After a satisfying win in Sin City the road trip continued for the Colorado Avalanche as they began their east coast layover on the way to Finland. First up was a meeting with the New York Rangers and a good old fashioned goalie duel ensued with Alexandar Georgiev getting the better of his old club in a shootout with a 3-2 final in favor of the Avalanche.
It was another sloppy start to the game but the Avalanche were at least firing shots on net to the tune of 20 in the period. The first score of the game was none other than Val Nichushkin tipping a Cale Makar shot at 11:40 to continue his torrid start on the season. The Avalanche power play continues their dominant start, too.
The rest of the period saw the Avalanche execute a bit better and even received another power play on a high-sticked own-man which was not a reviewable penalty but couldn’t convert their second opportunity. After 20 minutes of play Colorado led 1-0.
Flipping the script in the second period the Rangers took control of the game. The Avalanche only mustered seven shots on goal despite another power play opportunity drawn by Mikko Rantanen getting a breakaway and was robbed by Igor Shesterkin. Other than that not much going for the burgundy and blue. Unfortunately they gave up a goal too on an odd man rush with poor back checking. Barclay Goodrow put New York on the board at 18:06 and the period ended at a 1-1 tie.
The third period was the story of mistakes. A fairly even final frame looked to nudge in Colorado’s favor one minute in after Logan O’Connor scored shorthanded taking advantage of a Shesterkin miscue playing the puck and the Avalanche more or less held control of the game. But another mistake happened after Adam Fox pushed Nathan MacKinnon off the puck in the offensive zone and took the rush the other way for the tying score at 14:03. And that’s how regulation concluded with a 2-2 even up score.
After the Avalanche survived the first couple overtime shifts they ran out of ideas what to do with the puck and then MacKinnon took a penalty at the end of a long shift. That infraction was successfully killed and chewed up the remainder of overtime so a shootout had to decide the game.
Mikko Rantanen was the third Colorado shooter and finally broke through after getting robbed by Shesterkin numerous times in the game. But, Artemi Panarin answered back and the shootout needed a fourth round. Jared Bednar opted to put out Evan Rodrigues for only his third career attempt and he scored his first shootout goal in the NHL to secure the victory for the Avalanche once Georgiev made one last save.
Georgiev was incredible in what must be a very important win for him personally but also puts the Avalanche back on track now at over .500. With nearly 100 saves in this contest between the two netminders Georgiev came out on top making 44 saves in a brilliant effort. The team prefers to give their goaltenders an easier workload but it’s very comforting knowing that Georgiev is already making a difference in net.
With yet another goal Nichushkin now leads the NHL in scoring with 12 points and has seven goals in his seven games played. It’s been a remarkable start for the big man and his scoring touch has been invaluable.
They didn’t play much but the new look fourth line of Dryden Hunt, Mikhail Maltsev and Martin Kaut looked the best it has all season. Some hints of chemistry and moving the puck in the correct direction could indicate the line has a future. They should get the rest of the road trip to strengthen the trio.
A match with the New Jersey Devils at 5 p.m. MT on Friday, October 28th.