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Game Two Recap: Avs even series with four-goal second

Apr 23, 2024; Winnipeg, Manitoba, CAN; Colorado Avalanche forward Miles Wood (28) is congratulated by his teammates on his goal against the Winnipeg Jets during the second period in game two of the first round of the 2024 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Canada Life Centre. Mandatory Credit: Terrence Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Job complete in Winnipeg, let’s go home.

For the Colorado Avalanche in Game Two, it was a much more controlled and coercive effort on both ends of the ice. It led to a much-needed 5-2 win over the Winnipeg Jets to even the series at 1-1.

It was a great rebound up and down the lineup as a whole to get the Avs back on track. Heading home, Colorado has everything to play for in front of Avs faithful in what should be a great two-game stretch at Ball Arena.

First Period

Colorado found itself in trouble early. David Gustafsson found a rebound off of Alexandar Georgiev and into an empty net for an early 1-0 lead.

Sean Monohan nearly made it 2-0 on a streaking tip in front, but the Avs did enough to hold him off, alongside two Jets power plays. Their second man advantage ended early, leading to a short Colorado power play which was filled with great chances from Valeri Nichushkin in front, but he couldn’t beat Connor Hellebuyck.

Both goaltenders made key saves down the road, with Hellebuyck surviving an onslaught in the final 10 minutes with some key saves both shorthanded and at even strength. At the other end, Georgiev made a crucial 3-on-1 save when the defense in front of him overcommitted. Hence, Colorado survived only down one with plenty of time to go.

Second Period

Colorado came out shooting as they did to end the first period. Miles Wood would score in his second straight game right off the faceoff, surprising everyone to even it up at one.

The Avs couldn’t convert on a four-minute double-minor high-sticking penalty on Kyle Connor who caught Cale Makar. It would bite them going the other way, as Ross Colton was stopped on one end, and Mark Schiefele scored at the other end.

But, Colorado would step it up from here. The third line started it off with a great shift, which Joel Kiviranta just couldn’t quite score on when his empty-net shot was blocked by a sliding Jets defender. They held off at the other end when Connor hit the post, and Georgiev stopped the following rebound.

Eventually, the Avs would score, and they would come quick. Artturi Lehkonen tied the game up at two with another tipped shot from Makar. Then, Hellebuyck misplayed the puck thanks to forechecking from Yakov Trenin, leading to Zach Parise finding the go-ahead goal. Finally, Josh Manson streaked out of the box in the final six seconds to add an insurance goal and a 4-2 lead with 20 minutes to go.

Third Period

The first 10 minutes of the period went exactly the way Colorado wanted it to. They got in the way of pucks and passing lanes, not allowing much to get to Georgiev. He was called into action though, stopping Nino Neiderreiter on a breakaway. The Avs just missed out on another insurance goal as both Nathan MacKinnon and Makar hit the post at the other end.

Meanwhile, Sean Walker took a hard hit from Vladislav Namestnikov and had to go down the tunnel afterward, being pulled by the concussion spotter. They would miss his support on the penalty kill, but Colorado did great killing off a Brandon Duhaime interference call, and Georgiev stood tall with a key save on Nikolaj Ehlers left all alone.

Winnipeg would pull Hellebuyck in the final two minutes, looking for anything still down two goals. Nichuhskin would ice the game with a deserved empty-net goal to earn Colorado a 5-2 win and an even series coming home to Ball Arena!

Yeti Takeaways

This second game of the series was full of momentum swings. The Jets looked all over it in the opening minutes, getting the lead and taking control. But, the Avs responded well to end the first period which carried over to the middle frame where they did all their damage. Wood scored in his second straight game, Nichushkin had a stellar game, and Lehkonen was phenomenal with a goal and assist. Up and down the lineup, it was a much more controlled effort than it was in Game One, leading to the win.

Goaltending was much, much better than what we saw in Game One. Just two days after giving up seven goals on 23 shots, he made 28 saves on 30 shots by Winnipeg. The team in front of him certainly helped as well by getting in the way of the Jets’ offense, but the goaltending was great as he did make a few crucial saves when the defense did let him down. This time around, the home team had 1.95 expected goals and was held just around that in the end. Now, the big question will be this: if Justus Annunen is healthy for Game Three, does Jared Bednar go with him or go back to Georgiev off the back of a solid performance?

Speaking of Game Three, the series shifts to Denver starting Friday night. Expect Ball Arena to be absolutely insane and filled with energy up the top of the Rockies and beyond. Plus, coming home tied with the series at one-all only helps Colorado. They have the best home-ice record in the league, with three of the next five games at home. Win all three, and they’ll move on to the next round. It is basically 50/50 for either team when the series is tied at one game a piece, and the next two home games will be crucial for the Avalanche if they want to advance. We’ll also have to see if Walker is okay to come back after he took his hit in the third period, but he did return to the game before it ended luckily.

Next on the Mountain

Finally, the Stanley Cup Playoffs return to Ball Arena on Friday night for Game Three in what should be a ruckous crowd. Puck drop is a late 8:00 p.m. MT.