NEW YORK — The Avalanche and Rangers could be set for an off-Broadway meeting next June.
For now, they’ve provided audiences with theater’s most familiar storytelling trope that somehow never tires.
New York’s goliath in goal, Igor Shesterkin, was as durable as ever — despite a terrible gaffe — but his former backup played David on Tuesday night. Alexandre Georgiou saved 44 shots at Madison Square Garden, then three more in a shootout, and Evan Rodriguez’s shootout goal gave the Avalanche a 3-2 win in front of former Evan Rodriguez fans, an epic three hours later. That was when they welcomed him in the first round. Applause
Georgiou didn’t take a bow, but that too could be a premature curtain call.
“I didn’t believe they did,” he said. “Maybe I’ll check on him later.”
Colorado is certainly no underdog. The Avs (4-2-1) are the reigning Stanley Cup champions and are widely considered favorites to repeat, even if they haven’t exactly played that way in their first six games. Their performance on Tuesday lived up to high expectations, but in New York they faced a Rangers team that reached the Eastern Conference finals last season – and traditionally the most widely accepted ingredient for playoff success. A team equipped with
That would be Shesterkin, one of the most elite netminders in the business. Georgiou began his career as the backup goalie to Rangers legend Henrik Lundqvist, then as Lundqvist faded into retirement, Shesterkin came in to give Georgiou the jump.
“Obviously it was a big game for him,” Rodrigues said.
The Avalanche chose to pursue a second consecutive championship this offseason with a more unorthodox strategy, trading draft picks for the more affordable Georgiou. He is an everyday NHL starter for the first time. His fifth start brought him to his old home.
“For me it was just going as normal,” Georgiou said. “Treat it like a normal game.”
Then the hero of the evening stopped himself and laughed.
“Which one is it?” he said hurriedly.
In his first five starts, the 26-year-old has allowed 2.6 goals per game with a .921 save percentage. Colorado is 4-0-1 with him in the net. He has allowed just four goals in five-for-five.
Georgiou notably rejected New York’s 2020 No. 1 overall draft pick, Alexis Lafrenière, multiple times, including once with a cleaning pad on a nifty redirect.
And when the game appropriately, if cruelly, went to a shootout, he once again managed to rise to the occasion. He saved three of New York’s four attempts. Game clincher: Another pad save against Lafreniere, an emotional Giorgio punching the air for a break.
He later tried to play it cool, saying no when asked if it was the best win of his life.
As for his grade: “It’s hard to say, but very fun,” says Georgiev, smiling again. “That’s probably the top.”
First to greet him in celebration was Rodrigues, another Avalanche newcomer who dropped to fourth in the shootout lineup when three tries per team weren’t enough to break the deadlock.
“I just kind of went with my gut on it,” Bednar said.
Rodriguez saw Kiel Makar try a backhand fake shot at the shootout turn. It’s a move that Rodriguez has made himself.
“I thought if I did that, he might bite on it,” she said, “and I might bite.”
The Avalanche entered the night ranked 31st in the NHL in penalty kills but stopped all four of New York’s power plays, including a 4-on-3 advantage in overtime. Georgiou’s greatest save may have come during the penalty kill, when the puck bounced over his left blocker and landed on the goal line. Giorgio, with no vision, fell backwards and froze the puck inches from the goal.
“I felt the puck was behind me – I think it was – so tried to cover the ice,” he said.
Colorado scored a shorthanded goal 59 seconds into the third period for a 2-1 lead when Shesterkin made his only scoring mistake of the night, straying far from the net as Andrew Cogliano gave chase and stripped the puck. It was centered to Logan O’Connor, who cashed in.
Georgiou only allowed goals? One came off the boards late in the second period on an odd-man rush stemming from a Sam Gerrard mistake, and another on an Adam Fox counter with 5:57 left in regulation after Nathan McKinnon picked off a puck at the other end. done.
“He’s a really good goalie, and we expect him to make big saves for us every night,” Makar said. “Hopefully we don’t have to put him in a position like we did tonight.”
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