The Avalanche may have lost to the Ducks just a few days ago in Anaheim, but tonight's game ended with the Avalanche back in the winning column. Alexandar Georgiev was excellent, and we saw Nathan MacKinnon doing what he does.
It's been ten whole days since Kurtis MacDermid scored his first goal of the season against the Minnesota Wild, and tonight, he started the scoring. Nathan MacKinnon found him making a run toward the net. MacDermid gathered the puck with his skate and fired a snap shot past John Gibson. The first period featured a few chances for each side, but only MacDermid tickled the twine after all was said and done.
The second period was cruising right along when some extracurricular activities got in the way. Bo Byram took a high hit from Max Jones as he attempted a drop pass to Nathan MacKinnon. Logan O'Connor did not like what he saw and went after #49 for the Ducks. As a result, Logan went to the box for instigating. The Avalanche killed the penalty off, but most importantly, Bo Byram seemed fine afterward.
With about two minutes left in period number two, the Avalanche extended their lead. Josh Manson put a shot on the net that Jonathan Drouin redirected. That shot didn't go in, but the rebound found Drouin's stick, and he sent it over to MacKinnon. Nate Dogg did the rest.
Colorado controlled play for the first five minutes of the final frame. Maintaining their two-goal lead proved to be the priority for the team from Denver. Logan O'Connor kept his foot on the gas and extended the Avalanche lead to 3-0. Nathan MacKinnon put a wraparound shot on that LOC stuffed through Gibson's five-hole.
Everything looked fine until Colorado went on the powerplay with just over seven minutes left. Oddly enough, the Ducks scored down a man when they earned a breakaway. Shortly after, Fredrick Olofsson was called for tripping, and Kurtis MacDermid was penalized all in the same sequence. Ducks went to the 5-on-3 and scored to bring things to 3-2.
The Ducks would have pulled Gibson sooner than they did, but they were called for too many men on the ice. When the ducks finally did pull their goalie, this time around, the Avalanche were able to hold on.
Kurtis MacDermid does look like the time he spent working on the skill end of his game is paying off. Both of his goals this season weren't greasy or grimy at all. He's gone forehand, backhand top cheese, and tonight it was skate to forehand and far post. Goals like this aren't easy to pull off in the league, especially for a guy his size. He was also very noticeable physically, as usual. He will get more starts and ice time if he keeps up these performances.
Many brave souls have been critical of Nathan MacKinnon lately, but it's safe to say he silenced the doubters. I don't think it's unfair to want some more development for MacKinnon, but don't get it twisted; he's one of the best in the world and produces that way.
FINAL: Colorado wins 3-2 against Anaheim. Nathan MacKinnon factored on all three goals and reached 500 career assists.— Peter Baugh (@Peter_Baugh) December 6, 2023
Lack of discipline nearly cost the Avs in the third, but they escape with a win.
Alexandar Georgiev needs to string some victories together, and tonight was a step in the right direction. He made all the necessary stops and was all that Colorado could ask for late in the contest. That said, I'm sure he would have instead earned the shutout rather than give up a short-handed and 5-on-3 goal. His stop on Strome with about forty seconds left in the game kept them ahead.
Bo Byram was seen smiling and chatting with the guys on the bench shortly after the big hit he took in the second period, but unfortunately, he didn't play in the third period. Hopefully, it was just precautionary and not another head injury for the young defender. Nathan MacKinnon also went off looking to be in pain after blocking a shot in the third, so keep an eye on his status.
Yeesh, now MacKinnon heads off a little worse for ware after blocking the shot. #GoAvsGo— Mile High Hockey (@MileHighHockey) December 6, 2023
The Avalanche will welcome the Winnipeg Jets on Thursday night in the second of their four-game home stand. Division Rivalry night at Ball Arena, so wear your alternate threads.