NHL teams take note: Alexander Georgiev is proof that anything can happen in the playoffs

It's hard to say exactly when Alexander Georgiev really started to win some hearts and change some minds on Tuesday night.

Maybe it was in the back half of the second half; That's when the Colorado Avalanche, for the first time in their first-round Stanley Cup playoff series against the Winnipeg Jets, were able to hold onto the lead for more than two minutes or so. Maybe it was when the Avs entered the locker room leading 4-2 with 20 minutes to play.

It might have been midway through the third period, when a series of saves by the beleaguered Avalanche goaltender helped hold the two-goal lead alive. Maybe that was when the buzzer sounded after their 5-2 win. Maybe it wasn't until the Avs got into the locker room at Canada Life Centre, tied 1-1 with the Jets and headed to Denver.

However, at some point, it had to happen. If you were watching, you should have realized that Colorado — after a 7-6 loss in Game 1 that had us talking not just about all those goals, but about at least one of the players they allowed — had sorted things out, thanks in part to… To…well, the same guy.

Indeed, Georgiev was the story of Game 2, stopping 28 of 30 shots, improving as the game progressed and providing a lesson in how quickly things can change in the playoffs — series to series, game to game, period to period, And from one moment to the next. Moment. The narrative doesn't always hold up. Facts don't always cooperate. For one night and counting, Alexander Georgiev was no problem for the Colorado Avalanche. It was in direct opposition to the way he played in the first game, which is the solution. How can we look at it like anything else?

See also  US wins women's figure skating bronze, giving Ilana Myers-Taylor historic fifth medal at Winter Olympics

He made a few big saves, most of which came midway through the third period with his team leading 4-2. He was there with 12:44 remaining, stopping a puck that rolled awkwardly off Nino Niederreiter's stick; Two missed posts by the Avs at the other end helped prompt Niederreiter to part ways. Game 1 Georgiev does not make this save.

He was there, and pulled Nikolai Ehlers out of the circle a few minutes later. There was no Avs defender within five feet, and there was nothing awkward about the ball Ehlers fired over his shoulder. The first match Georgiev scored two goals.

(Maybe it was poetic justice. It was Ehlers who put the first puck of the night on Georgiev — a slice of center ice that stopped him, and the Winnipeg crowd greeted it with mock cheers. Oops.)

By the end of it all, Georgiev had stared down Connor Hellebuyck and won, saving nearly 0.5 more goals than expected according to Natural Stat Trick, giving the Avalanche exactly what they needed and looking almost nothing like the guy we saw a few days ago. before. The conventional wisdom contained in this series has been two-fold: that the Avs have firepower, superior talent and an overall advantage — slight as that may be — over Winnipeg, and that Georgiev is shaken enough to bomb the whole thing.

It wasn't without merit either. Georgiev's .897 save percentage in the regular season was six percentage points below the league average, and didn't even break in expected goals allowed (minus-0.21). He's been even worse than that ever, posting a .856 save percentage in his last eight games, and even worse in Game 1, where he allowed seven goals on 23 shots and more than five goals more than expected. This is not bad. This is an oil spill. It was understandable to write him off. That Jared Bednar was written off for being thrown there in Game 2 would have been understandable. Writing the Avs — despite the greatness of Nathan MacKinnon and Kyle Makar — would have been understandable.

See also  Grant Wahl, famous football journalist, dies at the Qatar World Cup

It wouldn't be right.

The fact that all of this has happened now, four days into a two-month ordeal, is a gift — because the postseason so far has lacked surprises, almost as a rule. The Rangers and Oilers dominate the Capitals and Kings. The Hurricanes are halfway done with the Islanders. The Canucks struggle with predators. Panthers–Lightning are close, but one team is clearly better than the other. Bruins – Maple Leafs is a close matchup with psychological baggage that we don't have time to unpack. At Golden Knights-Stars, Mark Stone returned and scored a great goal.

None of this should shock you. None of that should make you blink.

Is Georgiev good enough for Colorado, though? After what we saw in the first game? Strange, surprising and absolutely true. for now.

(Photo of Josh Manson congratulating Alexander Georgiev after Avs Game 2 win: Darcy Finley/NHLI via Getty Images)

Leave a Reply

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