The Avs continued their post-deadline slide with a 3-0 loss to Carolina. They were competitive at times, they got good goaltending but never took charge of the game. On a night where everything else was in their favor to move closer to a playoff spot they were the weak link and didn’t produce.
No changes to the roster or lineup.
Scratch: Graves, Landeskog (UBI), Nieto (LBI), Barberio (LBI)
Injured: Kamenev (shoulder)
The Canes started strong then the Avs countered with a couple of ineffective power plays that had opportunities but no results. Colorado gradually began to gain some momentum in fits and starts. After an early PK in the 2nd they went on a decent but short-lived run. EJ made a high-risk play in the neutral one that turned into the Canes 1st goal on the rush. Another power play soon after came up empty and Carolina took control of the rest of the period. The Avs started the 3rd with good energy and a few chances but another mistake led to another rush chance that allowed Carolina to seal the deal. From there score effects took over until the inevitable empty net goal against.
Tale of the tape at 5v5 was +47/-52, which is good against the top CF% team in the league but before the Canes 2nd goal early in the 3rd we were looking at something around +33/-45 or 42%. Neither team generated a lot of quality chances and both goalies were on it. Game pace at 5v5 was a casual 117 per hour.
The power play did a better job than usual generating shots, especially considering they had a difficult time entering the offensive zone, but went 0-for-3 in the end. PK stopped the one chance they had, 2nd game in a row they only had one to kill.
Top 6 forwards at 5v5 were Mack, Mikko, Kerf, Brass, Carl and Compher. Overall it was Mack (21:54), Mikko, Brass, Compher, Carl and Kerf (17:44). Andrighetto was low man at 7:39 which included 21 seconds of PK time. Right at halfway and just after the first Carolina goal, JB put Mikko back with MacKinnon and dropped Compher to Carl’s line, which had little or no effect.
The defensive regime went EJ, Barrie, Sam, Cole then a gap down to Z and another to Nemeth. In all situations it was Barrie (23), EJ (20+), Sam (20), Cole (19), Z (16+), and Nemeth (14+).
One reason I think the Avs often start slow is that they don’t have a clearly defined style or personality. They wait until the opponent reveals their agenda then react. A team plays physical then they start mirroring that. A team plays fast then they mirror that. It’s very passive, they rarely dictate pace or style and that’s probably their greatest weakness. Last season they had more personality and it carried them through the tough times, this year that hasn’t happened and it’s disappointing.
The way that management has built this team is an incredible top line then a cast of roleplayers. That’s a good thing in many ways because just about any club in the NHL would kill for a top line like the Avs can put out. I think where they and the coaching staff have fallen short this year is how to integrate that talent and make an entire team that’s effective and consistent. The top line is fantastic, now how do we go about making the other 16 guys on the ice every night the best that they can be? It’s a big question and one that they haven’t been able to answer since the beginning of December. They consistently fall back to the “top line + guys” strategy when things don’t go well and it consistently fails to produce the desired results. It’s too late to do anything about it now, especially with Captain Gabe out for the rest of the season, but it’s something everyone in the org needs to contemplate over the summer.
Burgundy Narrative Metric
– “Best guys being your best guys” gets a (-) no sir
– Quality vs Quantity gets a (+) quantity was ok I guess, little quality as usual
– Power Play Watchability gets a (-) looked awful but better shot generation
– The Dreaded Turtle gets a (+) turtles are for winners
– Starting Goalie Battle% gets a (+) another solid night for Grubi
– Referee Oppression Index gets a (+) We’re fully into playoff mode now. Plenty of non-calls on both sides.
The last notable break of the season with 3 days off until the Duck comes to town on Friday night.
Thanks as always to the NHL and Natural Stat Trick for numbers and visuals