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The Avalanche eventually played an excellent defensive game, but the Coyotes had the best scoring chances in the first period and Georgiev looked like the Georgiev we have too rarely seen this season: calm and in control.
There weren’t big rebounds, there weren’t moments where he looked overwhelmed, and there weren’t any instances where you thought he wasn’t seeing the puck well. He was locked in and when he’s that way, the Avalanche rarely lose.
His job got easier as the game went on and the one goal he allowed was a nice play by the Coyotes, but this was a continuation of the excellent third period he had against Ottawa. This is the guy that makes the Avalanche true contenders.
The second period
We’ve talked about this more and more as the year has gone on but it was a big thing after the Ottawa game. Colorado’s second periods have not been very good this year and it was an outright tire fire against the Sens.
Tonight, they dominated. They were fantastic defensively, not allowing the Coyotes to get any momentum, very few sustained possessions, and no quality whatsoever.
Oh, and the Avs scored three times.
All three goals were classic Avs. Their top line outplayed the opposition and scored a great goal, they got a transition goal from a defenseman, and then the relentless hard work of Logan O’Connor created a scoring opportunity for his friends and Andrew Cogliano made an awesome play for the fourth goal.
That last goal was the knockout punch. Making it 4-0 in the dying seconds of the second period? All of it was the opposite of what the Avs have done to date. They have struggled in second periods and late in periods. It’s only one game and all, but boy was it nice to see the Avalanche not making life harder for themselves.
His scoring has been spotty this year with only one 5v5 goal on the year, but his two assists put him right back on pace for the ~25 points you would earmark him for coming into the season.
Both assists are vintage LOC, too. An outlet up the ice as he gets it going from the defensive zone and then his motor kicked in and created the turnover that led to the good bounce to create the fourth goal.
His two-way play has been a staple for Colorado’s bottom six this season and he has consistently made every line he’s played on better. He is arguably Colorado’s most important glue guy.
His first career multi-point game! Olofsson has been a guy I’ve struggled with for a couple of weeks now. For a fourth-line center, he loses a ton of faceoffs (36% on the season!) and has had a lot of quality scoring chances die on his stick. He isn’t so good in any one area and he hasn’t elevated any of the lines he’s played on.
And against Arizona, you saw why the Avs have been patient with him. He was rocking and rolling around the ice and both of his points were quality plays. One was a nice find and a good pass to Josh Manson, the other was a good finish off a bonkers pass from Cogliano.
So much of being a quality fourth liner is the ability to not mess things up and this was a performance from Olofsson that made you feel a lot better about it. Hell, he even went 50% on his faceoffs.
That one Miles Wood penalty
There isn’t a single aspect of the game or player that I thought the Avs were a real problem, so instead of leaving this section blank I’ll just say that the Wood penalty late in the third period of a 4-0 game is not a great way to reward a goalie that is mere minutes from a shutout.
That’s it. That’s all I’ve got. This team was great otherwise.
He’s one of the x-factors to Colorado’s dreams of winning another Stanley Cup and he just has not been good enough this season. Not even close. Not on offense or defense. No aspect of his game is one that makes you feel good about the first 34 games.
He was great in this game, however, and stepping into the offense and scoring the first goal got the Avs rolling downhill. He made a great read (and got lucky the puck went through Johansen) and a great finish. His patience in walking in allowed him to get closer (always nice) but he also used the Coyotes defenders to help screen Connor Ingram (also nice) and then the shot was (obviously) well placed.
An encouraging evening from Byram.