The Colorado Avalanche continued their win streak with a shakey win over Alex Ovechkin and the Washington Capitals. Former Avalanche net-minder Darcy Kuemper got the start for Washington, with Alexandar Georgiev in net for Colorado.
The first period featured two penalties from Kurtis MacDermid and Jacob MacDonald, but the Avalanche killed both. Artturi Lehkonen got Colorado on the board first on a second-effort pass from Nathan MacKinnon. This was one of those take-a-hit-to-make-the-play situations. The period ended 1-0 Avalanche.
The second period started with the Capitals on the very tail end of their second powerplay. Colorado didn't take long to add to their lead as Kurtis MacDermid threw one on the net that went in off of Andrew Cogliano's hand and in. Shortly after, Conor Sheary got the Capitals on the board with his tipped shot. 2-1 Avalanche.
Once the Capitals got their first tally, the game began to tighten up. Both teams exchanged chances, but Alexandar Georgiev and Darcy Kuemper made impressive stops.
Alex Newhook broke in after Sam Girard made a flip pass that was bumped to a streaking Newhook, who cruised in at 23 mph and beat Darcy Kuemper's far side giving the Avalanche a 3-1 lead.
The Washington Capitals were not going down without a fight on the last of their three-game road trip. It seemed like the Avalanche let up a bit as the game wore on, and midway through the period, Alex Ovechkin beat Georgiev with his patented one-timer from the dot.
Ovechkin's goal spurred some more aggressive and persistent play from the Capitals. Alexandar Georgiev did well to keep this one from being tied. That’s putting it mildly.
The Avalanche are now in third place in the Central Division, with the Wild losing to the Tampa Bay Lightning in regulation.
The Avalanche were competitive and had their legs through two periods of play but lost their edge in period number three. That is my barometer for them as a squad and something they still need to sort out this season. They gave just enough in the third to get the win.
No matter how this ends, I know Bednar will be unhappy about this third period performance. I didn’t get to see the first two periods so I dunno how it compares to the rest of the game but yeesh. Not ideal #GoAvsGo— Evan Liu (@LLou1e) January 25, 2023
Both goaltenders were lights out for their respective clubs. Darcy Kuemper looked confident against his former teammates flashing the leather and making crucial pad saves. Alexander Georgiev was tested late and made one of the best, if not the best, saves he has made as a member of the Avalanche.
Alex Newhook was as confident as I've seen him as a pro tonight. J.T. Compher is still playing his best hockey as a pro too. I don't think the Avs are going to need that 2C rental.
It was unclear if Alex Ovechkin would even play tonight, but once again, the 37-year-old played, and once again, he scored a goal. Goal number 811.
Speaking of legendary numbers, Jared Bednar is now the winningest coach in Avalanche franchise history. Not bad for a guy that began his career with the least successful regular season in franchise history.
The Avalanche will welcome the Anaheim Ducks and St. Louis Blues before the NHL regular season pauses for its All-Star spectacle. If the Avs can secure victories in those contests, they will ride an eight-game winning streak into the break.