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Avs-Rangers Game 50 Studs & Duds

Meghan Angley Avatar
February 6, 2024

Studs

Alexandar Georgiev

That’s four games straight for Georgiev with a 0.900 save percentage or above. His January 10th shutout against Vegas ignited hope, but the three-game stretch that followed reinforced concern.

After denying Connor McDavid at the All-Star game and taking the $100,000 prize for the most saves, he’s been riding a bit of a high.

Tonight he recorded 27 saves on 29 shots and 15 saves on 16 high-danger chances. He’s now 1-0-2 against his former team with a 0.952 save percentage in those match-ups. He obviously enjoys the challenge against the New York Rangers and gave Colorado a chance to win this game.

He weathered challenges early after the Avs struggled on the powerplay and allowed more shots-against than they created. The Rangers created most of their high-danger opportunities inside the first period, so it was important for Georgiev to get locked in early.

Nathan MacKinnon

MacKinnon ensured the Avs got on the scoresheet and extended his point-streak to 14 games. He has the longest active run in the NHL at the moment, and has collected 29 points inside the streak including 12 points in his last four games.

With his earlier 19-game point-streak in November/December, he became the first player in franchise history to register multiple 14-game point streaks in a season.

Even though it wasn’t an explosive outing for Colorado’s offensive weapons, it was enough to put MacKinnon back atop the league in a tie with Nikita Kucherov for the NHL points lead.

Plus, his goal was a thing of beauty. 

Josh Manson passed the puck to Cale Makar behind the Avs’ net. Makar started the breakout with a pass to MacKinnon in the defensive zone and MacKinnon took off up ice on the rush. 

MacKinnon juked K’Andre Miller and split Tyler Pitlick at center ice and burst into the o-zone. He drove to the netfront and waited to get around Braden Schneider and put the puck in the back of the net.

His line might have struggled a bit defensively on the whole, but in this truly special season for MacKinnon, he found a way to impact the game positively like he’s done all year.

Josh Manson

Manson’s game has been on the rise. He has recorded one goal and four assists in his last five games.

Some of his passing decisions extended possession and he posted the highest expected-goals-for-percentage of all defensemen tonight in addition to a shot on net, three additional attempts blocked, and three hits.

It’s fun to see him explore the puck moving part of his game in the offensive zone, but he held it down defensively too.

Plus, his stick helped con the refs into a tripping call served by Alexis Lafrenière.

Zach Parise

In his Avs’ debut, after not having played hockey in over nine months, Parise earned a nod as a stud because he looked solid.

In under four minutes of ice time coming out of the first period, Parise registered two shots on net. He finished the game with 11:24 TOI, three shots on net, a look on PP2, and a blocked shot. His line with Ryan Johansen and Artturi Lehkonen had the second-best possession at even strength and allowed just one shot on net.

He wore contact well and looked engaged every shift. It was clear this guy’s a real competitor.

Duds

Mikko Rantanen

Rantanen is an elite player, but he had a complicated night. As mentioned earlier, his line struggled on the defensive side of the puck.

Additionally, he didn’t contribute much offensively. He registered just one shot on net and it came with 1:01 left in the contest.

After Artemi Panarin found the tying goal midway through the third period, Rantanen had the golden opportunity to put the game to bed on the Ranger’s doorstep, but his sole shot selection was an easy save for Jonathan Quick.

Then in overtime, Devon Toews was originally on the backcheck with Mika Zibanejad on entry. 

Zibanejad dropped the puck between his legs back to Lafrenière and Lafrenière was Mikko Rantanen’s assignment. Rantanen didn’t do much to challenge him and Lafrenière threw on the brakes and moved around Rantanen and wristed the puck from inside the right-circle, far-side.

It was clear fatigue set in for the Avs, but he needed more urgency. He could have done more to give them a chance at a second point left on the table – especially after such a strong first and second period effort from the team.

Avs’ powerplay

In the first period on three powerplay chances, Colorado generated only three shots on net and allowed four short-handed chances. They created two high-danger chances of their own, but the Rangers matched them with two high-danger chances despite being on the penalty kill.

It reached a point where I found myself wishing they’d decline the next man-advantage out of fear.

Unsung Hero

Artturi Lehkonen

In just his third game back from a serious neck injury, Lehkonen’s ice time and usage is steadily on the rise. He played 16:40 and generated a shot on net, a hit, and a takeaway.

More importantly, Ryan Johansen’s line has become effective with him on it. Not only has Johansen’s individual play improved with Lehkonen on his wing, the line on the whole – now with Parise in the mix – strung together a responsible effort as mentioned earlier in Parise’s section.

Lehkonen’s speed, his work in the corners, and battles on the forecheck granted Johansen the gift of more time. Speed has long been a concern for Johansen, but Lehkonen acts as a temporary antidote.

Jared Bednar also took liberties with Lehkonen. He spot-shifted with Ross Colton and Nathan MacKinnon at points and played both special teams.

Having him back revealed some of the best balance inside the forward group we’ve seen all year. Each of the four lines played closer to what we’d expect in ice time, and it gave the team options.

Lehkonen making players around him better isn’t new, but it was sorely missed in his absence.

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