a one goal game. That allowed them to get the next one, as Jonathan Drouin stayed hot, beating Skinner from the slot with a one-timer.

Colorado got the next powerplay, and usually that means two full minutes of the top unit. Not this time, and the second unit took advantage of actually getting on the ice. Ross Colton made a great play to beat Ekholm along the boards. Artturi Lehkonen cut to the net, creating a bit of a diversion, allowing Colton to cut around Henrique and beat Skinner. Despite getting outshot, Colorado had the lead, but not for long.

A point shot from Ekholm went behind the net to Connor McDavid, who is dangerous no matter where he is. McDavid quickly tried to wrap it around, but didn’t seem to get everything on it. That didn’t matter, because it either went off Georgiev or Toews and into the net, tying the game up at two with under three minutes remaining. A lead going into the intermission would have been nice for Colorado after killing off a few penalties, but it wasn’t meant to be.

Second Period

Everything that could have gone wrong in the second period did go wrong for the Avalanche, and it started with losing one of their key players.

Mattias Ekholm caught Mikko Rantanen with his head down along the boards, sending the Avalanche winger to the ice. Rantanen’s head appeared to make contact with that ice, causing him to wobble when getting up. He immediately went to the locker room with the help of Colorado’s trainer and did not return.

Ekholm continued to terrorize Colorado, scoring a flukey goal just minutes later. Lehkonen did a great job tying his stick up on the way to the net, but the puck bounced off Georgiev, hit Lehkonen’s leg, and went right back through the Avalanche goaltender’s legs and into the net. In the process of skating by, Ekholm did make contact with Georgiev, so Colorado challenged the goal, but it stood, meaning Edmonton had a 3-2 lead.

Colorado just didn’t have any legs from playing the night before, but they still looked like they were going to get out of the period down by just one.

Then, disaster struck.

Ryan McLeod stole the puck from Casey Mittelstadt in the neutral zone, and with under five seconds remaining, just let a harmless shot go towards the net. Not harmless enough I guess, because Georgiev couldn’t hold onto it. The puck hit his glove and went back into the slot, bouncing off Evander Kane’s stomach and into the net with just 1.3 seconds left in the period. A devastating goal against, and one Colorado didn’t recover from.

Third Period

Nothing got better in the third. Colorado received two early powerplays, but both of them came after McDavid made it 5-2 with his second of the night. Both of those powerplays had very little energy to them, as the Avalanche just didn’t have it on Friday night.

The Avalanche have a lot to clean up defensively, but goals like the one Evander Kane scored late are what will keep Colorado fans up at night heading into the postseason. Kane came down the left wing and let a soft shot go along the ice. What should have been a pretty easy save slid under Georgiev and into the net, making it 6-2. A frustrated Georgiev held back from breaking his stick on the post, but at that point, the game was already over.

An ugly 6-2 loss and one that makes a Central Division title a little more unlikely. All of that can change with one win, as the Dallas Stars come to Denver on Sunday evening. That game starts at 8 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.

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