Breaking Down: Avs/Sabres, Game 26
The Avs capped off a sorry 5 game homestand with another loss that didn’t need to happen. The good feelings from October and early November are gone and they are now at 12-12-2 with a -5 goal differential. It’s tough to tell in the present when a team has fallen off the cliff but a month from now it could be obvious that this patch of games was where they took the leap.
Shot attempts ended in a 42-42 tie at 5v5 but this wasn’t two teams trading chances back and forth. The Avs started with a nice run in the 1st 5 minutes but got smoked for the rest of the period. The 2nd was pretty back and forth but as has been the case lately the Avs controlled the puck well yet ended up down on the scoreboard. The 3rd was a nightmare, Buffalo had the lead and stepped up their shot pace and the Avs had nothing until Nate MacKinnon scored again on the PP. Unfortunately the Swords scored back immediately and cruised to the victory.
Controlling the puck, or at least the illusion of that, is great for the stat watchers and people that are satisfied with the process rather than results. In real life progress has to be made both there and on the scoreboard. The Avs are slipping into a situation where they suppress opponent shots in a satisfactory manner but it has come at the expense of their own offense. Whether this is cause & effect or unrelated is up for debate but the facts say that they can’t develop scoring chances anymore at even strength and that loses them games.
There you have it. A total of 7 high danger scoring chances all night and much worse when they were down and desperate in the 3rd period Buffalo dominated. The worst team in the league, that just went 3 games without scoring at all, dominated. That’s absolutely gruesome. The big question now becomes whether the staff can stop stifling creativity and trying to plug holes in the dyke with bubble gum and implement a style that allows the team to score goals again.
Time On Ice
Tyson Barrie led the team and the defense at both 5v5 and overall. EJ was slightly behind overall and actually ended up 3rd at 5v5. Zadorov was a little more distant 4th than usual, Anton Lindhom didn’t play much and Duncan fell just short of 7 minutes despite doing a solid job in the rare cases he was on the ice.
The top 6 forwards at 5v5 were Mikko, Jost, Mack, Sven, Compher and Grimaldi. Thanks to a bunch of special teams play overall it went Mikko, Mack, Compher, Kerf, Soderberg and Sven. It’s pretty telling that Yakupov, who was on the lineup card as the RW on Kerfoot’s line, ended up last and only had 2 shifts in the 3rd period. Colin Wilson and Matt Nieto were used very sparingly in the 3rd as well. This was a game where looking from the outside in it seems like there was a lack of usage ideas from the staff in the late stages of the game. The remedy for poor play always comes back to trying the same thing, just more of it.
– Mack was a beast and many levels above his teammates. Both goals were snipes and the only reason the Avs were close in this one was his dogged determination. He tried to put everyone on his back but they kept falling off. Oh, and he was +17/-6 and had 7 SOG, 4 more than anyone else.
– So many poor performances by the rest of the team, I have not the time to list them all.
Burgundy Narrative Metric
– “Best guys being your best guys” gets a (-) but that doesn’t pertain to Mack of course
– Corsi gets an (even) but was once again deceptive. It should be a (-)
– Power Play gets a (+) 2/6 but was awfully inconsistent
– Turtle gets an (-) for turtling without the lead
– Varly% gets a (even) not a bad game, not great either
– Referee Oppression Index gets a (-) Z’s penalty was a crappy call and there were others. While the offside goal was the correct call it’s shitty we waste time watching officials play with iPads for minutes on end rather than playing hockey. Steph has more on this here
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The Avs jet on off to the Funshine State today to see who shows up against the best team in the league.
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