Jared Bednar’s decision keys Colorado Avalanche comeback victory

Colorado Avalanche v Chicago Blackhawks
Colorado Avalanche v Chicago Blackhawks / Michael Reaves/GettyImages

The Avalanche were listless. They were down early and had come back to make it a one-goal deficit at 3-2. Then Nashville scored again to make it 4-2, and Alexandar Georgiev had taken a penalty out of frustration to put the Avs down a man.

Georgiev had a challenging game to that point, allowing four goals on 13 shots. He shot a puck up into the stands after allowing the fourth goal, collecting a two-minute penalty for unsportsmanlike conduct. At just 57 seconds of the second period, the Avalanche were now down two goals and, on the penalty kill.

At this point, coach Jared Bednar made a call and benched Georgiev for Justus Annunen. This decision changed the game for Colorado. The hope was that this decision would ignite the team and improve its play.

The Colorado Avalanche responded and then some.

Over the next 40 minutes of game time, the Avalanche completely dominated the game, scoring five goals and holding Nashville to zero. Annunen came in and shut the door, making 22 saves of varying difficulty, and the team defense overall was excellent.

It appears a key cog to that team defense may have been dinged up, as Sean Walker took a slap shot off his left side, likely his ribs, and did not return to the game. This didn’t stop Colorado as a team, as they continued to keep Nashville at bay.

The offense came alive, adding a power play goal along with four even-strength goals, one of those an empty netter.

There are times during the season or acutely during a game when a coach must decide to try and galvanize the players. Tonight, with an opportunity to clinch a playoff berth on the line, Bednar made the right call in motivating his players by benching struggling Alexandar Georgiev. That’s why he’s one of the best coaches in the league, and the way the Avalanche responded shows their guile, and they’ll need that in the race to Lord Stanley.