Avalanche Skate: Goalie Talk Ahead Of Big Matchup With Stars

Colorado Hockey Now

Colorado Avalanche head coach Jared Bednar was a man of few words on Tuesday morning. Some days, he’s very talkative, and some days, not as much, but rarely do you get really short answers from him.

That’s why him saying very little after morning skate catches my attention. Things are starting to get serious.

With less than two months until the regular season ends, games mean just a little bit more every night, but Tuesday night’s game is pretty darn important. The Central Division leading Dallas Stars are in town, one night after losing in overtime to the New York Islanders.

Colorado is 2-0 against the Stars this season, with both those wins coming away from home, and given their road struggles, those are perhaps their most impressive wins this season. Bednar said the focus isn’t on their opponents, though. Not at this time of the year.

“We’re looking at ourselves more than anything else,” Bednar said. “We still feel like we’ve put together a good plan for Dallas. We’ve played them well this season. They’re on the second half of a back-to-back, we’re rested, going to try to jump on them tonight.”

Alexandar Georgiev will start in net, and although Bednar wasn’t happy with at least one of the goals he gave up against Toronto, his numbers since over his last 10 games have been better than they were in previous stretches. Justus Annunen has started three games since the break, and with a bit more rest, I wondered if coach had noticed an improvement in his starting goaltender with more games off.

He turned it right back around on me.

“I don’t know. Not really. Have you?”

I then asked if he’s noticed any difference at all.

“I liked Georgie going into the break,” he said. “I thought Georgie was outstanding going into the break, the last segment. So, I don’t know. I don’t know if he’s been even that good coming out of the break as he was going into it.”

My eyes see a better Georgiev since the break. Not perfect, but better. I think the Avalanche are obviously looking for a little bit more, though.

Other News And Notes

  • Nathan MacKinnon was not present at morning skate, but he will play tonight. He took a maintenance day.
  • Dallas started Wedgewood last night, so look for them to throw their star netminder Jake Oettinger in net tonight.
  • Valeri Nichushkin took MacKinnon’s spot on the powerplay, but obviously isn’t going to play tonight. Look for him to play sometime next week when the Avalanche return home.
  • Artturi Lehkonen moved to the top line at practice yesterday with MacKinnon and Mikko Rantanen, so I expect that to stay the same tonight. Jonathan Drouin dropped down to play with Ryan Johansen and Zach Parise.
  • Bednar said they’ve discussed the division title, but it “depends on what we’ve got to do to get there.” Colorado may have emptied the tank to win the division last year, but did Bednar think they tried too hard to win the division last year?
    • “I don’t,” he said.
PHP Code Snippets Powered By : XYZScripts.com