Avalanche PK Shines, team moves to 4-0 to Start the Season
The Colorado Avalanche have started off the 23-24 season with a record of 4-0, most recently taking down the Connor Bedard led Chicago Blackhawks.
Last night's game was absolutely SURGICAL. Sometimes, we've seen in the past that Colorado can play down to an opponent. If they are playing a team that is expected to be a bad team, the team has had the tendency of struggling a little bit against them. Whether this is the Av's not taking their opponent seriously enough, or just not skating with enough effort, that was certainly not the case last night.
I almost feel bad for Petr Mrazek as he got absolutely shelled last night. Colorado outshot them 41 to 18, and the defense gave him absolutely no help. It started early in the first, at the 11:46 mark. Josh Manson wins a key board battle, and with a small tip pass to Logan O'Connor, LOC broke in with absolutely no pressure. He roofed the shot over Mrazek's glove to make it 1-0 Colorado. This is LOC's 2nd shorthanded goal in 4 games, both of which he got to show his elite speed off.
The Avs then went on the powerplay, and Ryan Johansen finally got his first goal by outworking the other Blackhawks near the side of the net. He ended up batting a puck out of the air and hacking at it, sending it over the pad of Mrazek to make it 2-0.
2nd period was much the same; domination by the Avs. On one of the prettiest passing plays I've seen so far this year, Nichushkin sent the puck over to a wide open Devon Toews, who sent it into the wide open 4'x6' net.
Unfortunately, Colorado also had a goal called back.... Ross Colton carried the puck up, passed it off to Jonathan Drouin around the blue line. He sent an absolute missile of a pass to the side of Petr Mrazek, where Miles Wood was charging, and he chipped it in. Unfortunately, Colton was offside and the goal was called back, but dang, that pass was a laser beam.
In the 3rd period, Jared Bednar moved Tomas Tatar up to the top line, and it seemed to fit quite well. Nathan MacKinnon received a pass from Tatar, and sniped it to the back of the net.
Avs win 4-0.
A few notes from the season so far:
Colorado's PK is currently at 100% with 2 short handed goals... That is massively efficient. The issue here: this will not keep up. Colorado NEEDS to stop taking stupid penalties and leaning on that squad as much as they have. Bowen Byram is the main culprit. 10 PIM in 4 games, and some of them are just not smart.
Alexandar Georgiev is off to a blazing start. 4-0 record, 0.965 SV, 0.92 GAA... This pace wont stay, but through 4 games, these are insane stats. If he keeps this kind of play up, he could be Vezina contender without question. I can't remember the last time I've felt this comfortable watching a goalie in the Avs net, aside from Patrick Roy. Geo is calm, has very fast feet, and is playing with tons of confidence right now.
Mikko Rantanen is off to another hot start as well, with 7 points in 4 games. Sitting tied for 2nd in the league in points, Mikko has had numerous "Rantanen" type games... Avs fans will know what I mean. He skates around, doesn't do a ton, or makes a few head scratcher plays, and all of a sudden, he scores and ends up with 3 points.
Ryan Johansen hasn't done much.... But his faceoff prowess has been key. RyJo currently is 58% on the faceoff dot, which is great. He finally got his first goal and point of the season last night; lets see if that starts the motor running.
It's been an exciting start to the season so far! The Avs will face off against the Carolina Hurricanes tomorrow, Oct 21st at 9 PM EST. I, for one, am looking forward to the earlier start times!
LETS GO AVS!