The Colorado Avalanche lost on the road Tuesday night, 6-3, against the Arizona Coyotes.
Here are three points from the game:
Even the Avalanche wasn’t immune to the nationwide airline panic this holiday season. Colorado’s trip was delayed, forcing the Avs to fly to Arizona the afternoon before the game — just hours before the ball dropped. Their delay showed.
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The Coyotes took a 1-0 lead less than 4 minutes into regulation when Arizona forward Shayne Gostisbehere capitalized on poor Avs defensive play with a rocket on net. The Avs eventually woke up with an Evan Rodrigues power-play goal in the first period. But count this as another rough start.
Georgiev was burned
Aleksandar Georgiev had been phenomenal over his previous six starts. He allowed eight hits on 160 shots with a stellar .950 fielding percentage. Georgiev should be great, now more than ever, with a lower-body injury against Pavel Francouz’s defense. So how do you explain Tuesday night?
Georgiev allowed five goals on 32 shots against Arizona. It’s the second time this season he’s given up five in a game. However, you can’t pin them all this time on Georgiev. Two goals were from distance through heavy traffic. Two more came on odd man rushes, of course, enabled by the Avalanche’s poor defense. Georgiev could be better. So does the rest of his team. Arizona ended the game with an empty netter.
The Avalanche would have benefited greatly from the presence of injured center Nathan MacKinnon (upper body) in Arizona. That’s a given. But Colorado’s long wait may finally be nearing its end. Coach Jared Bednar addressed MacKinnon’s health Tuesday with the team returning to Ball Arena this week for a three-game homestand.
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“We should see him coming out of this break here,” Bednar said on Altitude 92.5 FM radio. “He’ll continue to skate. And hopefully, between now and New Year’s (Sunday) he can be back in the lineup. That would be a little bit ahead of schedule, but it looks like he’s knocking on the door here. “
Coyotes 6, Avalanche 3
What happened: Colorado snapped a four-game hitting streak with a largely uninspired performance after the NHL holiday break.
What went well: Forward Evan Rodrigues tied the game just 10 seconds into the team’s first power play chance of the night. He now has eight goals this season. Cale Makar scored only his second goal in December. Striker Mikko Rantanen scored his team-leading 24th goal of the season.
What went wrong: Rantanen had a goal – hitting the ball out of the air into the net – disallowed on an Arizona offside challenge. It would have tied the match at 3-3. Then, a Coyotes power-play goal cut the Avs back to a two-goal deficit.
Between the pipes: Starting goalkeeper Aleksandar Georgiev made 27 of 32 saves. Coyotes netminder Connor Ingram stopped 26 of Colorado’s 29 shots on goal.
Injury updates: Forward Valeri Nichushkin (lower body) and goalkeeper Pavel Francouz (lower body) were unavailable Tuesday night. Forward Martin Kaut (upper body) is considered week-to-week. Forward Andrew Cogliano (upper body) returned to face the Coyotes.
What to expect next: The Avalanche (19-12-2) return home Thursday night to face the Los Angeles Kings.