3 Takeaways From Avalanche’s 3-2 Victory Over Kraken

The Colorado Avalanche had another abysmal start against the Seattle Kraken in their first-round playoff series, but they were able to finish with a flurry.

Explore everything hockey with THW’s Hockeypedia pages.

The Hockey Writers HockeyPedia 800x120

Devon Toews hammered home a rebound midway through the third period and the Avalanche held on for a 3-2 win in Game 2 on Thursday. Colorado came from two goals down to earn the victory, getting a charge from a pair of second-period goals.

Here are three takeaways from Thursday’s victory.

Toews Comes Through

Toews has been one of Colorado’s best defensemen since coming to the club in a 2020 trade with the New York Islanders. His offense gets overshadowed a bit by the scoring ability of linemate Cale Makar, but Toews has proven he can come up with big plays in the offensive zone, too. After a faceoff win by Nathan MacKinnon, Artturi Lehkonen got off a shot that was saved but kicked right out to the waiting stick of Toews. He hammered it home to give the Avs the lead and eventually the victory.

Devon Toews Colorado Avalanche
Devon Toews, Colorado Avalanche (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

It was a big game for Toews, who also assisted on one of Colorado’s second-period goals. It was a great bounce-back from a mediocre Game 1 where he had just two shots on goal and two rough giveaways. However, the Avalanche have gotten used to very few rough stretches from the 28-year-old defenseman. In Colorado’s run to the Stanley Cup last season, he tallied five goals and 10 assists. He also scored 50 points for the second season in a row and hasn’t had back-to-back games without a point since the middle of March.

Related: Avalanche’s Toews Emerging as Dark-Horse Norris Candidate

Toews was also fantastic at the end of the regular season. In the final seven games, he picked up a goal and nine assists, which included a three-assist game in an April 9 victory over the Anaheim Ducks. Game 2 was a solid offensive performance for all of the Avalanche defensemen, as the blueliners combined for a goal and four assists.

Slow Start Almost Sinks Avs Again

For the second game in a row, the Avalanche looked stagnant in the first period. The Kraken scored two goals while shutting out the Avs for the first 20 minutes, getting a quick goal from Justin Schultz less than three minutes into the game. They set the tone with a blistering forecheck, as Colorado didn’t even have a shot on goal when Seattle lit the lamp for the first time.

Justin Schultz Seattle Kraken
Justin Schultz, Seattle Kraken (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

The Kraken set a similar tone in Game 1, as well, opening the scoring on an Eeli Tolvanan goal just 3:25 into their first playoff game in franchise history. That set up the 3-1 Seattle victory in the series opener, and the tone was set early again on Thursday. After Schultz’s early strike, the Avalanche had a chance to equalize midway through the opening frame. The Kraken took advantage, however, getting a shorthanded tally from Brandon Tanev to push the lead to 2-0 going into the second period.

Latest News & Highlights

This isn’t exactly the type of start Colorado is used to. Throughout the regular season, the Avalanche have gone the way their first period goes. They were 42-7-5 when scoring first, as well as 31-2-3 when leading after the first period. Slamming the door after a fantastic first period isn’t anything new for the Kraken, either. They were 25-2-2 when leading after the first period, and this was the first time Seattle had lost in the Avalanche’s home rink this season.

Georgiev Slams the Door

The first period wasn’t anything to write home about for Colorado netminder Alexandar Georgiev. The second goal was a soft one, as it caromed off his glove and into the back of the net for a 2-0 Kraken lead on just their eighth shot of the contest. It was arguably the last mistake he made all night. After the gaffe, he stopped everything sent his way, finishing with 27 saves.

Alexandar Georgiev Colorado Avalanche
Alexandar Georgiev, Colorado Avalanche (Photo by Michael Martin/NHLI via Getty Images)

The sluggish defense in the first 20 minutes didn’t help Georgiev’s cause, but he was rock solid over the final 40 minutes. The biggest save he made came with just 40 seconds left in the second period. That’s when the Kraken found themselves in a 3-on-1 situation, which ended up on the stick of Jordan Eberle. The Seattle forward settled the puck and fired a shot from the left slot, but Georgiev was able to make a spectacular save with the blade of his right skate. Colorado cleared the puck to avert the crisis, but it was an enormous late stop to send the game into the final frame tied 2-2.

Shutting out the Kraken over the final two periods should provide a big boost for Georgiev, who is playing in his first postseason as a No. 1 goaltender. His only two playoff appearances in his career came last season, and both were in relief of Igor Shesterkin with the New York Rangers. The series is evened up at 1-1 heading into Game 3, which is slated for Saturday in Seattle.