The Avs nudged back above .500 with a tenuous win over the Panthers last night. Beating the same team twice in a matter of 5 days is more impressive than it seemed while viewing the game and once again shows that this team has differentiated itself from last season’s disaster.
The final shot attempts 5v5 ended at +45/-52 for the Avs but from Nathan MacKinnon’s 2nd goal until the final celebration the Cats went on a 16-6 shot attempt run so minus score effects it was as it appeared, an even game. Keys to the victory were bouncing back from an initial barrage in the early moments of the 1st period and a solid 10-0 shot run surrounding the 2nd intermission.
The Avs have now gone 5 games without a power play goal and the 1st unit continues to look unengaged as well as ineffective. The 2nd unit looks completely different for some strange reason, perhaps the personnel. Compher, Girard, Jost, Wilson and Andrighetto don’t even look like they’re running the same system as the top group. I’m still not impressed with the coaching here, which was something we all hoped to be a big help to Colorado’s scoring woes. The Avs have scored 22 PPGs this season and allowed 6 shorties for a net +16 in 127 chances. That’s really bad.
On the bright side the penalty killing has continued to rise up the ranks after a gruesome start. Last night they were a perfect 3/3 and Varly didn’t even have to make a save. They’ve been perfect for several games actually and sit 17th in the league at an 81% rate. Strangely enough they given up 22 goals on the PK, matching the power play’s output, and have 4 shorties giving all special teams a net -2 overall. For reference, Colorado is -5 in all situations.
The D hierarchy went EJ, Big Z, Barrie, Barbs, Nemeth, Lindholm, Girard at 5v5 and was similar overall. Young Sam Girard made the soft turnover on the PP that gave Florida their only goal but played 4 more shifts after. His light use might have more to do with being a +1/-6 at 5v5 in the 2nd period than the power play gaffe. Coach Bednar addressed the situation post-game and was very supportive. I don’t expect any long-term effects from this.
The top-6 forwards at 5v5 were Mack, Comeau, Nieto, Landy, Mikko, Compher and overall racked out Mack, Landy, Soderberg, Compher, Comeau, Mikko. Gabe Bourque was low man on the team and again leads one to wonder why with only 11 forwards dressed there’s a player unworthy of more than 9 minutes of ice time on the roster. I have no idea why the staff continue to craft the lineup like this with only 3 lines other than they somehow manage to win in spite of it.
– Mack’s goals were both of the amazing variety so fans were perplexed by the selection of Varly for the #1 Star of the Game. I’m fine with it, should have been a tie perhaps, but Varly withstood 2 major barrages at either end of the game that could have changed the outcome. At even strength he was a perfect 32 for 32 in saves, that’s big.
– Nikita Zadorov has been really good lately while not making a lot of noise about it. He’s consistently in the top 3 in TOI and shot metrics tend to favor him. After a rough patch in the beginning of the month he’s now had 4 straight games of dependable solid play and is gradually sliding into the #2 role next to Erik Johnson most of the time, just like we had hoped during the summer.
– Patrik Nemeth on the other hand has not been so hot since returning from injury. After being a consistent #3 in TOI early in the year he’s settling into maybe a #5 role, and not looking good doing it. Last night he was a +11/-17, worst of the Ds and that’s not an outlier. When he’s on the ice the puck dies in our zone. He was benched for 5 minutes in the 1st and 8 minutes in the 2nd but returned to play over 8 minutes in the 3rd, the Avs worst stretch of the night and he was on the ice for a lot of it. This is poor usage.
Burgundy Narrative Metric
– “Best guys being your best guys” gets a (+) thanks to Mack, Varly and EJ carrying everyone
– Corsi gets an (even) but there’s a little + and – in here
– Power Play gets a (-) PP1 is a garbage fire, there’s hope for PP2
– Turtle gets a (-) after Mack’s GWG they got steamrolled
– Varly% gets a (+) and they needed it
– Referee Oppression Index gets a (-) for the soft call on Comeau
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The Avs get another crack at Tampa on Saturday. Bonne chance!