The Avs once again avoided dropping below .500 on the season with their 2nd consecutive OT loss in Brooklyn. After a hot start they packed it in and turtled but another late goal got them into the extra frame where they came up short for the 10th time this season.
Ian Cole sustained some pretty heavy damage in his fight with Tom Wilson the other night so Ryan Graves was summoned from the Eagles and filled in. Not sure what Anton Lindholm is doing on the roster if the coach won’t play him but ours is not to question why. Varly started his 2nd in a row.
Scratch: Lindholm, Bourque, Cole (UBI)
Injured: Barberio (???), Kamenev (shoulder)
This game was absolutely nauseating. After starting out with 14 shot attempts in the first 10 minutes the Avs only managed 26 in the final 50. Erik Johnson gave them a 2-0 lead 2:36 into the 2nd period and from there it was turtle city until late in the 3rd. The Isles put together a big 9-0 run after the Avs 2nd goal then a long 18-2 run that tied the game at 2. I think it’s great they battled back late to get the loser point for the 2nd game in a row but next time we’re going to need a little more out of everyone.
Tale of the tape at 5v5 was +41/-59 and shots in all situations favored New York 41-28. Not much quality for either team with the Avs going +7/-9 in high danger shots. Game pace at 5v5 was a leisurely 113 shots per hour.
Power play had one chance for 55 seconds and didn’t convert. The PK stopped 2 normal chances but got tagged on a 3v4.
Top 6 forwards at 5v5 were Landy, Mack, Mikko, Carl, Calvert and Nieto, pretty stock usage. In all situations it was basically the same with Compher slotting in for Nieto. AJ Greer was low man at just under 8 minutes, big gain from the Washington game where he played under 5. In fact he played about as much in the 1st period as he did in that entire game so throw that narrative out the window. Mikko’s last shift came with 3:27 to go in the 3rd and did not play in OT, whether this was a coach’s decision or an injury deal we’ll need to wait and see.
The defensive regime went EJ, Nemeth, Sam, Barrie then a big gap down to Graves and Zadorov. In all situations it was EJ (25), Nemeth (24), Barrie (24), Sam (22), Zadorov (13), Graves (13). I would characterize Z’s usage as concerning since he was demoted from being Barrie’s partner to Graves’ partner and Graves ended up with one more shift. When Patrik Nemeth is 2nd in d-man TOI there’s a problem.
There’s a narrative that was put forth by Pierre McGuire that Barry Trotz “figured out how to beat the Avalanche” and the whole league took notice and followed suit. Of course this is nonsense since a) it’s Pierre and b) the Avs were sliding downhill rapidly by they time the faced the Isles on December 17th. Since I like shooting down ignorant narratives let’s compare what happened in the two games.
To refresh your memory, the Avs lost 4-1 at the Pepsi Center that night but played a solid game in most areas. They dominated shot attempts at 5v5 (+48/-36), high-danger chances (+11/-3) and shots on goal in all situations 31-21. They lost because the PK let in 2 goals in 4 chances and Varly could only come up with 17 saves on those 21 shots. The top line was around 80% Corsi For but did happen to be on the ice for the only 5v5 goal. Perhaps the best way to compare the two games is from the heat maps.
Notice all the chances the Avs had from in front of the NYI net in the first game and how few they had yesterday afternoon. Part of this is the resurgent Isles defensive structure but it’s also a trend we’ve seen from Colorado over the past several weeks. They have had increasing difficulties getting scoring chances from areas where teams most often score from. The frustrating part is that the staff seem to be actively encouraging this strategy. They’ve become a dump/chase/cycle team that tries to create shots from the point and perimeter rather than attacking the middle of the ice. Activating the defensemen offensively has been a priority and from what we’ve seen it’s created fewer dangerous scoring chances and allowed opponents many odd-man rushes going the other way. I’m not a fan of this system but when it works then ok fine. From what I see it’s made it much more difficult for the Avs to score and much easier for opponents to score. It’s truly baffling. My question to Jared Bednar is are you sure you want to be doing this? This is a strategy generally used by bigger slower teams, which the Avs are not, and doesn’t take advantage of the one thing they have plenty of – speed.
Burgundy Narrative Metric
– “Best guys being your best guys” gets a (-) certainly not
– Quality vs Quantity gets a (-) little of either
– Power Play Watchability gets a (-) Isles took one penalty, it is what it is
– The Dreaded Turtle gets a (-) massive turtle, and it hurt them
– Starting Goalie Battle% gets a (+) decent game again for Varly
– Referee Oppression Index gets a (+) Very laissez faire crew, neither team was being undisciplined either. Didn’t like the call against Greer in P1, seemed like they were looking to call something on someone and he got the shaft.
Right back at it this afternoon in Boston.
Thanks as always to the NHL and Natural Stat Trick for numbers and visuals