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Avalanche Game One Plus/Minus: Zooming Walker, Overtime Georgiev



Avalanche Stars

t’s time for playoff plus/minus! As with every game, you take the good with the bad, so time to take a look at the pluses and the minuses in Game One against the Dallas Stars for the Colorado Avalanche.

– Slow Start

As many expected, the Avalanche came out and did look like a team that hadn’t played in a week. It wasn’t all bad, as they did create some scoring chances, with Cale Makar hitting the post on a nice rush, but when you’re rusty, the details in your game just aren’t there. Colorado got lost in their own end on the first goal, and then found themselves in penalty trouble as the period went on. You do have to wonder if this would have come back to bite them a bit more against a team that wasn’t just running on fumes the final 50 minutes, but they managed to survive.

+ Josh Manson’s Save.

All the credit can’t go to Josh Manson on this one. Alexandar Georgiev does a great job of staying with Jame Benn and forcing him into a tough angle. I’m still not even sure that puck is going in, but you don’t want a puck sliding along the goal line either way. Manson was there to save the day, clear the puck, and the Avalanche were able to get into the intermission without more damage being done.

+ Sean Walker

I loved everything about Walker’s game. He was skating, joining the rush, and even showed off some physicality. I don’t remember who it was, but he plastered someone with a reverse hit at the blueline. We haven’t really seen that part of his game come up much. He finished the night with the lowest expected goals against on the team and wasn’t on for a whole lot of dangerous chances towards Georgiev (outside of the one you’re about to see).

+ Overtime Georgie

We’ve probably spoken about this before, but being a goaltender and not being in any sort of rhythm has to be difficult. Over the final two periods of play, the Stars registered just seven shots on goal. It can be tough to keep your head in the game when something like that happens, but Georgiev came out in the extra period ready to go.

Just after this save, he was forced to stop Wyatt Johnston, who snuck away from everyone and was all alone in front of the net. He didn’t have to make a ton of big saves (I do remember a nice glove stop in the third), but when he was needed, he was there for them late.

– Rantanen’s Undisciplined Play

I still really haven’t seen a replay of the second penalty, and the press box is on the moon, so it was hard to get a clear idea of what happened, but Mikko Rantanen didn’t seem terribly happy with that one. The first one seemed pretty obvious to me. Dadonov did a good job of selling it when he felt the pressure of Rantanen coming, but they’ll call that one 95% of the time. There was a moment in the second where I thought the refs were going to give Rantanen a third, but he managed to stay out of the box that time. When he gets frustrated, things can start to come unraveled. Offensively, he created a fair bit, which we’ll get to, but when I get worried is when he starts yelling at the refs. That’s when he has a tendency to take it a bit too far.

+ Dominant Top Line

The top line got stuck on the ice for the first goal against, and after that, the Stars had no answer for them.

Scoring chances were 11-3 in favor of the Avalanche with the top line on the ice, and it looked that way. After the game, Pete Deboer seemed incredibly frustrated that Colorado was able to get offense out of their big guns, while the Stars couldn’t get enough from their guys.

That’s just what can separate this team from the opposition. They have the big guns that can turn the tide in their favor, and most other teams can’t match that. It’s the ultimate trump card for Colorado, and while the Stars have some good players, they aren’t at the caliber of a Nathan MacKinnon or Cale Makar. Here’s Deboer kind of calling out his stars…

“We had some opportunities in overtime, but at the end of the night when you look at the score sheet, their big guys delivered and are all over the score sheet,” Deboer said. “A couple of our guys were, but some of our scoring has to step up. We’ve been waiting for a series plus a game for some of that.”

– The In-Arena Show

I loved the whiteout. It’s basic and pretty straightforward, but I loved it. However, the thing I loved about it is that it wasn’t all showy. There weren’t lasers, there wasn’t some big show on the Jumbotron. Nope, it was just fans wearing white and going insane.

The Stars in-arena show was confusing and almost seizure inducing. I’ve never seen so much green in my life. The intro was like a cheap sci-fi show with some fake superhero, and the payoff was a bunch of aliens? They’re calling it Plaioffs2024, with the different spelling referring to AI. At times, they would cut to people in the crowd and turn them into aliens. They’re named the Stars, which are obviously in outer space, but the alien part of it all was not really explained a whole lot.

+ The Powerplay

2-for-2. Can’t do any better than that. The Stars gave the Avalanche a chance to get back into the game, and Colorado took advantage of it. That’s what good teams do. If the Avalanche don’t connect on those powerplays, we might be talking about a very different game this morning.

Right now, the powerplay is humming along at 44.4%, and no one can move Valeri Nichushkin from the front of the net. Until another team can figure out how to slow them down, the Avalanche are going to be very dangerous.

+ OT Winner

It’s not usually the guys you expect it to be to win the game in overtime, and this goal is what makes Colorado so dangerous this year. They’re getting scoring from everyone, and the hero on Tuesday was Miles Wood. Redemption after a pretty poor penalty in the second when Colorado had all the momentum.

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