The Avs are slowly taking some steps toward one day winning a game in overtime. They were very conservative, drawing back when the chances weren’t there and holding on to the puck. Better process, same result, now up to 10 losses in OT vs one win (that came on a power play).
Ian Cole was placed on IR at some point on Saturday so the Avs have a roster spot if they feel the need to call someone up. Ryan Graves lost his waiver exemption after the Islanders game so he’s probably with the Avs for the rest of the season. The staff went with the same lineup back-to-back and seem pleased with the results. Not that there was any doubt but Varly is now the clear starter.
Scratch: Lindholm, Bourque
Injured: Cole (UBI), Barberio (???), Kamenev (shoulder)
The game started out very grindy then the Avs gradually took the momentum in the 2nd half of P1. While technically not a PPG, Mack’s goal came just as a Boston penalty expired and gave them a lead going to 1st intermission. The Bruins took control early in the 2nd with a goal, a power play and an 8-0 shot run. From there the Avs went on a big 20-7 shot run that lasted until a bit of a penalty-fest mid-3rd. Both teams seemed satisfied in taking their chances in OT and a free point, a strong PK late kept that intact for Colorado.
Tale of the tape at 5v5 was +46/-40 and shots in all situations favored Colorado 36-35. Some of the shot data from the NHL is screwed up for this game but it should read that the Avs won the high-danger shot battle +15/-8. Shot pace was a leisurely 114 per hour.
The power play went 0-4 but Mack’s goal was a PPG in spirit if not in name. The PK killed all 5 chances.
Top 6 forwards at 5v5 were Landy, Mikko, Mack, Carl, Calvert, Nieto and the same in all situations with Compher slotting in 5th and pushing Nieto out. Colin Wilson dropped out of the forward rotation about 5 minutes into the 2nd period, came back for one shift midway through and then was done for the afternoon. Nothing was mentioned during the broadcast so who knows what’s up there. AJ Greer was low man of those that completed the game with 6:41 TOI overall.
The defensive regime went EJ, Barrie, Girard, Zadorov, Nemeth and Graves at 5v5. In all situations it was EJ (28), Barrie (21), Sam (20+), Nemeth (20), Z (17+) and Graves (11). It’s always fun going through EJ pairings when he plays half the game. At 5v5 he had almost 19 minutes playing with Sam (10:22), Barrie (3:52), Nemeth (2:25), Zadorov (1:31) and Graves (0:45).
Compared to the total lack of shots from below the circles vs the Islanders the Avs did a better job of getting in close yesterday. Still needs a lot of work but as long as they seem to be moving in that direction we should see improvement going forward.
Breaking down who took the shots at 5v5:
Top line – 17 (Gabe with 8)
Defensemen – 15 (TB4, EJ and Sam with 11)
Carl’s line – 5 (zzzzz)
Bottom Six – 9 (Everyone but Willie with at least 1)
Also from the above heat map, you can see that the Avs were able to keep the Bruins from shooting in close which is a new and really great thing. No wonder Varly had a .943 afternoon! The PK map shows similar things, which again is wonderful. The way the team has buckled down defensively in the past 2 games is a good sign and perhaps evidence that maybe the goalies weren’t the main problem as many believe. The big question I have is if Ian Cole and his hideous on-ice save percentage and goals against per hour leaving the lineup has anything to do with it or is it purely coincidence.
Burgundy Narrative Metric
– “Best guys being your best guys” gets a (+) yeah, they were ok I guess
– Quality vs Quantity gets a (+) not much quantity but quality was good for a change
– Power Play Watchability gets a (+) better than against NYI but still…
– The Dreaded Turtle gets a (+) this game was so sludgy you couldn’t tell
– Starting Goalie Battle% gets a (+) Varly seems to be improving each game
– Referee Oppression Index gets a (+) They lost control a bit in the 3rd but overall weren’t a big factor.
Back home to face the Leafs on Tuesday night
Thanks as always to the NHL and Natural Stat Trick for numbers and visuals