The Avs managed to prevail in their final exhibition despite a fairly ugly performance overall. The forward lines were pretty close to what we’ll see next week in New York but the defensive parings still exhibited that training camp battle feel. Safe to say this game didn’t inspire much confidence going into the regular season.
The scoreboard at T-Mobile Arena read 4-2 Colorado at the end, great news if you’re a big fan of pre-season victories. Other than that the team looked sloppy in general and many things we want to see exorcised from the Avs repertoire, turnovers, lost puck battles, plenty of penalties, were on display. Transport this game back to 2014 and it would look right at home.
Time on Ice
The Duchene line was featured most of the night and ended up with the most time at even strength. The rest of the forwards ended up pretty close and about 2-3 minutes behind. Due to the amount of special teams this is somewhat meaningless since players like Landy (7:42), Compher (6:28) and Wilson (6:16) spent almost half the game on PK/PP.
EJ played almost half the game (26:19) and nearing half of that on special teams (11:20). The outlier to me was PP time. EJ had over 4 minutes while Barrie at 2:37 was the only other D with significant time there. Since this was basically a head-to-head shootout between Bigras and Warsofsky it’s surprising they didn’t get time in what is considered a strength for both players. This still hints to me that they do not want to show all their cards in the offensive zone until the regular season.
No point in going in depth here because everyone was bad. The final tally was +19/-43 for a CF of 30.7%. Adjusted for score effects call it 35.2% if it makes you feel better. It shouldn’t. After a very promising start, these stats have fallen off a cliff. Shot generation is pretty woeful and if the Avs staff isn’t holding something back offensively we’re in for some trouble. I’m going to wait and see how a game that doesn’t have more than a third of the clock devoted to special teams works out before panic sets in however.
The two guys with a roster spot to gain in this game, Chris Bigras and David Warsofsky, ended up in two different places on the night. Bigras was solid in most aspects and every player that spent more that 2 minutes of ice time with him was better with him than without. He assisted on the first and last goals, including an excellent play that made the last one happen only to get the much-maligned 2nd helper. Warsofsky looked a little over his head all night and wasn’t able to generate the offense we saw earlier in the pre-season against lesser competition. The most noticeable thing he did all night was hitting the deck at the blueline leading to the Knights’ first goal. He did have the only SOG from a defenseman, so there’s that.
Both Andrighetto and Yakupov scored on absolutely wicked wrist shots, so that was fun. MacKinnon had a fabulous assist, drawing most of the Vegas team to him then passing to Mikko who was wide open with a wide open net. Tyson Jost scored by having a nice JT Compher shot bounce off his skate and past MAF. The Avs had 12 shots on goal at even strength and scored on 4 of them. Yolo.
Remember these things
Chris Bigras probably won himself a spot not only on the team but in the starting 6 last night.
Varly was faboo yet again. He seemed uncomfortable in the 3rd period so if some injury issues are already starting to manifest the Avs are in deep deep trouble.
Despite the shot metrics tanking as the games have progressed, the Avs are scoring. That’s very important and at this point more important than winning the possession battle. Systems and execution win the possession battle. Skill scores goals. One of them you can work on and get better as time goes on. The other is what it is.
Thanks to Natural Stat Trick and NHL.com for the stats and to Rudo for the feature photo