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Colorado Avalanche

Georgiev, Avalanche Fight Back To Tie The Series




Could the Colorado Avalanche have asked for a better bounce-back performance from Alexandar Georgiev?

Well, I’m sure. A shutout wouldn’t have been so bad, but they’re not complaining with what they got.

After a few days of heavy scrutiny and an early goal against, Georgiev locked things down, stopping 26 of the final 27 shots he faced to lead the Avalanche to a big 5-2 victory over the Jets. Colorado got off to a slow start, generating just two shots in the first 11 minutes, but really picked things up, controlling most of the game on their way to tying the series up.

It wasn’t necessarily the superstars that led the way for Colorado. Miles Wood, Artturi Lehkonen, Zach Parise, and Josh Manson beat Hellebuyck to help out the road team, while Valeri Nichushkin added an empty netter. Georgiev finished with 28 stops on the night, silencing the critics for at least a few days.

First Period

The energy the Avalanche came out with in Game One wasn’t quite there to start Game Two. You had to expect Winnipeg to clean things up, and they certainly did for the first 10 minutes.

It took just 35 seconds for the fans in Winnipeg to start chanting “Georgiev,” and it took just 3:15 for the Jets to hit the back of the net, although I’m not sure you can really put that one on the goaltender.

A point shot from Dillon caused some havoc in front of Georgiev, but Sean Walker did a good enough job tying up his man directly in front. The problem was that Yakov Trenin lost his guy. David Gustafsson, who was indeed Trenin’s guy, pounced on the loose puck to beat a scrambling Georgiev to make it 1-0.

One group who didn’t have a strong was the officials. All three calls were questionable at best, and neither team was able to capitalize on the powerplay. Georgiev settled down and played well to keep it just a one goal game.

The second half of the first period belonged to the Avalanche. At the 11:36 of the first, Colorado had just two shots on goal. They finished the period with 15, including several good looks. The problem for the Avalanche is that you knew Connor Hellebuyck was going to bounce back from a tough Game One, and he did just that. He was a wall in net, stopping everything Colorado sent his way. With that type of goaltending, the Jets were able to head into the intermission with the lead.

Second Period

The third line that was so good in Game One came to work again on Tuesday, and caught Hellebuyck sleeping just 1:59 into the period.

I would love to know if it was a set face-off play or not, but Ross Colton won the offensive zone face-off and it went right to Miles Wood, who immediately sent it towards the net. Hellebuyck couldn’t see the puck through a screen, and it beat him five-hole, tying the game up.

The upcoming minutes had the potential to change the game completely, one way or the other. Cale Makar took a Kyle Connor stick up high, giving the Avalanche a four minute powerplay. They failed to capitalize on it, as the Jets got in front of all the good looks they had. Connor immediately came out of the box, and the Jets, with fresh players on the ice, scored a massive goal.

Gabe Vilardi hit a streaking Scheifele going to the net, and the Jets star, with one hand on his stick, poked it into the top corner, making it 2-1 Jets. This could have been the turning point of the game, but the Avalanche found a way to bounce back. A little luck doesn’t hurt.

Right before the Avalanche tied the game, the Jets came very close to making it 3-1. Josh Manson turned it over in his own end, giving Kyle Connor a great look in the slot. His initial shot hit the post, and Georgiev was able to stop Vilardi on the rebound, keeping it a one goal game.

Colorado’s top line went the other way and made them pay. A fantastic exchange at the offensive blueline between MacKinnon, Toews, and Makar gave the superstar defenseman plenty of time and space to let a shot go. He sent one to the net, and Artturi Lehkonen tipped it home, tying the game up.

At the 17:20 mark, Colorado’s new-look fourth line made Hellebuyck pay for his mistake. He came out to play the puck, but didn’t see Yakov Trenin coming down on him. The Avalanche forward poked the puck away from him to Cogliano, who sent it to the front of the net. Zach Parise’s initial shot was stopped, but he cleaned up the rebound, giving the Avalanche the 3-2 lead.

With just 6.9 seconds left in the period, the Avalanche scored an even bigger goal.

Both Manson and Vilardi were in the box serving matching minors, and Colorado took advantage of the penalty box being closer to Hellebuyck in the second period. Ehlers slipped in the offensive zone, turning the puck over to MacKinnon. The Avalanche superstar spotted Manson coming out of the box, and hit him for a breakaway. Manson showed some quick hands, opening up Hellebuyck’s legs and beating him five-hole, making it 4-2. A massive goal for the Avalanche, extending their lead to two heading into the intermission.

Third Period

Period three was a masterclass in defending by the Avalanche. They weren’t perfect, and they didn’t generate a ton of shots on net, but they gave up very little of quality. The most dangerous chance for the Jets came late on a powerplay, but as he was most of the night, Georgiev was up to the task. His biggest stop came on a wide open Ehlers from the circle, and from that point on, the Jets didn’t generate much.

Valeri Nichushkin added an empty net goal to secure victory for the Avalanche.

The series now shifts back to Denver, with a few days in between. Game Three between these teams will take place on Friday at 8 PM MST.

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