NHL Playoff Daily: The Colorado Avalanche have a goalie problem.

The Colorado Avalanche have a goaltending problem. 

That was always one of the questions about the Avalanche heading into the playoffs, and Sunday’s 7-6 loss to the Winnipeg Jets in Game 1 only confirmed concerns about whether they would be able to keep the puck out of their net enough to win another Stanley Cup. 

With Justus Annunen sick, and untrusted Arvid Holm serving as the backup, Alexander Georgiev allowed seven goals on 23 shots and was never lifted by Avalanche coach Jared Bednar

It’s an indictment on Georgiev, for sure, but it’s even more damning evidence of what Bednar thinks about Holm when he never even considered making a goalie change. 

If Annunen was healthy, the Avalanche would have made the switch. Just like Bednar has shown a willingness to do in the past, including a game where he pulled Georgiev after an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty, and it actually sparked a Colorado comeback. 

It stings even more for Colorado when they got to Connor Hellebuyck for six goals. 

It was only the fifth time this season between the playoffs and regular season that Hellebuyck allowed five goals or more. It was also the first time the Jets won one of those contests. In fact, in games Hellebuyck has allowed four goals or more, the Jets only had one win in nine regular-season incidents. 

It was a major missed opportunity for Colorado, who, down 1-0 in the series, has to fix Georgiev’s confidence in 48 hours or trust a goalie that was too ill to even dress in Game 1. 

Florida man gets game-winner

Carter Verhaeghe has been the NHL’s resident Florida man. 

He won the Stanley Cup with the Tampa Bay Lightning in the COVID bubble in 2020 and then joined the Florida Panthers, having taken part in each of the battles of Florida and reached the Stanley Cup final last spring with the Panthers. 

He’s never missed the postseason in his NHL career, and has been a sneaky good contributor with 35 points in 46 playoff games. 

And on Sunday, he scored the eventual game-winner to give Florida a 1-0 series lead. 

In 15 regular season games against Tampa Bay, Verhaeghe has 14 points. 

New York Rangers stifle Washington Capitals

Before the playoffs started, someone with the Washington Capitals organization told me in an exhausted, but self-deprecating tone that they might not score at all against the New York Rangers. 

Well, they got one goal, but the rest of Game 1 lived up to the expected script between a team that struggles to finish and the NHL’s regular season champions. 

Matt Rempe, of all people, scored the first goal of the playoffs for New York. On places like NHL.com and other outlets, that was the lead. Which, fine, good for Rempe, I’m personally not a big stickler for fisticuffs – I’ve never missed fighting watching college or international hockey –  but credit where credit is due that he gave New York a 1-0 lead in a game they won 4-1. 

For me the bigger thing to think about this series, and I think this is something Rangers fans should be looking forward to, is how well insulated Igor Shestyorkin is going to be in the first round. If he’s going to have that light of a workload this round, it bodes very well for New York in the long run when it comes to wear and tear. 

Vancouver Canucks third line delivers

Granted, Juuse Saros needed to make the save on Elias Lindholm’s goal in the first period. 

But the Canucks third line, in the biggest home game in a long time for Vancouver, was the difference with Dakota Joshua scoring twice in the third period to help the hosts take a 1-0 series lead. 

Lindholm, Joshua, and Conor Garland, could be a key difference-maker for Vancouver in the playoffs. And it’s almost by design. 

The Canucks are more of a line-rolling team, like some other contenders, and there are certain top-six assignments – Pius Suter, for example – that only make sense, because lines one through three are treated pretty equally at even strength. 

The fourth line is effectively lost in the shuffle and overly sheltered, but above that Vancouver can roll it’s depth well and the only reason any forward went over 20 minutes in Game 1 was because Brock Boeser and J.T. Miller spent nearly three minutes of the game on the power play. 

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The official 2024 Stanley Cup Playoffs "It would be cool if they won" rankings
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This article is about:
NHL Colorado Avalanche Florida Panthers Nashville Predators New York Rangers Tampa Bay Lightning Vancouver Canucks Washington Capitals Winnipeg Jets Justus Annunen Jared Bednar Brock Boeser Connor Hellebuyck Arvid Holm Dakota Joshua Elias Lindholm J.T. Miller Matt Rempe Juuse Saros Igor Shestyorkin Pius Suter Carter Verhaeghe
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