Back-to-backs are never easy, especially if it’s the second game. It does make it a little bit easier whenever there’s a win involved.
The Colorado Avalanche have already had two back-to-backs of them in the past two weeks, but this one ended in a much different result. They beat out the Vegas Golden Knights on their home ice 3-2. It was a much-needed win, as they stop Vegas’s streak on home ice and rebounded after losing Friday night against the Seattle Kraken.
While early on in the season, it is a big win for the Avs to take the two points while continuing on this long road trip ahead of them. Let’s recap how it all went down. What happened tonight in Vegas, will not stay in Vegas.
Despite a couple of early tests on Alexandar Georgiev, the Avs would find themselves a man up early after Alex Newhook earned a tripping penalty on Shea Theodore. It allowed Nathan MacKinnon to launch his usual one-time shot from his spot on the power play into the net past Logan Thompson to make it a 1-0 game.
Colorado utilized the momentum to their advantage, as they shut down defensively. They held Vegas to only two shots on goal midway through the period and had a large ratio of shot attempts over them as well.
However, it did not matter in the end. Mikko Rantanen was called for a slashing penalty, and the Avalanche penalty kill woes continued. They left Jonathan Marchessault all alone at the back post to beat Georgiev in the final minute of play to tie it at one heading into the room.
The Avs were on it quickly as Valeri Nichushkin nearly tipped in a shot that somehow Logan Thompson got back to. Brett Howden took a slashing penalty for the Golden Knights, and Colorado benefitted from it as Evan Rodrigues blasted it home to take the lead.
The Avs didn’t take their foot off the gas as the first line continued to force the issue. However, Vegas continued to grow into the game as well which included a Josh Manson holding penalty. It asked a lot of Georgiev, who made some big saves during the penalty kill. He even got help from a sliding Bowen Byram in the crease when he was caught out.
It was going to be a battle from here on out in this one-goal game. It saw Logan O’Connor fall on his own into the boards in a hard fashion, but he seemed to be okay. Plus, MacKinnon took a holding penalty in the final second. It left the work cut out for the Avalanche to start the third and from here on out.
After killing off the MacKinnon penalty and another one from J.T. Compher, it looked as if the Golden Knights had the advantage. They were keeping the Avs out of the offensive zone and there was barely any offense. Nichushkin changed that fate going 200 feet to score an insane goal to make it a 3-1 lead.
The game would be far from done though as Alex Pietrangelo almost beat out Georgiev by waiting him out before making a great toe save. However, he wouldn't be lucky a second time around as Sam Girard’s stick got caught in the boards. It led to him not being able to clear the puck, and Chandler Stephenson was the beneficiary of it cutting the lead to one.
Vegas continued to push, and Georgiev continued to answer the call. Thompson was pulled with over two minutes to go, but the Avs would manage to hang on with some crazy Golden Knights bounces for the 3-2 win.
Colorado still got plenty of time on the penalty kill tonight, as they spent eight minutes a man down. They gave up another power-play goal tonight, totaling six in six games. While they got a lot of practice tonight, it is still something that Jared Bednar will want his team to cut down on. On the other end of special teams, the Avs went 2-for-2 on the power play which continues to roll early on this season.
Notable names were aplenty tonight for the Avalanche. The first name that needs to be mentioned is Rodrigues, who was great once again. He got his second goal of the season in a second straight game, and it was a beauty on the man advantage. He’s been looking better now in the last couple of games and hopefully, he keeps it up. However, it depends on his health as he left the game early but then later returned.
Finally, Georgiev played his best game of the year tonight. He was faced with plenty of Vegas chances and answered most of the calls. It kept Colorado in the lead and prevented the Golden Knights from getting anything past him. He’s put his stamp on the starting job with this performance tonight and because of Francouz’s performance against the Kraken. He’ll hopefully be getting some help soon too, as Devon Toews took pregame warm-up skate before this game and will be going on the rest of this upcoming road trip.
The Avs will go across the country as they head to the Big Apple. They’ll play all three teams within the area, starting off with the New York Rangers on primetime Tuesday night. Puck drop is at 6:00 p.m. MT.