Upgrade Your Fandom

Join the Ultimate DNVR Sports Community!

Alexandar Georgiev shuts out Chicago in Avs home opener: "The game went pretty well for me. I felt sharp."

Meghan Angley Avatar
October 20, 2023

After a three game sweep on the road, Colorado finally returned to Ball Arena to play in front of their home crowd.

Chicago entered tonight’s contest on the heels of a 4-1 victory over Toronto for the fifth game of their own road trip. Understandably, they were running on fumes and the slight momentum-bump of a 2-2-0 record.

Colorado may have had the day off between their exciting victory in Seattle on Tuesday, but the atmosphere at morning skate was strictly business as usual – with one special guest: Gabriel Landeskog.

Landeskog joined the group for morning skate, watching from the bench. When the roster was announced at the game tonight, Landeskog came down the tunnel to wave to the crowd.

“Guys love seeing him,” Jared Bednar said. “We love checking in with him to see how he’s doing in his rehab process. He can help keep it light and it’s always good to have him around being one of our leaders and the captain of our team. We get a little boost out of it. Guys are in good spirits, they’re happy to see him, they miss him a lot. Whenever he’s around, it’s good for us, good for the group – it’s good for Landy.”

Alexandar Georgiev earned his fourth consecutive start in net.

The Avs had a gradual beginning with a little rust to shake off. Similar to their San Jose game wherein the shot volume was excellent but the execution was just a tad off, there were a couple of miscues to start, but it was pretty limited to the first ten minutes.

A delay-of-game penalty on Bowen Byram put Colorado on the penalty kill. The Avs were perfect through 13 kills through their first three games and continued their success tonight.

Andrew Cogliano challenged Ryan Donato on the second touch upon entry, and with the help of Josh Manson, they worked the puck back. Together they started up ice on the rush. Cogliano tapped the puck ahead to Logan O’Connor, and for the second game in a row, O’Connor wristed the puck in shorthanded.

In the final half of the first, Colorado more successfully drove inside ice and controlled possession. They were winning draws and passes were connecting.

Chicago looked like they lost a bit of steam and the Avs were able to draw a penalty.

Unlike their penalty kill, the powerplay still showed room for improvement through three games.

The Avs had one of their most successful PP’s yet. They managed five shots on net including a close chance from Mikko Rantanen.

A tic-tac-toe play led to a rebound and Ryan Johansen fought for the puck at the net front and tapped it in past Petr Mrazek.

Georgiev continued to impress. A big kick save on Nick Foligno on the breakaway snuffed out momentum from Chicago early.

About midway through the second period, Bednar promoted Tomas Tatar to the first line wing. Jonathan Drouin accompanied Miles Wood and Ross Colton on the third line.

“He was really good. He made a lot of nice plays with MacKinnon and Rantanen. He got more involved, started using his skating, [I could] see what he can do playing with top players,” Bednar said of Tatar. 

“Drouin got much better too after the switch. I want to see production – not only from that line – but also from the other lines. We’re still playing around trying to find a fit, trying to be as deep and dangerous as we can on all of our lines.”

A beautiful passing play from Colton to Drouin allowed Drouin to slip the puck to Wood at the corner of the crease for the perfect tip-in. The goal was disallowed because Colton was offside on entry.

Georgiev came up big again on their second powerplay chance when Mackenzie Entwistle barreled down for a shorthanded chance.

They didn’t capitalize on that powerplay, but the second unit remained on the ice after its expiry and Val Nichushkin stickhandled through the slot to set Devon Toews up to one-time it in.

Georgiev closed out the second period with another valiant effort on the penalty kill. The unit in front of him remained strong, but he had to come up with a big save in tight.

Chicago was in dangerous territory. Colorado had a stronghold over this game. They controlled possession, won the special teams battles, won the faceoff battle, and were firing at a high clip.

They were doing a better job to create traffic in front of the net especially after seeing Johansen’s rebound from the crease, Toews’ shot from the bottom of the right circle, and the recalled tip-in from Wood. They knew they needed a stronger net-front presence and answered.

“I like the way [Johansen] got [his goal]: getting gritty and hungry at the net, there’s a loose puck sitting there, he stays on it,” Bednar acknowledged. “That’s what he can do. I like to see all of our guys get rewarded.”

They circled Chicago’s net like vultures nearly cropping the ice down to 100-feet in the third period. Tatar made a slick pass to Nathan MacKinnon from the top of the crease and MacKinnon blasted it in.

Colorado finished the night 4-0. Georgiev earned his 14th career shutout with 18 saves.

“The game went pretty well for me. I felt sharp,” said Georgiev. “It is good to start with four wins in four games, but I think it’s important to keep building good habits, focus on the next game, and not just focus on the last results.”

“He had a great year last year in a year when you’re not sure what to expect. You expect a guy to go through some bumps in the road doubling his starts, and he has a career year,” Bednar said of Georgiev’s progress. “He’s excited. He knows this is his job and he’s taken a lot of ownership. He’s working extremely hard: in the off season, through camp, through now in the regular season. He wants the net. Highly competitive guy which is exactly what we want in net.”

The penalty kill advanced to perfect now through 17 kills. The Avs only allowed two shots on net down the man-advantage tonight.

“[Cogliano] and [O’Connor], they’re dialed in right now. They’re the leaders of our penalty kill,” Bednar said. “We got the same group on the back end, but those two guys really take ownership of it and they’re bought in fully. They did a nice job on a couple of the rush attacks – breaking them up and then getting dangerous on them to score those two goals. [It takes] really hard work and perfect details in order to make something like that happen.”

It was a cohesive and dominant effort from Colorado. Hopefully what they’re building can propel them into a tough Carolina matchup on Saturday. The Hurricanes dropped a tough one to Seattle tonight, so they’ll be in search of a get-right game.

Scroll to next article

Don't like ads?
Don't like ads?
Don't like ads?