Shoddy Goaltending leads to Avalanche Game One loss

Edmonton Oilers v Colorado Avalanche
Edmonton Oilers v Colorado Avalanche / Matthew Stockman/GettyImages

The Avalanche lost a wild, back-and-forth affair in Winnipeg to trail 1-0 in the first round series against the Jets. A delight of a game for the laissez-faire fan, the teams combined for 13 goals over the course of the game, with the Jets’ seven outlasting the Avalanche’s six.

The offense for Colorado wasn’t the problem tonight against a normally stingy Winnipeg squad. The goaltending was not up to par, plain and simple.

Alexandar Georgiev started the game and continued his enigmatic ways of late, instilling zero confidence from coach Jared Bednar as they look to even the series in game two.

The Avalanche scored six goals and accumulated 45 shots on goal. They peppered probable Vezina winner Connor Hellebuyck, and he faltered, allowing far more goals than his 2.39 goals against average said he should have.

The problem was that Georgiev did not match Hellebuyck.

If the Colorado Avalanche can score six goals in a game, there are not many reasons why they shouldn’t be victorious. One reason is obvious—allowing more goals.

Georgiev faced 23 shots tonight, a total indicative of a decent defensive team effort. He allowed seven of those shots to get past him. That performance earned him a .696 save percentage tonight, unacceptable for a regular NHL netminder, let alone the league leader in victories this season. He did not have a chance on a few of those goals, but Avalanche Nation would agree there was more than one that he should have stopped.

Every goalie has a bad game here and there. It’s the way the league works. The players on the other team are putting their best efforts forth, and sometimes that happens.

Georgiev has seemingly had this happen far too often lately. Coach Bednar specifically mentioned improved performance from the goaltending position, and the Avalanche clearly did not receive it tonight.

Losing one game on the road in a hostile building is not the end of the world. The Avalanche are a good team with playoff experience, and they’ve got the ability to right the ship in quick fashion. To do that they’ll need superior goaltending, and whether they can obtain that is a question mark moving forward now. Coach Bednar has decisions to make in the days leading up to game two.

He needs to press the right buttons to get the Avs back on track and make this a long playoff run. Is Justus Annunen the right answer?