Who doesn’t love a shutout?
The Colorado Avalanche came into Washington D.C. and left it covered in an Avalanche, leaving nothing to get through. This was thanks to Alexandar Georgiev and his first shutout with the Avalanche in a 4-0 win.
He had plenty of help in front of him, and the Avs continue to push through and win with all these injuries and regulars out of the side. The team is really coming together despite it, and it's helping them out early in the year to not fall below others in the Central Division.
It’s only a treat to imagine what this team will look like when everyone is back and healthy. Let’s run down how they got the job done tonight regardless of the personnel on the ice.
After an early power play for the Avs was killed off, they found themselves in a similar position as they were in on Thursday night against the Carolina Hurricanes. The Caps managed to put several shots in on Georgiev, who stopped them all including a wonderful chance all alone down low by Marcus Johansson.
While there was a bunch of open ice for both teams, the Avs’ chances all went missing wide of Darcy Kuemper’s net whereas Washington put all the pressure on net. With the Avs looking to just hang on until the intermission, a couple of penalties would change it.
Garnet Hathaway and Lars Eller tripped Nathan MacKinnon and Mikko Rantanen respectively, leading to a late 5-on-3 for the Avs. They would capitalize after some great chances thanks to a heck of a shot by Cale Makar to give them the lead heading into the room.
The Avs came out on the right foot in the period, looking much better and more in tune than they had been in the last four periods. This included several chances from Evan Rodrigues and J.T. Compher that went missing.
However, the goal of the night - arguably the goal of the season - did not go missing.
MacKinnon received the puck from the blue line in the offensive zone. He skated past former Av Nicolas Aube-Kubel which left him stumbling and leading MacKinnon toward a packed crease. He would end up picking the top corner over the glove of Kuemper in an astonishing goal to double the lead.
The Avs would continue to build off it, with Martin Kaut nearly putting one past Kuemper himself. Kaut is due for one big time and would have another chance with a two-goal lead heading into the final 20 minutes of action.
Georgiev continued to be an amplified part of the game, flashing the glove a couple of times on Evgeni Kuznetsov and Anthony Manta. He was also involved in a collision between himself, Devon Toews, and Nic Dowd, leaving Toews a little shaken up. Luckily, he would be okay.
On the other end, Kuemper would be beaten for a third time in an unconventional way. Jacob MacDonald released a one-timer from the circle which was stopped by Kuemper. However, the rebound bounced off the skate of Andrew Cogliano and slowly crept across the line.
From here, it would be all Colorado. The goal took all the life out of the Caps and their fans in the arena. Jared Bednar was able to roll with all four lines, and at one point kept Washington pinned in their own zone for a solid two minutes.
Meanwhile, it wasn't enough for the Avs. They added one more goal for good measure, this one from Artturi Lehkonen. He received a perfect pass from Rantanen and cleanly put it past his former teammate to make it a 4-0 lead and win.
Player recognitions are needed after this one. Makar got career point 199 with his goal. If he gets his next point soon, he’ll be the fastest defenseman to get to 200 points in NHL history. Meanwhile, his other star teammate MacKinnon got his fifth goal of the year with a beautiful goal. They’re both parts of leading this depleted Avs squad to wins at the moment with guys like Jacob MacDonald also doing their part extremely well tonight too with an assist.
Elsewhere in the lineup, the third line was noticeable. Cogliano got his second goal of the year despite it coming in a weird fashion. This was thanks to the help of his line doing really well all night long, and providing some great rushes and chances on Kuemper throughout the evening. It’s almost as if they have been doing their part to get the team back on track, as our very own Eddie Bleau wrote about.
Georgiev gets his own special shoutout. He played against the man he replaced in Colorado and proved he was the right decision in net. Facing Kuemper and a hungry Capitals team, he got his first shutout in an Avalanche uniform with 32 saves. overall, both he and Pavel Francouz have been phenomenal all season long. The pairing of the two will be huge for the Avs all season long, and their performances in the last 120 minutes of playtime prove it.
The Avs wrap up their road trip with a big Central Division test. It involves a trip to the American Airlines Center to face the Dallas Stars. Puck drop is at 6:30 p.m. MT.