The Avs conclude the first half of the season on a 5 game winning streak and tentatively in a playoff spot. With a packed house and Avs alumni looking on after Milan Hejduk’s #23 rose to the rafters the guys played a quick, skilled game against a long-time nemesis and the 7-2 score is a pretty stout representation of their execution. We’re beginning to see this team say to opponents, “this is what we’re going to do, just try and stop us” rather than reacting all the time. It’s fabulous.
The Avs blocked a ton of shots last night so everywhere besides Corsi they had the advantage. Fenwick, SOG, Scoring Chances were all positive despite ending up +43/-49 at even strength. Minnesota put together a couple of small runs, early in the 2nd then late in garbage time, but they didn’t show up on the eye test. Avs had this one from start to finish.
Oddly enough, the Avs best period for shot attempts (the 1st) was also their worst for High-Danger Scoring Chances against, where they trailed 4-1. In the final 40 minutes they dominated this area 6-2. If you look at some of the more detailed fancy stats like HDSCA and expected goals against in the past 5 games, the Avs are really starting to lock down things in the defensive zone and have given up a total of 8 goals in that stretch. Their total goal differential has gone from -3 to +11, 7th in the Western Conference and right in line with where they are in the standings.
The power play killed it last night, 3/4 with two goals from Carl Soderberg and one from Mack for good measure, and are now 7th in the NHL (what?). PK was also 3/4 and now sits 4th in the league.
The defensive regime was EJ, Nemeth, Z, Barbs, Girard then Lindy at 5v5 and overall. The top3 were all over 20 minutes, Barbs & Sam in the 16-17 minute range and Lindholm was used sparingly with 12. I think Sam would have gotten more minutes if the PP hadn’t scored so damn fast each time. Barberio left after 1 shift in the 3rd which skews things, like Lindholm playing 11 shifts in the final period.
Top 6 forwards were Comeau, Landy, Carl, Mack, Nieto, Mikko at 5v5 and again similar overall. AJ Greer was low man at just over 8 minutes but once again played more than the previous game.
– Nate MacKinnon ends the first half trailing only Nikita Kucheroff in the NHL scoring race. That’s hot. During the Avs 5-game win streak he has 3G/9A and is scaring the pants off of opponents now. 100 points is a very real possibility.
– The 4th line had a good bounceback game after getting ripped apart vs Columbus. The shot metrics still weren’t great but via the eye test they played a very solid game. The staff trusted them in the 3rd where they all got big bumps in number of shifts. AJ Greer is on his way to meet the Rampage in California as we speak but I think this trip, although short, showed a lot of progress and that what he’s learning in the AHL is making him more complete and closer and closer to being an NHLer for good. Well done, son.
– It’s time to give a little love to the 3rd line of Wilson/Jost/Bourque. That line had 6 points between them last night, Jost with 1/1 along with Bourque and Willie with 2 assists.
Yes, they were your Corsi heroes of the game as well. Who knows what the lineup looks like next Saturday in Dallas but I’d be hesitant to mess with this one too much. Jost looks like he belongs in the league for the first time all year and Wilson and Bourque’s styles seem to complement him well at this stage of his career.
– This was hardly a goaltending duel but Bernier did his job in a game that was relatively close until the final 15 minutes. Plus he didn’t go batshit crazy and attack someone half his size either, which is nice. He’s won 4 out of the 5 on the Avs streak, giving up only 5 goals total with a nifty .957 save percentage. Don’t look now but he and Varly’s stat numbers are converging.
Burgundy Narrative Metric
– “Best guys being your best guys” gets a (+) Everyone was a best guy again
– Corsi gets a (-) but a deceptive one
– Power Play gets a (+) for 3 goals
– Turtle gets a (-) but it really even wasn’t one
– Varly% gets a (n/a) but the Bernie% was strong once again
– Referee Oppression Index gets a (+) for some really goofy penalty distribution and antics on faceoffs. Didn’t affect the game but they had a low key bad night
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The Avs have the week off and return to play Saturday in Big D