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Avs Drop the SJ Blackwoods 2-1 in Shootout

October 15, 2023, 6:27 PM ET [0 Comments]
Jordan Boutilier
Colorado Avalanche Blogger • RSSArchiveCONTACT
The Avalanche faced off against the San Jose Sharks on Saturday night, taking the victory 2-1 in a shootout.

I'd be remiss to not give a salute to Mackenzie Blackwood, the goaltender for the Sharks... WOW what a game he played. He was making huge saves all night, got a little puck luck on some shots off the post, and a few that sat in the crease, but he played a Patrick Roy-esque game. There were points during this game when Av's fans as a whole grew increasingly frustrated, watching their team absolutely dominate play only to miss on opportunities by inches.

The Sharks kicked off the scoring in the first period on a harmless looking point shot from Matt Benning, but standing in front was the young Thomas Bordeleau, who tipped the puck downwards for his first career NHL goal. It was a nice tip, and there was not much Alexandar Georgiev could do to stop that one.

We have to fast forward all the way to 1:26 left in the 3rd period for the next goal. Again, Blackwood was a man on fire. The Avalanche pulled Georgiev for the extra attacker, and after Valeri Nichushkin worked the puck to the point, Cale Makar ripped his signature wrist shot off through a screen, beating Blackwood to tie the game up.

Going into overtime, Nathan MacKinnon got called for a kneeing penalty, and the Sharks started to pour it on. They were driving hard to the net, but Georgiev shut the door and kept the game tied. Onto the shootout we go.

Blackwood held strong until Mikko Rantanen was up. Rantanen picked the puck up and came down the left side, and picked the corner on a beautiful shot that made me feel like Milan Hejduk was back in the NHL. Hejduk had this great ability to shoot without moving very much, and Rantanen did just that. Mike Hoffman was up next, and came down. It looked like he wanted to get Georgiev down and pull a Forsberg on him, but Georgiev read this perfectly, making the stop for his 100th career win.

Georgiev had a quietly great game as well, stopping everything that San Jose threw at him, and keeping the Sharks from building any momentum, aside from Bordeleau's goal. He was especially impressive in the OT, while killing the penalty off, and looked unflappable in the shootout. His reads of every shootout attempt were impressive, and he made the saves look a lot easier than they were. He's been impressive through two games for me, with 2 wins, a 1.45 GAA and 0.947 sv.

The other callout I wanted to make here, aside from the positives of Makar and Georgiev, is a little more underrated. You won't see it on the stat sheets, or without actually watching, but Miles Wood was a menacing physical presence in this game. Consistently playing the body, he ran over Matt Benning in the corner halfway through the game, and you could tell it was a bone jarring hit. He also ran Thomas Bordeleau into the boards, which unfortunately had both players actually hit the open door as Bowen Byram was trying to come off the ice. Luckily, nobody seemed hurt, but that could have been a lot worse. Wood was using his speed efficiently, and throwing the body around, which is something we've missed without Captain Gabriel Landeskog the last few seasons.

Another positive callout; Ryan Johansen. Now, he had a quiet game. He didn't seem to skate all that hard, or do too much, but he did have a few passes to the slot that were nice. The biggest contribution he made was on the faceoff dot. He was out there for important faceoffs all over the game; in OT, in the waning minutes of the third when Colorado was trying to tie it up... He won 17 of 28 faceoffs for 60.7%, and while some fans may say faceoffs don't matter THAT much, thats simply untrue for me. I've watched this team struggle in the dot for years, and how many times we've seen momentum disappear say on a Powerplay from losing the puck cleanly, and the other team clearing it. The pressure stays more consistent when the team controls the puck right from the drop, and while it is not the be all, end all, faceoffs can be a big part of keeping momentum.

The Avalanche are off for a few days, but face the Seattle Kraken on Tuesday, October 17th at 10PM EST. That will be an interesting matchup, as the Kraken eliminated the Avs in the first round in last years playoffs. Grudge match? Let's go!

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