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Avalanche roll past Jets 5-2, head home with series tied 1-1

Colorado Avalanche's Cale Makar (8) and Winnipeg Jets' Nino Niederreiter (62) fight for possession of the rebound during the third period in Game 2 of their NHL hockey Stanley Cup first-round playoff series in Winnipeg, Tuesday April 23, 2024. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Fred Greenslade Colorado Avalanche's Cale Makar (8) and Winnipeg Jets' Nino Niederreiter (62) fight for possession of the rebound during the third period in Game 2 of their NHL hockey Stanley Cup first-round playoff series in Winnipeg, Tuesday April 23, 2024. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Fred Greenslade

Alexandar Georgiev paid back his Colorado Avalanche teammates for believing in him.

Georgiev had a bounceback game Tuesday, making 28 saves to help the Avalanche earn a 5-2 victory over the Winnipeg Jets that tied their first-round NHL playoff series at a game apiece.

"They showed so much support to me over the last couple of days. A very rough first game, obviously," said Georgiev, who allowed seven goals on 23 shots in Winnipeg's 7-6 Game 1 victory on Sunday.

"I just felt so much trust in the room from everybody and I appreciate it so much. It helped me reset, to know that they have got my back. I know I'll help them out as well during this playoff."

Artturi Lehkonen had a goal and assist as the Avalanche scored three unanswered second-period goals.

Miles Wood, Zach Parise, Josh Manson and Valeri Nichushkin, with an empty-netter, also scored for the Avalanche.

The best-of-seven Western Conference matchup shifts to Denver for Friday's Game 3.

Colorado head coach Jared Bednar said it was "fantastic" Georgiev rebounded.

"I thought he was outstanding and he deserves all the credit because our team was better, but it wasn't that much better. But he was much better and he gave us a chance to win and we did win and now we have to go repeat it (at home)," Bednar said.

David Gustaffson and Mark Scheifele scored for the Jets.

Connor Hellebuyck stopped 27 of the 31 shots he faced for Winnipeg in front of another sold-out crowd of 15,225 white-clad fans at Canada Life Centre.

Scheifele said the Jets probably didn't test Georgiev enough.

"But he did make some big saves," Scheifele acknowledged. "(Kyle Connor) hit the crossbar in that third period. We get some looks.

"He hits the post in the second period and then they go down and score shortly after. That's playoffs, you know? We've just got to continue to make adjustments and try to find ways to get to the front of the net a little more and get a few more chances and get a bit more o-zone time."

The Jets led 1-0 after the first period, but Colorado mounted a 4-2 lead after scoring three goals in the final 5:37 seconds of the middle frame.

Winnipeg fans were razzing Georgiev from the get-go, giving the netminder a loud cheer when he made his first save of the game.

Georgiev was then beaten by Gustafsson 3:15 into the first period when he capitalized on a loose puck off a rebound and put it into an open net.

It was the fourth-line forward's first career playoff goal in his fifth career post-season game.

The Avalanche were down 9-2 in shots on goal near the 13-minute mark, but turned up the heat as the opening period ended with the visitors ahead 15-12.

Wood tied it at 1:59 into the second period when Ross Colton won a faceoff and sent the puck to him and he fired it past Hellebuyck.

"I think we need some more zone time," Connor said of making Georgiev work harder. "We were just too quick on a lot of our plays. Getting shots blocked. They did a good job getting into lanes."

Connor received a double minor for high-sticking Cale Makar but Colorado only put one shot on net.

Winnipeg responded 32 seconds after the penalty expired when Scheifele raced to the net and redirected a pass from Gabriel Vilardi at 8:37.

After Connor had a shot hit the post and bounce out, Colorado scored three in a row.

Lehkonen tipped in a Makar shot at 14:16 and Parise made it 3-2 three minutes later during a scramble for the puck in front of the Winnipeg net.

Manson came out of the penalty box for roughing and received a breakaway pass from Nathan MacKinnon, beating Hellebuyck with seven seconds remaining.

The Jets 6-foot-7 defenceman Logan Stanley crushed Avs' defenceman Sean Walker in the corner going for the puck nine minutes into the third. Walker headed to the dressing room, while Stanley and Colorado forward Brandon Duhaime went to the box for roughing. Bednar said Walker was "fine."

Duhaime returned to the penalty box a few minutes later for interference but Winnipeg couldn't capitalize.

Nichushkin sent the puck in an empty net with 57 seconds left.


The Avalanche were the NHL's best home team during the regular season, finishing 31-9-1 at Ball Arena to rank first in home wins.

However, the Jets accounted for two of those losses as they took the season series 3-0, including a 7-0 victory on April 13 and a 4-2 win Dec. 7.

Winnipeg went 25-13-3 on the road this season, tied for third in the NHL in road wins.


Game 3 in the series is Friday night in Denver.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 23, 2024. Top Stories

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