The Avs have lost so many games over the last month it’s tough to say one is more important than another. We’re in a process crisis right now so each time the team takes the ice and the same issues occur it just reinforces the fact that nothing has changed. It’s up to the coaching staff and the players to find some answers heading into the 2nd half of the season and all the easy ones have been checked off.
Varly got smashed into a few times Monday and sat out with LBI. Pavel Francouz came up from the Eagles and for the 2nd time out of 2 played the 2nd half of the game. Inertia has once again taken over the forward lines, returned to the same they’ve used all year save for the rookies on the 4th.
Scratch: Andrighetto, Varly (LBI), Zadorov (LBI)
Injured: Barberio (UBI), Wilson (UBI), Kamenev (shoulder)
As they often do, the Avs started out poorly with a penalty that they couldn’t kill. Some resiliency showed with a nice 9-0 run and a goal to tie it up. A lifeless power play began to kill off momentum then bad stuff really started up. A dumb penalty turned into a 5v3 and another goal against, none of which needed to happen. The game was over at that point. San Jose dominated the 2nd then shelled up for the rest of the night and that’s all she wrote.
Tale of the tape was +39/-40 but score effects make that seem a lot closer than it truly was. Shots on goal in all situations favored the Avs 35-27. Game pace at 5v5 was a moribund 102 per hour.
Power play was 1-4 thanks to a meaningless late goal. The PK screwed the pooch once again stopping just one out of 3 chances, all in the 1st period. Colorado now sits 25th at 76.7% and 21st at 8.25 goals against per hour.
Top 6 forwards were Mack, Landy, Mikko, Carl, Calvert and Kerfoot at 5v5 and the top line then Compher, Soderberg and Kerfoot overall. Sheldon Dries was low man at 5:21 and 8 shifts. Logan O’Connor played 6:31, including a PK shift and 10 overall.
The defensive regime went Sam, EJ, Cole, Barrie, Nemeth and Graves at 5v5 and EJ (24), Barrie (23+), Girard (22+), Cole (20), Nemeth (12+), Graves (10+) in all situations. Like O’Connor, Graves also picked up a PK shift for the rookie contingent.
– There seems to be an accountability gap between the vets and youngsters that I can’t justify in my mind. Coaches always give vets the benefit of the doubt and that’s fine, one mistake shouldn’t wipe out the credibility of playing in the NHL for multiple seasons. Many mistakes of the same variety over a reasonable sample size should however. At some point a coach has to look at a guy and come to the conclusion that he’s not doing his job well enough to warrant his deployment. Referring obliquely to “passengers” in a post-game presser is one thing, taking an active step toward fixing the problem is quite different. The staff need to be asking themselves who they’re willing to bet their jobs on right now.
Gabe Bourque had 43 seconds of 5v5 time in the first period, that’s one shift and it was with the wrong line. His lousy clearing attempt on the 3v5 kill led directly to the 2nd Sharks goal and he was on the ice for both PK goals against. He was rewarded with 5 minutes of 5v5 time in the second for reasons I can’t even imagine. We get it, he’s a great guy and 4th liners are fairly meaningless in the grand scheme of things. He hurts the team by being in the lineup and on the penalty kill, figure out a way to not do that.
– Getting back into a game due to score effects is fun to watch and every once in a while you might actually win. To make a cycling analogy, the breakaway doesn’t always get caught. Sometimes the peloton miscalculates and the underdog pulls off a win. The Avs could have really used one of those last night and I get the feeling that a comeback win is part of what will pull them out of the doldrums. They need to craft an ugly and totally undeserved win, look at each other and remember that they can do this to other teams at the drop of a hat.
– Pavel Francouz stepped in to clean up the mess left by Grubi again and performed admirably. Granted both appearances have been in score effect time but he’s stopped 33 out of 35 shots in 62 minutes so far, which is a .943 save percentage. That’s hot. Despite that he has two losses, totally unfair but that’s how scoring works. Coach Bednar seemed inclined towards giving Frenchie a start in his post-game presser and I’m all for it.
Burgundy Narrative Metric
– “Best guys being your best guys” gets a (-) one point, yikes
– Quality vs Quantity gets a (-) nah
– Power Play Watchability gets a (-) good chances, no finish
– The Dreaded Turtle gets a (-) I wish…
– Starting Goalie Battle% gets a (-) Grubi looked awful, 2nd yank in last 3 starts
– Referee Oppression Index gets a (+) not a factor
Avs close out the road trip vs the NYR on Friday
Thanks as always to the NHL and Natural Stat Trick for numbers and visuals