The name’s Alexandar. Alexandar Georgiev.
The man in net stole this game for the Colorado Avalanche. Simply put, Georgie put on a spectacle for LA as he beat the Los Angeles Kings 4-3 in their own backyard.
It was an incredibly hard road game all around for the visiting team, but thanks to the stellar play in the crease along with some quick goals to open periods, it’s all the Avs would need to do to come out of Crypto.com Arena with a stupendous road victory.
The theme of the period started early when Philip Danualt was denied in the slot by Georgiev. He was called into action even further when Andrew Cogliano was called for slashing.
The Kings had tons of momentum, passing, and shots on the man advantage but it was killed off in the end. But, they would continue to push the issue on Colorado all period long.
This included an Avs power play where they had a 2-on-0 but missed the net. They ended the period scoreless, and Colorado was lucky to have not given one up heading into the middle period.
The Avs looked to have shifted the momentum early on. Denis Malgin tipped J.T. Compher’s shot in the slot which then went off the glass, off the top of the net, and off the back of Phoenix Copley and in. Just one minute later, Alex Newhook finally got the monkey off his back with a splendid breakaway goal and a quick 2-0 lead.
It seemed the offense had shown as Jack Johnson as well had a solid chance stopped by Copley. But, before you knew it, the Kings would swing back. This came in the form of top goal-scorer Adrian Kempe who beat everybody on defense including Georgiev to cut the lead in half.
LA continued to push the issue and drew a penalty out of Mikko Rantanen as well for high sticking. While it was an unlucky call and completely unintentional on a follow-through, the Kings would capitalize through Viktor Arvidsson to tie it at two on the power play.
They were skating circles around the Avs, keeping them pinned in their own zone in the closing minutes. They’d put in 32 shots on Georgiev compared to Colorado’s 11 in the game as a whole. Both sides looked for a way to break the dam in the final 20 minutes.
The early responses in the period again provided scoring for the Avs. This started with a Brad Hunt bomb right off the faceoff which Copley never saw, giving Colorado a 3-2 lead.
Lars Eller then had a good chance following it up but the blocker of Copley had another say. But, Malgin would convert his second of the game thanks to a great forecheck from Valeri Nichushkin to create the chance and make it a 4-2 game.
Kempe followed suit though just seconds later with another beautiful wrist shot of his own, once again making it a one-goal game and close coming down to the wire.
From there, the Avs' defense did what they could to hold on. This included Georgiev doing everything he could in the closing seconds - even with his mask flying off on a shot - to keep the Kings out of the net.
Despite a late hit by Cogliano on Kempe in the head which caused a brew-ha-ha, Georgiev stole it in the end for the Avs and won Colorado their fourth straight game out of LA.
Cogliano catches Kempe with a high hit, causing tempers to flare with just 2.7 seconds to go#GoAvsGo | #GoKingsGo pic.twitter.com/FLnaU1MUFR— Hockey Daily 365 l NHL Highlights (@HockeyDaily365) April 9, 2023
The defense was struggling all night long, especially with three key names out. Josh Manson and Cale Makar have been out, but another name joined them in the press box. Bowen Byram was out with an illness tonight, and his absence was noticeable. The Avs were skated around the majority of the night and were pinned back several times leading to a couple of goals. They did what they could with their replacements, including Hunt’s goal, and pulled it off shorthanded in their best fashion with what they’ve got.
The depth proved to be beneficial in this game. This came in the form of Malgin who recorded two goals on the second line. His line was one of the few who could provide chances and forecheck, especially in the third period. This was especially useful when the top line didn’t provide any points and was all in the minuses. I predicted the depth scoring would be necessary in last week’s episode of the Mile High Hockey Lab. But, I predicted Coglaino would do the scoring instead of Malgin. It doesn’t matter who scored nonetheless as long as they showed out as they did tonight.
With both the Minnesota Wild and Dallas Stars playing and winning earlier today, the Avs needed to win to stay even with both of them in the race for the top of the Central Division as the regular season enters its final week. Colorado is back in first with 102 points tied with the Wild but has the tiebreaker over them, with the Stars two points behind. They have the chance to take sole control of the top of the division in their next game.
The Avs are right back at it tomorrow night against the Anaheim Ducks with Pavel Francouz coming back to play from injury with the start. Puck drop is at 6:30 p.m.