Breaking Down: Avs/Flames, Game #44

This isn’t a slump and the Avs aren’t going to pull out of this by just playing better. We’re approaching 20 games of underachievement so this is who they are until the staff actively provide some solutions to the issues that have now become chronic.

Projectile Lineup

No changes from the Winnipeg game other than the goalie swap.

Scratch: Bourque, Zadorov (LBI)
Injured: Wilson (UBI), Barberio (UBI), Kamenev (shoulder)

Team Stats

The Avs totally torched the Flames all night. The first period was back and forth and ended tied at 2. Looking at high-danger chances, the Flames had 2 and the Avs had none. That’s a problem. Colorado dominated the 2nd period to the tune of +20/-10, high-danger chances were even at 2 apiece. Still a problem. The 3rd was back and forth even though Calgary was turtling after they took a 4-2 lead with about 10 minutes to go. High-danger chances were 2-1 Avs. Meaningless goals were traded in garbage time and another loss went in the books.

Tale of the tape at 5v5 was a +54/-38 and shots on goal in all situations were 35-16. High-danger chances were 5-4 Calgary. We rely on the NHL scorers to make the determination of shot location, henceforth danger or “quality”, and sometimes it’s not the greatest metric. Even with a massive amount of error it’s easy to see that the Avs shot a lot but didn’t get a lot of good scoring chances.

Those are the Avs unblocked shot attempts (Fenwick) at 5v5 last night. The vast majority are from above the dots. Not a bad place to shoot from but not all that effective either. Shot pace at 5v5 was a mundane 114 per hour, mainly because the Flames never shot the puck.

Power play was 0-4 and definitely could have been better but it wasn’t tragic. The PK stopped 1 of 2 chances and moved down another spot to 27th in the league.

TOI

Top 6 forwards at 5v5 were Landy, Mikko, Mack then a 4 minute gap down to Compher, Carl and Calvert. In all situations it was the top line, all well above 25 minutes, then Compher at 21 and Kerfoot and Carl around 16 minutes. Very top-heavy usage. O’Connor and Dries were the low men, both inside of 5 minutes.

The defensive regime at 5v5 went Barrie, Cole, EJ, a gap down to Girard then a big gap down to Nemeth and Graves. In all situations it was Barrie (28+), Cole (22), EJ (21), Sam (19), Graves (9), Nemeth (9). Again, very top-heavy.

Individual

-The top line had 2 of the 3 goals and 23 of the 35 shots. The had 15 of the Avs 25 scoring chances at 5v5 and all 4 of the high-danger shots. A big night on the shot board and a little over average on the scoreboard. They played well and it wasn’t good enough to win, I get the frustration.

– Varly came in after being off since NYE and predictably was a little soft early on. He thrives on work so seeing less than 6 shots per period meant he didn’t get in a groove until it was too late. Not making excuses here but this is the way it is. Like Grubi in Winnipeg he just didn’t get it done. Excluding the two ENGs over this b2b the goalies let in 10 goals on 35 shots (.714), which is horrifying.

– The MSHM vultures quickly latched on to the spat on the bench between MacKinnon and Jared Bednar late in the game. Thank goodness the team is heading to the center of the hockey universe for the next week so it can be properly blown out of proportion. I don’t think it’s a non-issue but I’m also not passing it off as massive dissent either. It happened, there are things that the Avs players and staff are unhappy about and how those issues are resolved have a big effect on how the rest of the season plays out.

– One thing that’s squarely on the staff is how poorly the team has played in the defensive zone over the past 20 games. Terrifying defensive breakdowns happen several times a game as a matter of course now. The PK has dropped from top 5 to bottom 5 in just a half-season. Players constantly look confused or out of position or completely disengaged. Sometimes I think I have an idea what they are trying to do systemically but every facet is so inconsistent that it’s become difficult to tell on some nights. Players miss assignments, make mistakes or don’t execute in any system, nobody’s perfect, but it’s becoming clear that the Avs either aren’t able to play this system as designed or they don’t want to. Whatever the reason it’s not important. The staff must get a system in place that the players can buy into and execute consistently. What they’re doing now is broken and torpedoing their chances of a successful season. I can admire a coach that’s willing to stick with something if it doesn’t produce the desired result right away but we’re way beyond that now. Cut bait, fix it quickly and try to salvage something out of this year before it’s too late. There’s enough defensive talent and even goaltending talent on this roster to support the good things that are happening on the rest of the ice and be successful. Figure it out.

Burgundy Narrative Metric

– “Best guys being your best guys” gets a (+) sure, for all the good it did
Quality vs Quantity gets a (0) tons of quantity, zero quality
– Power Play Watchability gets a (-) not terrible, needed one goal but nope
The Dreaded Turtle gets a (+) I almost want to see one now
Starting Goalie Battle% gets a (-) Varly slightly better than Grubi in Winnipeg at .733 but that’s not good enough
Referee Oppression Index gets a (-) This crew sucked. The Avs were dominating and they let a bunch of Calgary stuff slide then call some ticky-tack garbage on Colorado. Not that it matters but it’s aggravating.

Total: -1¾

Next up

A couple days off in Montreal then a HNIC game against the Habs Saturday night.

Thanks as always to the NHL and Natural Stat Trick for numbers and visuals

earl06

Scoring LW, punchy climber for the Ardennes classics, spirit guide

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