Comments / New

Recap: Avalanche snap four-game skid with quality win

Feb 13, 2024; Washington, District of Columbia, USA; Colorado Avalanche left wing Artturi Lehkonen (62) scores a goal on Washington Capitals goaltender Charlie Lindgren (79) as Capitals defenseman Ethan Bear (25) defends in the second period at Capital One Arena. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

All Avs, no Cap.

The Colorado Avalanche did well in a get-right win against the Washington Capitals, ending by the final score of 6-3. Artturi Lehkonen had his best game since his return from injury against the Seattle Kraken, recording two goals and assists.

He was part of a driving force within the top six, getting support from Ross Colton as well. Overall, it’s what the Avalanche are expected to do and they finally look more on track after dropping the first four games of this road trip. Let’s recap, shall we?

First Period

The Avs came out flying and looking good, earning three odd-man rushes early on. The third time would eventually pay off when Colton finished off a nice pass from Miles Wood and beat Charlie Lindgren to grab the early lead.

The second goal would follow soon after. This time, it came with a laser of a shot from Devon Toews all the way from Virginia to go top-shelf and double Colorado’s lead in the first five minutes of action.

But then, the Avs took their foot off the gas. A lapse in concentration over multiple shifts let Washington build into the game and capitalize on some chances. First, Beck Malenstyn would find the puck at his feet to easily put the puck into the net past a lunging Alexandar Georgiev.

When it rains, it pours for the Avalanche. Such was the case just 44 seconds later. Connor McMichael tried to find a teammate in the middle, but instead hit the skate of Lehkonen to roll the puck over the line past an unsuspecting Georgiev to even the score at two.

The Avs would have to battle to keep their lead with a Nathan MacKinnon holding penalty, and did so. But yet, they were unable to threaten Lindgren at the other end, leaving the 2-2 scoreline to be settled in the middle frame and beyond.

Second Period

Neither team started the first half of the frame with many offensive chances. Mikko Rantanen had a couple of looks, but never got a good shot off on either backhand.

But, his Finnish counterpart would break the deadlock. Lehkonen was on the receiving end of a great feed from Colton, who had an empty net to put it in for his first goal in a return from injury and give Colorado the lead.

At the other end, Georgiev was kept busy by former Av Nicolas Aube-Kubel who had his way with Sam Girard. He was also part of keeping Colorado’s fourth line on the ice for nearly three minutes. But the Avs held off.

Plus, in return for holding off, they would get a powerplay thanks to too many men on the ice for Washington. Finally, the man advantage demons would be slayed with Lehkonen dishing a beautiful pass to Rantanen to make it a two-goal lead with 20 minutes to go.

Third Period

After killing off a Rantanen tripping penalty, referees would start leaving their fingerprints on the game. A Nic Dowd holding penalty which he didn’t like on Girard led to a great man advantage, but no goal for the Avs.

Meanwhile, at the other end, Josh Manson threw a clean hit on Tom Wilson, who went down injured. The refs got together to call an elbowing penalty, despite Manson’s elbow being far away from Wilson’s head. Regardless, Alexander Ovechkin took the chance with his usual one-timer from the near circle to get the Caps within one.

Washington would continue to push, putting everything they could on Georgiev. Cale Makar was crucial tying up a game-tying shot at the far post with the net empty for the Caps. It would be beneficial for the Avs, as Lehkonen recorded an empty-netter for his fourth point of the night, plus Wood tacked on one of his own to seal a 6-3 win.

Yeti Takeaways

There were several players worthy of a shoutout for their efforts. First up, Colton with his goal and assist was great on the second line. There had been questions about how he’d do with the Roaring 20s line being broken up, and Logan O’Connor out with a nagging lower-body injury. His assist on Lehkonen’s goal came with a great pass. Speaking of Lehky, his four-point night also led the way on the second line and arguably was his best since his return from injury. Finally, even though he didn’t end up on the score sheet, Johnathan Drouin deserves some praise for his puck-moving ability and had a few shots himself just quite unable to find the twine.

Another great outcome from this game was the special teams taking a turn by the looks of it. They finally broke their powerplay scoreless streak, officially going 1-for-3 in this game. At the other end, the Avs only let in one goal thanks to Ovechkin being Ovechkin from his office. Besides that, they killed off the other two Caps man advantages. Plus, Colorado held off Washington 6-on-5 for nearly three minutes as well, only helping their case. Perhaps this is a good swing of momentum for the special teams moving forward.

Speaking of swinging momentum in their favor, Colorado does this after going on losing streaks. Looking back at recent memories, the Avs go on win streaks after losing several in a row. It’s just what they do. Will we see something similar in their coming games? It doesn’t get any easier from here out – especially in the next game – but we’ll see if they can keep it up moving forward.

Next on the Mountain

The road trip finally comes to a close Thursday night against the Tampa Bay Lightning. This 2022 Stanley Cup Final rematch gets underway at 5:00 p.m. MT.