Alexander Georgiev resets after 'very tough first game', leads Avs to victory

After the Avalanche clinched a first-round series with the Winnipeg Jets on Tuesday night, Colorado's Alexander Georgiev praised his teammates for the support they've given him, with coach Jared Bednar also defending his goaltender.

Georgiev, who gave up seven goals on 16 shots in the Avs' Game 1 loss on Sunday, responded by stopping 28 of the 30 shots he faced in his team's 5-2 win at Canada Life Centre.

“They have shown me a lot of support over the past two days,” Georgiev said. “The first match was very difficult of course. I felt a lot of confidence in the room from everyone. I appreciate that a lot. It helped me reset myself and I know they have my back. I know I will help them as well during the match.” This was a huge qualifier from them.

Entering Game 1, the Avalanche were already facing questions about how they would perform against the Jets. They were 0-3 in the regular season against Winnipeg, their last meeting coming on April 13, a 7-0 loss in which Georgiev allowed four goals on 15 shots. Watching Georgiev surrender seven goals on Sunday raised more questions for Bednar and the Avalanche about their plans moving forward in net.

Bednar opted to stay with Georgiev, and the decision has paid off, with the coach calling the 38-win goaltender's effort “fantastic.”

“You can imagine coming here and not having a good night as a team, not having a good night on the defensive end, and if you give up seven as a goalie, what kind of things do you read online,” Bednar said. “What you hear from everyone. Everyone immediately goes into doubt and criticism. To be able to put that aside and focus on his process…and go out and prove people wrong in game two?

See also  Beekeeper ends the Dodgers-Diamondbacks delay and throws the first pitch

“This is a difficult job to do because you are the last line of defense.”

Jets forward David Gustafsson gave his team a 1-0 lead in the first period before the Avs scored four of the game's five goals in the second period to take a 4-2 lead.

Some of Georgiev's most important saves came in the third period which saw the Jets finish with a 73.1% shooting share. There was one save where Jets forward Nino Niederreiter was trying to corral a rebound while blocking defenseman Sean Walker before Georgiev could stop the ball.

His strongest save of the third came when the Jets were on a power play and a cross-court pass found its way to an open Nikolai Ehlers, who fired an empty-net shot from the right faceoff circle that was stopped by Georgiev with 12:44 left. Period.

Valery Nikushkin scored into an empty net late in the third period for a 5-2 lead.

“I tried to imagine that feeling of winning the first game in the series for us, trusting the game, enjoying the atmosphere and trying to treat it as a new game, and certainly after the last game,” Georgiev said.

Bednar said in his post-match comments that Georgiev “deserves all the credit” for reasons he will continue to explain.

It started when Bednar said 50% of the questions he faced from reporters between Games 1 and 2 were about Georgiev. Even with this attention, Georgiev ignored the speech and did not let it serve as a distraction, he said.

Bednar said that although the Avs were better in Game 1, he felt they weren't “much better” in Game 2.

See also  MLB lockout news: Rob Manfred cancels more games after talks stop; April 14 is now the earliest possible opening day

“But it was much better, and it gave us a chance to win, and we did win,” Bednar said. “Now, we have to reiterate that. We still feel that whether it's Georgie or our team, whoever it is, we're going to do our best to try to be as close to perfect as possible without being nervous about it. … Our team is in full support.” “For what he's capable of doing and what we think he's capable of doing.”

The series, now tied 1-1, heads to Denver with Game 3 scheduled for Friday at 8 p.m. local time.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *