Why Game Two Is The Most Important Game Of Georgiev’s Career

Colorado Hockey Now

The Colorado Avalanche really don’t have any other options. Justus Annunen got sick at the absolute worst possible time, and Ivan Prosvetov hasn’t played an NHL game in months. They have no choice but to turn to Alexandar Georgiev to turn things around after one of, if not the worst game of his NHL career.

Buckle up. We’re going to find out a lot about the 28 year old goaltender tonight.

His Avalanche career almost certainly hangs in the balance. If things go poorly on Tuesday, it would be tough to see Colorado turning to Georgiev again in Game Three, especially if Annunen can get healthy. And if you pull the plug on him as your starter, it’s very difficult to put him back in at any other point in the playoffs.

It’s been a remarkable fall from grace for Georgiev. Last season, he was tremendous as the starting goaltender. Sure, he didn’t have the best first round against the Kraken, but you went into the summer thinking the Avalanche didn’t have to worry about finding a starting goaltender for at least one summer. Heck, I thought he’d improve on that and have an even better season this year.

It started out that way, as he was their MVP through the first four games. Things quickly took a turn, though.

The games where Georgiev was giving up 4+ goals a night were increasingly more frequent. In 32 of his final 58 starts, he finished with a save percentage below .900. That’s not a recipe for success. Just when it seemed like he was turning the corner and getting hot at the right time after the All-Star break, his game crumbled again.

In his last seven starts, including Sunday’s disastrous Game One, he has given up 33 goals. He didn’t even finish two of those starts, and let’s be honest, if Annunen was available on Sunday, I don’t think he would have finished that one either.

The Prosvetov recall on Monday sent a clear message to Georgiev – if you aren’t on top of your game, we now have options behind you.

This is far and away the most important game of Georgiev’s Avalanche career, and possibly his NHL career. He still has one year remaining on his contract, but if this doesn’t get better, how do you bring him back?

I’ll answer that for you – I don’t think you can. Everything that has happened this season is working against him. The deflating goals early in games, his inability to keep his cool, and the sub-par play in general. This is a team built to win right now, and they can’t waste any more time with a goaltender who can’t get the job done.

He just has to perform in Game Two. There are no ifs, ands, or buts about it.

This is a tremendous opportunity for Georgiev. He can play well and shut everyone up, at least for a few days. Avalanche fans would love for that to happen. If the opposite scenario plays out, there’s a good chance he’ll be wearing a different uniform next season. Nobody is asking him to steal a game, but he can’t lose them one, which is what happened in Game One.

This is why they play the games and why the playoffs are so compelling. How mentally tough is Alexandar Georgiev? We’ll find out the answer soon enough.

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