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Disappointment in the desert, Avs secure point in 4-3 OT loss

Meghan Angley Avatar
December 1, 2023

The Colorado Avalanche started their three game road trip in Arizona tonight.

Alexandar Georgiev earned his nineteenth start in net after a terrific performance against the Tampa Bay Lightning.

They rolled with the same lineup as the Tampa game and Sam Malinski was recalled from the Colorado Eagles to join the Avs as an extra defenseman on the trip.

Georgiev faced 32 shots and made 29 saves on the night in the 4-3 OT loss. It came down to the final seconds of overtime after a heroic kill and a second period that bested the Avs, but they couldn’t force the shootout.

The first period could best be described as a decent road period. It started a bit sloppy and disconnected.

Arizona implemented a familiar strategy of an aggressive backcheck in the neutral zone to slow the Avs up the middle and force them to move laterally. It made entries difficult, but they persevered.

By the period’s end, the Avs battled through it, gaining cleaner entries and better establishing the zone.

Colorado had a good kill and prevented Arizona from getting any shots on net. Joel Kiviranta made a smart play to angle the puck away from his skate and clear it.

Even though Arizona had the first two chances on net, once Colorado started to rattle away at the net, the shots flowed more throughout the period until they were ahead in the shots battle.

With a little under two minutes to do it, the Avs had a powerplay chance.

The Avs cycled the puck – Val Nichushkin to Mikko Rantanen – and Rantanen’s pass found Cale Makar up high. Makar took the shot from distance and beat Connor Ingram thanks to Nichushkin’s big-body screen in front.

Early into the second period, Arizona out maneuvered the Avs on the cycle. Starting with a pass entry, Arizona set up inside the defensive zone and J.J. Moser shot from out high zipped down the slot off of Liam O’Brien and ultimately Travis Boyd’s stick to go in.

A great shift from the third line applied pressure shortly after. Even though Arizona got the puck out, the Avs immediately re-entered. Ross Colton tagged up Caleb Jones. Jones skated it in along the wall and rimmed it ahead for Miles Wood.

Wood skated it across the crease and backhanded it in.

The Avs lost a little traction in this frame. The Coyotes climbed ahead in the shots battle 13-8 and Arizona controlled five-on-five possession in Colorado’s end.

Later, Jones went to the box for interference. Alex Kerfoot completed the pass to Nick Schmaltz from behind the goal line – it was a great pass that slipped between both Makar and Devon Toews. Schmaltz, all alone in the slot, one-timed it glove-side.

The momentum swayed in Arizona’s favor at the top of the third period.

Josh Manson and Bo Byram skated in a foot race for the puck two-on-two. Michael Carcone beat Manson to the puck and Byram stayed shortside which allowed Carcone to skate around the net all alone. Georgiev committed to his left post and Carcone wristed it into the open net stick-side.

The Avs woke up a little bit and chipped away at Ingram.

A big hit from Josh Manson on Boyd led to a fight between Manson and O’Brien. Manson got several right-hooks in and both were assessed matching fighting majors. O’Brien got an extra two for unsportsmanlike conduct, and the Avs received a powerplay.

They had a good look on a Nichushkin chip-in from Mikko Rantanen that was stopped. Nichushkin made a diving play to recover the puck to keep the play alive. It allowed Rantanen to reset to Makar at the high-slot.

Makar fed MacKinnon at the left circle, and MacKinnon one-timed it in.

In the final period of regulation, Colorado held Arizona to just three shots and put up seven of their own to regain the advantage.

It wasn’t a dominant period, but it was a good response to the troubles of the second period.

When they needed to score on the powerplay to tie it, they found a way to capitalize when they needed it.

As a result, a tired looking Avalanche team secured – at minimum – a point.

With about two minutes left in overtime, Byram was eager to defend against a behind the net play after his skater escaped him and got called for slashing.

The Avs heroically killed the subsequent four-on-three, but couldn’t hang on in time for the shootout.

Matias Maccelli passed to Nick Bjugstad from inside the left circle. Makar got a stick on the pass, but it still made it through and Bjugstad tapped the puck at the top of the crease.

Georgiev’s left pad stopped it and Makar tried to reach for it and accidentally knocked it in instead.

With twenty-one seconds until the end of overtime, the Arizona Coyotes snatched the second point from the Avs.

Arizona controlled the overtime period. The Avs only had one chance off a Rantanen snap shot and Arizona had seven.

The Coyotes never really went away at any point.

The third line put forth a valiant effort. Wood’s energy made him a threat down low on several chances, Colton’s skill and vision extended possession, and O’Connor’s ability to win battles and play responsibly held things down.

It wasn’t a bad enough loss for the Avs to dwell on it for long. There’s obviously some pain points, but the powerplay scored on two of three chances and continues to roll – now with at least a goal in the last nine games.

The Avs have a back-to-back in California next on the docket. Saturday they’ll take on the 9-14-0 Anaheim Ducks.

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