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"This is exactly how I want our team to be… It's the difference between winning and losing..." Alexandar Georgiev shuts out Vegas

Meghan Angley Avatar
January 11, 2024

The Colorado Avalanche left no room for regret in their shutout win over the Vegas Golden Knights.

After a handful of games outside of regulation, the Avs made sure to slam the door on the Knights in the second period to shut them down.

In his NHL debut, Vegas’ goaltender Jiri Patera made 35 saves and posed a small challenge to the Avs, but the powerplay couldn’t be stopped.

With a few seconds left in the first period, Mikko Rantanen won the offensive zone faceoff and the Avs cycled the puck out high. Jonathan Drouin received the puck at the half wall and fed Rantanen behind the net. Rantanen slipped the puck under Brayden McNabb’s stick to Val Nichushkin waiting at the crease and Nichushkin chipped it in.

Vegas may have outshot Colorado in the first, but the Avs created more dangerous chances.

Midway through the second period, Colorado moved the puck out high again on the powerplay. Drouin made the cross-slot pass to Nathan MacKinnon at the left-circle, and MacKinnon ripped a one-timer that went wide behind the net. Rantanen snagged the loose puck and dropped the puck through his legs on the backhand. Nichushkin snapped the feed past Patera.

MacKinnon tied Joe Sakic’s home points record now with points in 23 games and tied Wayne Gretzky for the third-longest home point streak from the start of a season in NHL history.

Nichushkin scored his 13th powerplay goal of the season, the second-most ever by an Avalanche player through his first 40 games of a season behind Sakic.

Colorado also currently makes up the most powerplay goals in the league.

The Avs suppressed Vegas to five shots inside the second and kept Vegas at arm’s length through the third.

After hard work along the boards to keep the puck in play from Ross Colton, Logan O’Connor, and Val Nichushkin – Caleb Jones made the quick decision to settle the puck on his backhand and send a no-look pass to O’Connor out high. O’Connor took the shot from the point and beat Patera at distance.

O’Connor extended his point-streak to five games. His recent stint in the top-six has granted him more opportunities, but he’s certainly seized them.

Georgiev made 25 saves to complete the shutout on the heels of a shootout win over Boston. He made 11 saves on high-danger chances including five inside the third period.

“Georgiev has been awesome and then the backend as well,” said Colton. “Guys have come in, we’ve had some injuries, but guys have played really well. Right now we’re doing a good job of just breaking pucks out, being quick in the D-zone, and that’s kind of transitioning to the offensive (zone) which is really helping us get a lot of chances.”

“This is exactly how I want our team to be… It’s the difference between winning and losing, and tonight he was perfect in that regard,” Bednar added of Georgiev’s performance. “The Boston game was a really good game. When our team’s are playing the right way, he gives us a chance to win every night.”

At morning skate, Bednar said that the Avs needed to repeat what they did against Boston. He liked tonight’s game too.

During the postgame, he pointed to the last ten game stretch (8-1-1) as an example of stacking good habits.

“We gave up all these scoring chances over a 10 game stretch which was game 20-30. We didn’t give them up from 30-40. It’s not my analytics, it’s the league’s analytics.

Our checking commitment has been good for a while and now we’re starting to see it. When we’re playing really good, it gets talked about maybe when we’re already starting to play poorly and there’s a lag and when we’re checking good – that’s (not) just magically happening now, but it’s been happening since game 30.”

Colorado embarks on a five game road trip. They’ll start in Toronto and make their way out East – ending in Boston and Philadelphia.

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