Continuing on in their unbeaten quest the Colorado Avalanche took on the Pittsburgh Penguins in a rare early season match between the two teams. But all good things must come to an end as the Avalanche saw their road unbeaten streak and season opening win streak end. If that wasn’t disappointing enough the Avalanche even suffered a shutout at the hands of Pittsburgh in this 4-0 defeat.
Turnovers were the culprit in this one as the Penguins built an early lead before the end of the first period. Reilly Smith got the home team on the board at 4:40 just after their first power play had expired. A cluster of Avalanche bodies had formed and nobody was covering Smith. But that wasn’t enough as Smith extended the lead with another goal at 16:51 on a perfectly executed 2-on-1 to put Pittsburgh up 2-0. The five shots on goal lethargic start by the Avalanche didn’t help either.
The second period didn’t go any better even if Colorado won the shot battle 13-8 but they didn’t win on the scoreboard. Lars Eller getting his first goal as a Penguin at 6:00 pretty much sealed the deal. It was another turnover and chaos at the net front with a wide open cage gifted Eller this goal. A four-minute power play didn’t even give the Avalanche any momentum as they continued to limp along in this contest and the Penguins held on to their 3-0 lead.
There was another Avalanche power play early in the third period but it didn’t matter as the game was all but over. Just for good measure Sidney Crosby got to put in the last Penguins goal at 10:35 off of, you guessed it, another turnover exiting the defensive zone. It wasn’t all on Alexandar Georgiev with the play in front of him but after giving up four goals again Jared Bednar had seen enough and inserted Ivan Prosvetov for the last eight minutes of the game. The young goaltender didn’t give up a goal at least and saved the five shots he faced to mercifully put an end to this 4-0 defeat.
Some cracks were starting to show earlier than this game but were glossed over by the hot start and win streak. Now it might be time to take a look at some of the issues the Avalanche are experiencing. Some of tonight was just a terrible, sloppy night with multiple bad turnovers. Those things usually get corrected with a practice and a bit of a wake up call.
Of greater concern is the lack of production of the second and third lines. When the Avalanche were scoring a bunch of goals it didn’t matter but in games like this someone else needs to step up. The only newcomer that has scored a goal at 5v5 through seven games is Freddy Olofsson.
Prosvetov making his Avalanche debut could have been to set him up to start in Buffalo but instead it was just a matter of giving Georgiev his break now before he plays in Buffalo as Bednar confirmed postgame. At some point Georgiev will need a real rest but it’s clear the Avalanche don’t trust their backup goaltending situation right now.
Bednar on the goalie switch: "I had no problem with the way he [Georgiev] played. [...] He's played seven in a row, and we've got a new goalie that we acquired from another team that we haven't seen in game action. I like to go back after two days rest to [Georgiev] for Buffalo,— AvsBurgundyReview (@AvsBRblog) October 27, 2023
One final game on the road trip and this one is an unusual matinee starting at 11 a.m. on Sunday. October 29th.