The Avs had a belated Christmas gift for the fans last night – an uninspired performance ending in a 3-1 loss. Unfortunately we can’t return it. It’s intuitive to put the blame on Tyson Barrie’s absence or the Avs poor record historically coming off the holiday break but that’s only part of it. In reality this was a continuation of the first 28 minutes of the game in Phoenix before the break. Up until the Rinaldo ruckus the Coyotes had marginally controlled that game and without that they had a good chance of winning there too.
After trading goals early and some back and forth, the Coyotes took control of the 1st period going on a 16-1 shot run until a barrage of penalties late in the period that continued for 12 minutes. After that Arizona went ahead 2-1 and the Avs woke up somewhat but never developed anything approaching dangerous.
Despite fairly even shot metrics overall (CF% of 51%) the telling stat of the night was in the high-danger scoring chances category. The Avs only managed 2 of those, both in the 3rd period. Not good enough.
The power play was the usual languid affair, 4 shots and no goals in 2 opportunities. PP1 was the Mack line plus Compher and EJ, PP2 was Sven, Wilson, Kerfoot, Yak & Girard. The second unit was more effective with 3 shots (JT, Yak, Sam) in 1:45 while Mack had the only shot for PP1 in 2:15. Food for thought once again.
The PK is red hot and hasn’t allowed a goal in over 30 chances. Last night they artfully killed off a 3v5 when Matt Nieto and Erik Johnson both shot the puck into the stands 8 seconds apart. After starting the season letting in 5 goals on the 1st 10 chances, the Avs PK is now 7th in the league at 83.5%.
The defensive regime was EJ, Z, Barbs, Nemeth, Girard & Lindholm at 5v5 and EJ, Nemeth, Z, Barbs, Girard & Lindholm overall. Looking at where Barrie’s minutes have gone, EJ took his spot on PP1 and the rest were spread out with Girard and Lindholm getting the biggest bumps in playing time. Sam & Lindy spent a healthy portion of the game with the Soderberg line and that combo worked well for Lindy but Girard’s best numbers were with the MacKinnon line.
The top 6 forwards were Mack, Landy, Mikko, Andrighetto, Compher & Comeau at 5v5 and Landy, Mack, Compher, Mikko, Carl & Comeau overall. Tyson Jost played only 7:47 with no special teams minutes and only eclipsed Yak at even strength. Did he learn anything last night? You tell me.
– Mikko Rantanen owned the Avs entire offensive output with his goal 4 minutes into the game, another even strength point to boot. He’s at 11G/21A and on pace for 73 points. Hooahh.
– Varly’s performance doesn’t seem all that great, letting in 3 goals on 22 shots, but he was 5/5 on the PK at least. When the guys in front of you can only come up with 1 goal there’s not much you can do other than be perfect to win a game.
– I’m ok with Sam Girard keeping his spot on the 2nd PP unit, they’re more effective than the top guys and there appears to be some chemistry there. I’m less ok with EJ taking Barrie’s spot on PP1, at least all the time. There were only 2 PP opportunities so who knows what the formal plan is but piling a ton more minutes on isn’t going to make him or the top unit more effective over time. I think swapping in Big Z or Barbs occasionally might pay off.
Burgundy Narrative Metric
– “Best guys being your best guys” gets a (-) Mikko’s goal was about it
– Corsi gets a (+) but a deceptively negative one
– Power Play gets a (-) PP2 ok, PP1 bad
– Turtle gets an (even) since the opponent was the one turtling
– Varly% gets a (-) but not a solid one
– Referee Oppression Index gets an (even) they didn’t lose the game
/ / / / / /
The Avs have a pair of toughies coming up with TML on Friday night and a date with the Islanders on New Years Eve