Breaking Down: Avs/Pens, Game 29

The Avs guaranteed a successful road trip with a victory over the Stanley Cup champs last night. Ugly at times, especially late in the game, the “bend but not break” strategy paid off with a near shutout save for a Phil Kessel goal with 13 seconds left.

Team Stats

The Pens had the upper hand in shot attempts 33-22 in the first two periods but by the eye test it wasn’t dominant. It was a grindy back and forth more or less but neither team was creating anything dangerous. Scoring chances were 11-10 PIT and high-danger was 5-4 Avs. The 3rd was a different deal. After more back and forth, the Pens went on a 14-3 shot run but all they got out of it was a goal against and a PK. Must have been frustrating because that section of the game was played almost exclusively in the Avs zone. From there it was even steven with the teams trading goals with PIT’s goalie on the bench.

Last year the P3 run by an opponent would have trashed the Avs and decided the game. Optimistically we can point to resiliency and increased mental strength for the ability to withstand a charge and even profit from it.

For the record, shot attempts 5v5 ended up 58-34 for the Pens (37% on our side) and shots on goal were 40-28 overall and 36-18 at 5v5 but again, dangerous scoring chances (12-10 PIT) were pretty even comparatively.

Avs have been outshot 36-18 in the 3rd period for their last two games, both wins. This is something that needs to be nipped in the bud.

TOI

The numbers were 26:51 OA and 19:52 5v5 for EJ. No one else was close as usual. Big Z, Barrie and Barbs filled out the top 4 at evens. Sam Girard played almost 11 minutes and Anton Lindholm was low man at 9:42 with no special teams time.

The forwards racked out Mack, Carl, Landy, Compher, Comeau & Mikko in the top 6 overall. At 5v5 it went Mack, Landy, Wilson, Comeau, Carl & Mikko. Tyson Jost was low man out of everyone that played the whole game. Alex Kerfoot played 7:41 overall but exited halfway through the game for unknown reasons.

Individual

– Mack scored a wonderful goal that was called back on offside review. Would have been his 12th goal and 34th point of the season. Oddly enough the Avs managed to score two goals (Barberio, Comeau) with just one assist (Johnson). After 6 games without a point EJ has 2G/1A in his last 3.

– The usually solid Soderberg line got crushed in shot attempts, mainly by Pittsburgh’s Rust/Malkin/Kessel line. Throw Lindholm and Girard in there and here’s the under-25% club:

For reference the numbers are all 5v5 and go TOI – CF – CA – CF% – CFRel. Taking Blake Comeau as a control here, his first 5 shifts in the 3rd period averaged 68 seconds in length. That’s way too long and a symptom of being trapped in the d-zone. Let’s try to avoid that in the future, shall we?

– Jon Bernier had a stout performance making 39 straight saves until Phil Kessel cashed in with 13 seconds left.

Burgundy Narrative Metric

– “Best guys being your best guys” gets an (even) this was a very teamy win
– Corsi gets a (-) but the big numbers aren’t so big in context
– Power Play gets a (-) don’t look now but we’re in another drought
– Turtle gets a (-) again and it was another bad one
– Varly% gets a (n/a) but Bernie was quite good
Referee Oppression Index gets a (+) for the usual home cooking in PIT

Total: -2

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The Avs flew to DC last night for tonight’s game vs the Caps.

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