Mon, Mar 20, 2023 11:31 PM
By MICHAEL KELLY, Associated Press
DENVER (AP) — Alexandar Georgiev made 27 saves and Denis Malgin had two goals and an assist, helping the surging Colorado Avalanche beat the Chicago Blackhawks 5-0 on Monday night.
Mikko Rantanen got his 47th goal and an assist as the Avs posted their sixth consecutive win. Logan O’Connor and Kurtis MacDermid also scored.
Georgiev’s fifth shutout of the season and No. 13 for his career lifted Colorado (41-22-6) into a tie with idle Minnesota for second place in the Central Division with 88 points, one behind Dallas. The Avalanche have played one less game than the Wild and Stars.
“We’ve been in this position before where we’ve tracked down the teams in front of us, got real close and then didn’t handle it properly,” coach Jared Bednar said. “Had a little dip in our game. We’re trying to learn from that.”
Alex Stalock stopped 27 shots for Chicago, which has dropped two straight.
“I thought he was good,” coach Luke Richardson said of Stalock. “In the first period he made that big save on (Nathan) MacKinnon to keep it at 1-0.”
Colorado star Cale Makar was scratched, but he is considered day to day with an undisclosed injury. His absence meant the Avs played without three of their top six defensemen. Josh Manson (lower body) has missed three weeks, and Erik Johnson (broken ankle) hasn’t played since Feb. 11.
MacDermid replaced Makar in the lineup and took advantage when his goal at 2:45 of the first period ricocheted off the knee of Blackhawks defenseman Ian Mitchell and by Stalock.
Malgin made it 2-0 at 6:17 of the second, and Rantanen’s power-play goal midway through the period gave Colorado a three-goal lead.
“I think the first two periods we actually had some good chances,” Chicago defenseman Caleb Jones said. “They obviously had a couple there and got one on the power play, but they’re a good team and keep coming at you.”
O’Connor and Malgin scored 14 seconds apart late in the third to blow it open. It was Malgin’s 10th of the season.
“We’re in a good stretch,” Malgin said. “I hope we can keep it going and keep getting better and better."
Georgiev needed just five saves in the third period to earn the shutout. He has allowed just two goals in his last three games, including a shootout win at Toronto on Wednesday night.
“The team is playing great right now and you try to appreciate when things are working out for you,” he said.
Colorado winger Evan Rodrigues didn’t play in the third period after getting checked along the boards by Blackhawks defenseman Jarred Tinordi. Bednar said his injury was to his upper body but it wasn’t being classified as a concussion “at this time.”
Blackhawks: At the Washington Capitals on Thursday night.
Avalanche: Host the Pittsburgh Penguins on Wednesday night.
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