The feeling around Avs fans now is that this isn’t fun anymore and another historic collapse will be recorded in April for posterity. Everyone has a theory why and what would solve the issue but in the big picture none of it matters. This is a pattern going back more than a decade where success always leads to failure the next year.
The staff went back to the same lines they’ve used most of the year. Other than swapping goalies the lineup was the same as vs Vancouver. Not that they had any options on the roster.
Injured: Barberio (???), Kamenev (shoulder)
The usual early defensive breakdown involving Ian Cole led to the Jackets first goal less than a minute in. After a solid 7-1 shot run the Avs tied it up only to give the lead back a minute later. Big Z tied it once again right before 1st inters. P2 was back and forth until the Jackets took control with an 11-1, that “1” was a Sam Girard goal and a nice one at that. After a captivating rush by Tyson Barrie everyone forgot about Cam Atkinson cherrypicking at the far blue and a stretch pass was all it took to tie the game once again going to 2nd inters. The 3rd period was gruesome with lots of sloppy play and plenty of scoring by the opponent.
Tale of the tape at 5v5 was +46/-48 and shots in all situations 37-30 for Columbus. Shot pace at 5v5 was an ambling 119 per hour.
The power play generated nothing but point/perimeter play as usual and only attempted 4 shots in 8 minutes. Another donut night at 0-4. The PK continued it’s wildly ineffective strategies and gave up a goal in two chances.
Top 6 forwards at 5v5 were Mikko, Mack, Landy then a big gap down to Nieto, Calvert and Kerfoot. In all situations it was the top line then Carl, Compher and Kerf. Gabe Bourque continued his role of doing nothing to justify his spot in the lineup, playing 5:40 at evens and less than 7 minutes overall.
The defensive regime at 5v5 went EJ, Cole, Barrie, Z, Sam then a big gap down to Nemeth. Overall it was EJ (22), Barrie (21), Sam (19), Cole (18), Z (17+) and Nemeth (13+).
– Avs GM Joe Sakic held an informal meeting with the press before the game and re-iterated that they won’t move their high picks or prospects to make a deal. It also sounds like those assets are mainly what other teams are interested in so might be light deadline activity once again. He’s looking for a hockey trade if there’s one to be made but the plan isn’t to mortgage the future at this time. So that’s good news.
He also offered some analysis like the guys are making too many high-risk plays defensively and aren’t getting the big saves, although he said he likes both goalies. Also commented that he doesn’t think the collapse is due to coaching issues. Some of this is sunshine but the key points are that he knows the D and goalies have been awful but he’s not interested in doing something short-term that’s going to hurt long-term. My take on this is that the staff have thrown in the towel on this year and are looking towards next season. Again.
– All 3 goals were scored by defensemen, which is great. Sort of. It’s a symptom of the larger issue they’ve had for the past couple months of shooting from really far away from the net and having zero presence in the slot, where most goals in the NHL are scored these days. If this is by design then it’s very flawed. Looking at last night’s heat map we see that 5 of Columbus’ goals were from mere feet from the net while the 3 Avs goals were well above the dots.
It’s great if a team can score from the middle of nowhere like that but creating a strategy that makes it much harder to score seems like a bad idea. Then there’s the power play which doesn’t shoot at all, which is another issue. Point being, whether it’s coaching or the players being stubborn, they aren’t creating good scoring chances so it’s no wonder they never score.
Burgundy Narrative Metric
– “Best guys being your best guys” gets a (-) forwards looked like they had the night off
– Quality vs Quantity gets a (-) hey, a close game and they didn’t win Corsi. Big surprise.
– Power Play Watchability gets a (-) need to come up with something better, Ray
– The Dreaded Turtle gets a (+) nope
– Starting Goalie Battle% gets a (-) Some decent stretches for Grubi but bad overall
– Referee Oppression Index gets a (+) Sucks losing a game on a goal that may or may not have been offside then losing the challenge and giving up insurance on PK. Is that the refs’ fault? Not really.
A trip East for lots of day games.
Thanks as always to the NHL and Natural Stat Trick for numbers and visuals