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Denis Malgin has a night to remember in 5-0 win over Chicago

Meghan Angley Avatar
March 21, 2023

Just three points back from Dallas, Colorado is in hot pursuit of the top of the Central Division. They can’t surpass them tonight, but they can come closer. Tonight, the Avs kicked off a three-game homestand.

After missing his homecoming game, news out of morning skate revealed that Darren Helm is out with an illness. Cale Makar tweaked something, lower-body, in the Detroit game and would be held out tonight as a precaution. Josh Manson and Pavel Francouz continue to progress and are not ready to return, and Artturi Lehkonen remains on the mend following his procedure. 

In exciting news, Erik Johnson has joined the main group as a regular participant. Starting in net, Alexandar Georgiev received the nod.

First Period

Chicago earned the first shot of the game, but Colorado heavily applied pressure early. The play was made possible from a successful battle behind the net. Matt Nieto controlled possession and sent the puck out to Brad Hunt near the point. Hunt passed to Kurtis MacDermid and he ripped a shot from up high. Trying to keep his stick down to tie up his lane, Ian Mitchell accidentally redirected it in past Alex Stalock at 2:41.

It was an interesting period. Colorado had the edge in winning the shots, possession, and faceoff battles. Chicago’s defense blocked six shot attempts (compared to Colorado’s two) and limited Colorado’s chances. Both teams were tied with five high-danger chances a piece, and Colorado’s shortcomings appeared to be occasional miscues managing the puck in the offensive zone. The Avs failed to retain possession at the blueline a couple of times simply due to a miscommunication.

With 2:41 left in the period, Andreas Anthanasiou snapped a shot on Georgiev and he slid across the crease to make the save. Brad Hunt cleared the rebound down the ice and though it was icing, the Avs were grateful for that stoppage.

The quality of Chicago’s chances matched that of Colorado’s despite the Avs controlling much of the play in the Blackhawk’s end, so Georgiev was tested his fair share, but he had the necessary saves.

Second Period

Early into the period, Bo Byram was called for closing his hand on the puck and the Avs endured their first kill and held them to two shots on net.

With 13:52 left to go, Denis Malgin turnstiled in the defensive zone to head up ice on the rush. With Val Nichushkin in tow on the controlled entry, Malign passed to Nichuskin expertly prepared to receive. Nichushkin demonstrated patience and a little deceit – he looked like he might shoot it himself – and passed to Malgin now at Stalock’s backdoor. Malgin lifted it in and scored his ninth goal of the year to bring the Avs up 2-0.

About a minute later, Evan Rodrigues took issue with a high hit from Connor Murphy and got tangled up with Philipp Kurasehv immediately after. He was called for tripping and livid that Murphy’s hit went unnoticed.

It was a terrific kill, Colorado didn’t allow any shots and Logan O’Connor and Lars Eller each had an attempt of their own.

At 9:54, Colorado earned their first powerplay opportunity of the game. Denis Malgin drew a holding-the-stick call. Nathan MacKinnon in particular worked extremely hard to regain possession and sacrificed the body to do it. It paid off.

A minute into the powerplay, thanks to MacKinnon’s efforts, Bo Byram passed to J.T. Compher in the slot, and Compher quickly passed to Mikko Rantanen in his home office at the right circle.

Rantanen pulled in and wristed it to the far corner – it was his 47th goal of the year and he was now just three away from reaching 50.

The Avs did a better job of holding Chicago to fewer dangerous chances, but Chicago pulled ahead in the shots battle. It was evident the Blackhawks were desperate to climb back into this game, but great goaltending from Georgiev and Colorado’s offensive weapons gained ground where and when they needed to.

Third Period

Evan Rodrigues did not join the Avs bench to start the third period. In his absence, Denis Malgin was promoted to the top line and Alex Newhook was elevated to the second. Lars Eller pulled spot duty on both the third and fourth line to bring about some balance.

At 13:33, Sam Girard rallied the puck along the perimeter. He made a pass to Denis Malgin behind the goal line and Malgin sent it up to Logan O’Connor at the right circle. O’Connor fired a slap shot past Stalock – it was his first goal in thirteen games after last scoring against Edmonton on February 19th and his seventh of the year.

Fourteen seconds later, Denis Malgin delivered the final nail in the coffin. Mikko Rantanen’s shot was initially blocked, but MacKinnon retrieved it. MacKinnon slipped it between his legs towards the front of the crease and Malgin skated in to bat it in.

Colorado shut out the Chicago Blackhawks 5-0. Similar to their second period against Detroit, the Avs held Chicago to zero high-danger chances in the final frame. They played a better physical, checking game and locked it down definitively.

Alexandar Georgiev earned his fifth shutout of the season with 27 saves.

Evan Rodrigues did not return to the game. Jared Bednar said it was due to the hit along the boards in the second period. His injury was designated as upper-body, and he’s currently not in concussion protocol.


Alex Galchenyuk’s improvement: Galchenyuk’s improvement has been a hot topic of discussion. Greg Cronin described him as one of the Eagles’ best players “by a mile.” In 33 games with the Eagles, he’s pulled ahead as a clear top-line player who can be trusted in many situations. His production has taken off with 15 goals and 18 assists on the year and five points in his last five games.

“His points have grown enormously,” said Cronin. “He’s a point-per-game guy now. Defensively very responsible, he’s on d-zone faceoffs late in games because he’s so reliable now. I just hope it translates to be able to transfer to the Avs. He deserves it. That’s a long-winded answer, but he deserves it. I think he’ll help them if he plays with the same efficiency as he’s played in the American League.”

Beyond his production, he’s observably better defensively.

“The defending details I’d say were what kept him from staying with us the first time,” said Bednar. “This time though, he’s been rock solid defensively for us and he’s been chipping in a little, bit creating some offensive chances. That line has done a nice job in certain circumstances.”

In his last three games, he’s been resigned to a fourth line role with limited minutes that have not cracked the ten-minute mark until tonight. Still, he’s gradually ramped it up each game and his newfound confidence showed tonight especially.

“That’s the best game he’s played for us. I thought he was good tonight,” said Bednar. He felt the fourth line as a whole was the best line coming out of the gate. They had the team’s best Corsi for percentage at 85.71%.

Galchenyuk finished the night 11:18 minutes in ice time. He was tied with Mikko Rantanen for the second-most shots on net with five shots on goal. He had three additional attempts blocked or missed.

He also had two hits. His physical presence was notable, engaging skaters in the offensive zone but also on the backcheck.

Jared Bednar on Denis Malgin: “He’s been great. He’s hard to play against and he doesn’t throw the puck away. He doesn’t turn the puck over, he’s heavy in traffic. He’s fearless, competitive. Not just on the scoresheet, but he drew a penalty being strong on the puck in d-zone coverage doing the right thing. He broke up a bunch of plays tracking back into the zone and he’s equally as confident with the puck in the d-zone and the breakouts. He doesn’t throw the puck away. If you want it from him, you gotta go take it from him. He obviously has the ability to play with skilled players. Seems to be getting better and better as the season went on.

You immediately see all the skill and the skating ability. You wonder with his size as a coach, is he going to be able to defend? Is he going to be hard on pucks? Can you win battles? When he got here he was a little tentative, not as confident. He had trouble putting the puck in the net for a guy with as much skill as he has – in Toronto and here. But now he’s kind of found his groove, his confidence is growing. He’s a complete player. He can play both sides of the ice, he’s responsible on the defensive side and he’s highly impactful on the offensive side.”


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