Sometimes, it just doesn’t go your way.
Such was the case for the Colorado Avalanche who fell 2-1 in overtime against the New York Rangers. The Avs just couldn’t find the net behind a great Johnathan Quick, and missed their chances - particularly on the powerplay early in the game.
It ended up being a goaltending battle where the Avs and Alexandar Georgiev weren’t able to stop them all. Georgiev couldn’t do much on either of the Rangers’ goals as he was screened. While Colorado does get a point out of the game, it’s not the best way to start a season-long road trip especially with a quick turnaround.
Right out of the gate, the Avs nearly scored with the roaring 20s line after some great puck movement off the opening draw. The offense would continue when Zach Parise in his first shift had a couple of good looks and even drew a penalty.
Penalties would become a theme in the frame, with the Rangers taking three altogether. Kaapo Kakko would be dinged for tripping, while K’Andre Miller was nagged for roughing Mikko Rantanen in front, who got a roughing penalty of his own plus a cross-check call.
Miller and Rantanen are battling pic.twitter.com/GlckyuQXX8— B/R Open Ice (@BR_OpenIce) February 6, 2024
It led to plenty of chances for both teams, along with stellar goaltending from both Georgiev and Quick. The latter of the two would be beaten in the closing minutes through his five-hole. There wasn’t much he could do with Nathan MacKinnon on the end of it charging down the ice to give Colorado the lead into the intermission.
The second period was a far different period from the first. Both teams played the long game, taking care of the puck and controlling play their own way.
The star of the tamer 20 minutes of action was Georgiev, being called upon several times with an onslaught of Rangers attacks. He showed the world his $100,000 poke check on a great save on Chris Kreider streaking to the front of the net, keeping it a 1-0 game heading into the final frame.
It looked as though the second period never ended, with both teams strong defensively. But finally, the Rangers woke up more and were pushing for the equalizer. Georgiev was up to the task, as was Quick on the other side with a few big saves of his own.
The dam would eventually be broken when Artemi Panarin shot a seeing-eye puck into the top corner through traffic to tie it at one. Georgiev couldn’t do much about it, and it was game on.
New York would use the momentum they got to put the Avs on the back foot. They couldn’t control the puck, got caught in their own zone off of turnovers, and were hanging on to the even scoreline.
Colorado would do so, and even get a couple looks on Quick in the closing minutes. Hence, the most famous arena in the world would get to show off for another five minutes of overtime hockey.
While the Avs won possession to start OT and had a great chance from Cale Makar go missing while being slashed, it would come back to bite them. Alexis Lafreniere would find a gap between a screening Rantanen and Georgiev to win it for the Rangers 2-1.
The first period was a wild one, with the whistles blowing and penalties galore. It looked as though it could’ve gotten chippy with Miller and Rantanen trading blows after a goalmouth scramble, but they knew what was in store in this game. It ended up being very close all game long, and having a playoff-like atmosphere around it. You wouldn't mind seven games of that in the Stanley Cup Final, would you (so long as Colorado comes out on top probably, but alas).
Miles Wood was an absolute animal in this game. While he didn’t get on the scoresheet, he was everywhere on the ice, chasing the puck, blocking shots, and getting the puck to the net too. In a game where goals were hard to come by, Wood was able to keep the pressure up for the Avs on the roaring 20s line. Georgiev was also solid in the net, keeping the Avs in the lead for a long time until the third period opened up on defense in front of him. Coming off an All-Star appearance and being the busiest goaltender in the league so far, this was one of his best performances of the year.
Meanwhile, all eyes were on Parise in his debut in an Avalanche uniform. While him in a burgundy and blue might take some time getting used to, his style of play will not need as much time. He was good on the third line with Ryan Johansen and Artturi Lehkonen in 11:24 of ice time. He had some moments, but otherwise wasn’t super memorable for the 39-year-old veteran. We’ll see how he keeps doing with more games down the line under his belt.
The Avs are back in business in less than 24 hours, just across the Hudson River to face the New Jersey Devils. Puck drop on Tuesday night is at 5:30 p.m. MT.