After a long weekend without hockey the Colorado Avalanche were back for their third game of the season against rival in the Minnesota Wild. It was a nail biter at times but the better team prevailed with a 6-3 Avalanche final score.
Hometown kid Ben Meyers got the visitors on the board first at 3:30 with a great tip on an Erik Johnson shot that snuck over the shoulder of the Wild netminder. The early score was indicative of the goals parade to come.
That lead was short-lived, however. Just 44 seconds later Kirill Kaprizov converted to put the Wild on the board on a delayed penalty. Before the end of the period it was Sam Girard to the rescue as he stuck with the puck and snuck one into the back of the net at 15:08. Despite a period of ups and downs the Avalanche were on the right side of the scoreboard with a 2-1 lead after 20 minutes.
In the second period the Avalanche started to turn the tide back in their direction but the two teams traded goals again. Joel Eriksson Ek evened the score on the power play at 6:09. But the Avalanche also scored at 11:59 on one of their 18 shots in the period as Mikko Rantanen took advantage of a Filip Gustavsson mistake to poke the puck home.
The third period had a similar feel, again, as the Avalanche got a goal from Josh Manson just two minutes into the frame which should have put the game to bed. However this version of the Avalanche can’t stay out of the penalty box and their penalty kill hasn’t been successful either and gave up another power play goal to Kaprizov at 4:17 to put the game in doubt once again.
It took another 10 minutes but the Avalanche got their power play revenge when Nathan MacKinnon lit the lamp and extended Colorado’s lead back to two. Just prior to the score the Wild missed an open net as they got a shorthanded breakaway. After a few more penalties Val Nichushkin put the icing on the cake with an empty net goal to arrive at the 6-3 final in the Avalanche’s favor.
It is comforting to know that while there’s still some rust and growing pains going on that the Avalanche can still execute well enough and pick up wins. With six different players hitting the scoresheet including two defenseman not named Cale Makar it is still a very well-balanced attack even if the depth is lacking more now than in the past.
The 36-save performance from Alexander Georgiev who made several big stops when the Wild could have either tied the game or taken the lead was exactly the kind of performance a goaltender looking to nail down a starting job needed to have. Though some puck handling moments were an adventure he looks like he’s getting comfortable in net and making a difference.
Back at home on Wednesday, October 19th at 6 p.m. MT against the Winnipeg Jets