The Panthers are a talented but underperforming team, the Avs are just a talented team and that difference cleared the way to a solid 5-2 victory last night. Jared Bednar made a few in-game coaching adjustments that left Florida in the dust, along with the players he’s making the case that the Avs have the total package now.
Other than the goalie swap, no changes from the Pittsburgh game. Alex Kerfoot was put back on the 2nd line where he belongs and while Compher started with the 4th line guys he played everywhere.
Scratch: Sven, Alt
Injured: Barberio (UBI)
The Avs dominated the first 15 minutes of the game at +19/-8 then let off the gas a bit in the last 5 minutes and went to intermission tied 1-1. The 2nd was a back-and-forth affair other than a Panthers PP where they Avs got a shortie then Florida converted 30 seconds later. Once again the Avs let off the gas at the end of the period and frustration was creeping in. Second shift of the 3rd, Mikko Rantanen left the ice and JT Compher took his place and something clicked between he and Mack/Landy. JB went with it and it paid off. After an amazing extended shift in the o-zone, Compher scored, then Carl Soderberg got his 2nd of the night and the Avs cruised from there.
Tale of the tape was +48/-40 at 5v5 and shots on goal in all situations were 37-35 Colorado. Game pace was a brisk 123 shots per hour at 5v5.
Power play was blanked at 0-4 but still lead the league. PK was 4-5 and continue to live close to the top 10 but not in.
Top 6 forwards at 5v5 were Landy, Mack, Mikko, Kerf, Jost, Calvert and Landy, Mack, Mikko, Carl, Jost and Nieto in all situations. Vlad Kamenev was low man at just over 6 minutes.
The buzz about usage last night was the breakup of the top line for most of the 3rd period and the effects. Here’s more or less how it shook out:
Compher scored in this situation as did Carl on a play from Colin Wilson, so that’s good. The goal here, as Bednar said afterward, was to try and get some better matchups and maybe get one of the guys away from the Barkov line. As we’ve seen many times so far Compher adds a different energy in situations like this and that paid off. Putting Mikko with Kerfoot’s line worked fine but not to the same extent. I really liked Wilson with the Soderberg line in place of Calvert. As much as JB wants a veteran shutdown line it’s tough to ignore Carl on pace for 30 goals and using him with a more offensive tack occasionally makes so much sense it hurts. This isn’t going to be a long or even short term shuffle but the one thing I’d like to see is Compher at RW on the Soderberg line and see how much more offense they can provide with the same d-zone presence.
The defensive regime went Cole, Barrie, Sam, EJ, Nemeth, Z at 5v5 and EJ, Cole, Barrie all at just over 20 minutes overall, then Nemeth, Sam and Z overall. EJ missed a few shifts at the end of the 2nd with some sort of injury, which was frightening, but returned in the 3rd no worse for wear. Zadorov and especially Nemeth had some weird usage patterns where in both the 2nd and 3rd they played a ton in the first half of the periods then sat for most of the 2nd half. Second game in a row where I would characterize Nemeth’s usage as “weird” so that’s something I’m going to keep an eye on.
Good morning Mikko. Just a point each for the top scorers in the league but Gabe was the star of the 3. The big news is the breakup but big picture those 3 are still an unstoppable force.
– Carl Soderberg had 2 goals to give him 11 for the season, now on pace for around 30. He’s an excellent playmaker so if there’s a disappointing aspect to his game it’s producing only 4 assists at even strength so far. Matt Nieto’s stepped up his game lately with 4 points in his last 5 games. They have been a solid 2-way duo lately and part of the depth scoring renaissance over the last month.
– Grubi may look a little funky and slow compared to Varly but it’s tough to argue with the results. Other than his debut loss vs the Jackets he’s gotten points in every start. So far he’s done an excellent job as the backup and made the difference between being a bubble team and one that’s tied for the conference lead in points.
Burgundy Narrative Metric
– “Best guys being your best guys” gets a (+) sort of
– Quality vs Quantity gets a (-) uneven in both
– Power Play Watchability gets a (-) Panthers killed them on zone entries
– The Dreaded Turtle gets a (+) no turtle
– Starting Goalie Battle% gets a (+) Good game outside of the 2nd goal
– Referee Oppression Index gets a (+) Mikko gets no benefit of the doubt anymore but other than that this crew did ok.
Saturday night match with the Lightning
Thanks as always to the NHL and Natural Stat Trick for numbers and visuals