The Avs continued their 7 game funk at even strength losing to the Devs 2-1. One power play goal by JT Compher is all they could manage on a night where shots on goal were extremely difficult to come by for both clubs. This low-event style is helping the Avs defensively but it’s also stifling the offense at the same time.
After a sleepy and ineffective start to the game Colorado went on a big 26-8 attempt run that lasted over 20 minutes and left them tied 1-1 going into the 3rd period. Shot attempts 5v5 favored the Avs 44-28 (61%) but actual shots on goal were much closer at 17-14 (54%) and 23-21 in all situations.
There’s a divergence between the shot chart and reality in the 3rd period. Once the Devils took the lead they created pressure in the offensive zone but were conservative with shooting and Colorado had no way to recover the puck and exit the zone. When the Avs did manage zone time, the Devils clogged and collapsed and gave up little that Schneider couldn’t handle.
The Avs defense has settled into a good hierarchy now. EJ plays a ton, Girard right behind and then Barrie/Zadorov trailing slightly. This is now a solid top-4 structure with the 3rd pair being used sparingly at 5v5 and spot duty on the PK. Barberio was low man at 12:06 overall and 9:05 at evens, probably because of 2 penalties taken in the 3rd period. Lindholm struggled in his 2nd game back from injury and probably would have been low man otherwise.
Eight forwards were all within a minute of each other at 5v5 then Sven, Nieto, Toninato and Bourque trailed by a bunch. I’m not sure why the staff don’t feel confident playing Toninato more, the 4th isn’t a real line but more of a reserve for special teams and spot duty so that’s part of it but he was low man by more than 5 minutes and he shouldn’t have been. Carl Soderberg (19:32) and JT Compher (19:02) were tops on the team thanks to almost 6 minutes of special teams for Carl and more than 7 for Comphs.
Nail Yakupov started on the top line but didn’t last there long. After barely playing in P2 he was used more heavily in the 3rd with a variety of linemates. Tyson Jost also was used sparingly in the 2nd, getting benched from midway through until early in the 3rd period.
– JT Compher was best forward last night for me. While his Corsi with Mack/Mikko doesn’t look all that great it looks like once he jumped to that line they started to take on tougher matchups than they had with Yakupov there. With Captain Gabe out it’s tough to craft a good top-6 and I think Comphs works fine with those two but I really want to see the Frat Line with he and Kerf/Jost get a chance to solidify.
– Other than one grievous foopa Big Z was tremendous. He was +22/-8 on the night and everyone he played with was over 50% in shot attempts when he was out there. The no look pass was terrible and he stepped up and took the blame but it was honestly a communication screwup with Barrie more than anything else. He definitely thought Barrie was going to be somewhere else, like in front of the dude that stole the pass, and Coach Bednar seemed to feel the same way in the post-game.
– Varly had another great game around 93% at even strength with the only goal the Big Z error that he had no chance on. The goal on PK wasn’t great but neither was the play in front of him there. If anything I blame the lack of work, he only faced 21 shots all night.
– Mikko Rantanen’s struggles at even strength are part of why the team has been awful for 7 games now. The tough thing is that he’s actually starting to look more comfortable in the defensive zone and fill out his game a bit. What I’m really worried about is Ray Bennett thinking he should be behind the net on the PP. He’s a great setup guy sure, but I’m more interested in seeing him shoot the puck rather than playing backboard there.
Burgundy Narrative Metric
– “Best guys being your best guys” gets a (-) for a generally snoozy performance
– Corsi gets a (+) for domination plus that wonderful 26-8 run mid-game
– Power Play gets a (+) 1/5 and the Avs only goal
– Turtle gets an (even) but faintly minus for a weak attack in P3
– Varly% gets a (+) he sure didn’t lose this game
– Referee Oppression Index gets a (-) really inconsistent and in a game where the Avs dominated possession they seemed to feel the Devils were the ones making the plays
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The Avs continue their lackluster homestand Sunday vs Dallas