The Rangers did the Avs a big favor right when they needed it most, playing a slow undisciplined style that allowed the guys to control play from the opening puck drop. For the first time in weeks Colorado was able to direct their frustration outward instead of inward and it made a big difference on the bench and on the scoreboard. It’s just one game but finding themselves on the happy side of a 6-1 score could be something to build on.
Varly is still banged up so Francouz once again was the backup. Andrighetto replaced Bourque in the lineup, finally. Wilson and Barberio seem to be the skaters closest to returning to full health right now. Zadorov has been MIA for a few days which would lead you to believe something more serious is happening there unfortunately.
Scratch: Bourque (!), Varly (LBI), Zadorov (LBI)
Injured: Wilson (UBI), Barberio (UBI), Kamenev (shoulder)
This hilarious chart brought to you by the department of dumb penalties. The Rangers took 8 minors, a major, and a misconduct to boot. Less than 39 minutes of this game was played at 5v5 and only 8:12 of the 1st period. Credit the Avs with the only true run of the whole game in the 3rd, 8-0 and it produced the 4th and 5th goals putting the game out of any kind of doubt.
Tale of the tape was +48/-33 and shots in all situations were a landslide at 47-25. With the game well in hand the Avs dominated scoring chances in P3 to the tune of +16/-6, no turtle. Shot pace at 5v5 was a robust 121 per hour.
The power play scored 3 goals, 2 of which were on the early 5 minute major and one coming late on the last PP of the night. Some folks were grousing about the lack of finish on the other 1st period opportunities and the short 5v3 chances in the 2nd but 3 out of 10 is a good percentage and frankly when you get over 14 minutes of PP time in a game, the guys do get tired and run out of tricks. Even bad PK units are going to be 3 times more successful than good PP units. It is what it is. The Avs PK sans Bourque stopped all 3 chances the Rangers had so that’s good news as well. Half the Avs skaters got time on both PP/PK and only Dries and O’Connor played neither.
Top 6 skaters at 5v5 were Jost, Kerfoot, Calvert, Andrighetto, Soderberg and Nieto. As a testament to how screwed up all the penalties made deployment your 4th line at 5v5 was technically Mack, Landy and Mikko who all played less than 8 minutes. In all situations the top 6 was Compher, Mack, Landy, Mikko, Kerfoot and Jost. O’Connor and Dries were the low men but they both played over 9 minutes.
The defensive regime at 5v5 went EJ, Sam, Cole, then a 4-minute gap down to Barrie and Graves then another gap to Nemeth. In all situations it was Barrie (23), EJ (21+), Cole (20), Sam (18), Graves (11+), Nemeth (11+). Sam and Nemeth both missed big chunks of the game, Sam for what we assume was concussion protocol in the 1st and Nemeth for a misconduct that put him in the box for the 1st half of P3.
– This was a solid night for the top line relative to the league. Mikko and Mack are back in 2nd/3rd in the scoring race and Mack/Landy are tied for 4th with 25 goals each. Mikko had 2G/1A, Mack had 1G/2A and Gabe had 1 of each. Together they average 4.17 points per night so this was above average, now we need to see the consistency return for a while.
– Tyson Barrie had 3 assists to pass J-M Liles for the Avalanche all-time scoring lead by defensemen with 278. This is just his 6th full season in Colorado, over his career he’s averaged a 50+ point pace and if he keeps up this year could finally surpass 60 in a season. His flaws are well documented but the scoring is nothing short of spectacular.
– Shoutout to Ryan Graves for scoring his first NHL goal. He had just gotten turnstiled and taken a penalty that turned into a penalty shot (which Grubi saved of course). This was a good display of a) a rookie with a short memory and b) a coaching staff willing to give him some slack after an error. He’s averaging around 15 shifts and just under 10 minutes over his 5 game stretch and honestly I’ve only seen 2 or 3 plays where he’s made a mistake worth mentioning. I’m interested to see if he stays in the sheltered rookie role over the next few games or if the staff move him gradually out of his comfort level.
– With the penalty parade and massive amounts of PP time, the 2nd line carried the load at 5v5. Jost fed Compher for a shot that Kerf tipped in early in the 3rd and they were all on for Graves goal so they produced offensively and were a solid +11/-10 on the shot board together. I’ve kind of lost hope that this group can be a long-term solution but last night was promising.
– Sven Andrighetto re-entered the lineup as the “vet” on the 4th line over Gabe Bourque and was subtly fantastic. The 4th was a real line and although not called on to do anything spectacular they did good work and kept the puck moving forward. When all 3 were on the ice together they were +8/-5 and were no worse than even with any of the defensemen. The case to sit Bourque on a more or less permanent basis is still to be made but this line at 5v5 and the PK’s performance is a fair indicator that the Avs are better without him.
– Philipp Grubauer needed a big bounceback game, again, and he delivered. I still think starting Francouz would have been the correct call but we’ll never know now. Depending on Varly’s health, Grubi’s going to have to carry the load on the upcoming road trip but there’s no reason to start him back to back. Hopefully we see Frenchie get his first start on this trip.
Burgundy Narrative Metric
– “Best guys being your best guys” gets a (+) 11 points for top line + TB4, oh boy!
– Quality vs Quantity gets a (+) plenty of both
– Power Play Watchability gets a (+) too much of a good thing?
– The Dreaded Turtle gets a (+) no sir
– Starting Goalie Battle% gets a (+) sneaky good bounceback after the Sharks debacle
– Referee Oppression Index gets a (+) Busy night but I never got the impression they were trying to call penalties every couple minutes.
A couple days off then a b2b with Winnipeg and Calgary on Tuesday/Wednesday.
Thanks as always to the NHL and Natural Stat Trick for numbers and visuals