This was an incredibly cruel loss. The Avs dominated every facet of the game for all but one stretch but horrible goaltending sank any hopes of leaving Winnipeg with a couple of points.
Varly returned as the backup. Wilson and Barberio are on the trip and could be activated at some point. Zadorov is in Denver working with skills coach Shawn Allard as he gets closer to health.
Scratch: Bourque, Zadorov (LBI)
Injured: Wilson (UBI), Barberio (UBI), Kamenev (shoulder)
The Avs brutalized the Jets for all but the final minute of the first period. They opened with a 22-6 run after a PP 13 seconds into the game but all they got for their trouble was a 2-1 deficit. The Jets gained momentum going into intermission from a bad shift by the Avs overmatched 4th line and carried that through the first third of the 2nd period, picking up a shortie and another goal vs the hapless PK. Colorado took over again with 5 minutes left in the period getting a couple goals and another PP while on a 10-0 run. Down only 4-3 going to 2nd inters the game was right there for them. The Jets shelled up, Grubauer couldn’t make a save and that was that.
Tale of the tape at 5v5 was +57/-36 and shots in all situations were 41-21. Other than on the scoreboard this game was all Avs. Game pace at 5v5 was a blistering 130 shots per hour.
Power play was 1/5 and gave up a shortie, not good. The PK had a tough task and they proved unworthy stopping only 1 of 4 chances. The free fall continues as they are 26th in both percentage (75.6%) and GA/60 (8.59).
Top 6 forwards at 5v5 were Mack, Mikko and Gabe then Kerf, Calvert and Nieto/Soderberg. In all situations it was the top line then Compher, Kerf and Carl. Logan O’Connor was low man at 7:38 and both he and Dries picked up some PK time. Tyson Jost’s last shift was with about 7 minutes left in the game, could be just performance but something to keep an eye on.
The defensive regime at 5v5 went EJ, Sam, Barrie, then a big gap to Cole then Graves and Nemeth. Overall it was Barrie (24), EJ (24), Sam (20), Cole (17), Nemeth (13), Graves (11).
– Before we get to some of the negatives it’s worth taking the fantastic play at 5v5 away from this game separately. The Jets are nearly unbeatable at home and they controlled maybe 8 or 9 minutes of this game. Outside of that, the Avs dominated at a 2.4:1 shot attempt ratio. The Soderberg line was at 75% CF together, the top line was at 67%, the frat line was at 50%. One reason this loss stings is that it’s a waste of a very good performance and perhaps an off night for the Jets. Not something you can count on often.
– Ian Cole was totally oblivious on the first two goals. The first was a 2v2 that he turned into a de facto 2v1 when he decided to ignore his man and cover Patrik Nemeth’s guy instead. Not much point in having a crease-clearing D who stands and watches as two opponents roll through the crease unabated on the PK either. Cole brings a style of play the Avs need but the staff have to keep in mind what his limitations are and do a better job making up for his weaknesses with systems and coverage.
– As you might have heard, Phillipp Grubauer had a bit of a soft game last night and it was not an isolated incident.
I didn’t think he got enough credit in the win against the Rangers because it was a blowout but that said, the performances vs Arizona, San Jose and last night in Winnipeg are horrifying. Pulled twice, he didn’t take the L in the first two thanks to the Avs coming back strong and tying them with Francouz in net. It’s a cherrypick but in those 3 games he’s let in 14 goals on 50 shots in 112:09 of TOI. That’s a .720 save percentage and 7.5 goals against per hour. He faced only 6.563 expected goals against so his GSAA/60 in those 3 games is -3.98. Completely unacceptable play for an NHL goaltender.
The Avs are in a tough spot here, the plan was to have Grubi come in and take the starting job away from Varly and lead them to the playoffs and beyond. Right now they don’t have the luxury of patience thanks to bad play in general over the last month and a half. The Machiavellian path here is to sit him for the foreseeable future and give Francouz a shot at taking his job. Not a great scenario in the long term but they really need to find something that works in the short term.
Burgundy Narrative Metric
– “Best guys being your best guys” gets a (+) 7 points and 17 SOG for top line + TB4
– Quality vs Quantity gets a (+) oodles of both
– Power Play Watchability gets a (-) sneaky bad night
– The Dreaded Turtle gets a (+) Winnipeg turtled bigtime
– Starting Goalie Battle% gets a (-) bad doesn’t begin to describe Grubi
– Referee Oppression Index gets a (-) Underrated issue to be mad about was a couple soft calls against the Avs, especially Tyson Jost’s phantom interference in the 1st. Would have been nice to see an embellishment or two on the Jets as well.
Back at it tonight at the Saddledome vs the Flames. Short memories, kids.
Thanks as always to the NHL and Natural Stat Trick for numbers and visuals