Breaking Down: Avs/Rangers, Game 45
The Avalanche closed out what has felt like a multi-month homestand with their 9th straight victory, a season high for the league. There is a lot of concern from fans about playing the next 13 of 16 on the road but the way I’m looking at it is that this streak has been preparing them to play proficiently anywhere. Whether the crowd is juicing them up or not and whether the coaching staff gets the matchups they want, this isn’t the same collection of guys that entered the home-heavy schedule a month ago.
Even with a dip in the stronger shot metrics over the past few games, the Avs have been pretty consistent when score effects are factored in. Yesterday they didn’t need the score effects since they were a +65/-42 at 5v5. I like this for a couple reasons, first of all they just crushed New York in general and second of all they got to play a little high-event hockey for a change. If I’m pre-scouting the Avs right now, I’m a little worried. Attempting to slow the game pace down doesn’t seem to be effective and letting them run is terrifying.
For all but a few token minutes at the start the Avs had the advantage and it kept accelerating. The Rags had a few pushback runs at the end of the 2nd period and late in the 3rd but nothing like the 15-0 run the Avs had for most of P3, and with the lead to boot. No turtle!
The refs decided not to call penalties yesterday, which I love, so special teams weren’t a big factor overall. The Rangers scored on their 1 attempt for all the good it did them and the Avalanche did not on their single PP shot.
The defensive regime at 5v5 went EJ, Big Z, Nemeth, then a big drop to Barberio and another drop to Girard and Lindholm. All situations minutes mirrored that with the lack of special teams.
Top 6 forwards were Landy, Comeau, Carl, Mack, Mikko and Nieto at 5v5 and again similar at all strengths. We’re seeing a noticeable separation of top 6 and bottom 6 lately with the solid play of the Soderberg line. Interesting to note that Toninato didn’t play at all in the 3rd and Yakupov only had 2 shifts, one of which was 7 seconds long, while Alex Kerfoot swapped in and out with Gabe Bourque re-creating the frat line from earlier in the year with Compher and Jost.
– Nate MacKinnon had another multi-point afternoon with his 7th game-winning goal of the season and a secondary on EJ’s opening score. He’s still 2nd in the NHL with 59 points and rapidly closing in on his career high of 63 from rookie season. Mikko had a wonderful shot-pass to set up EJ’s goal and an ENG with 0.1 seconds left to put him in 23rd with 46 points in 45 games.
– The Avs have 149 goals this season putting them on pace for around 271 in 82 games. Not to dredge up painful memories but they had 164 all last year, which they could surpass before the 50 game mark this year. Scoring was my #1 concern entering 2017-18 and will continue to be until the end but for now they don’t have me worried. Even if they dropped to last year’s horrid pace they would end up with around 220, which is respectable at least.
– No doubt about the fact that MacKinnon and Bernier have been the driving force behind the 9-game winning streak but the emergence of Nikita Zadorov as a top-pair defenseman has also been a major player. He’s averaged 29 shifts and over 22 minutes per game along with 5 assists over that stretch and is consistently a positive in the shot metrics. Yesterday he had 4 shots on goal, 6 shot attempts and was a +23/-14 (62%) on-ice Corsi For. It’s been fantastic to watch his progress over the past month.
– It’s a rare night when everyone on the team is positive CF%. Even better when the low man is 6 percentage points higher than the high man for the opponent, which was Rick Nash at 48%.
Burgundy Narrative Metric
– “Best guys being your best guys” gets a (+) another everyone is a best guy show
– Corsi gets a (+) by a country mile
– Power Play gets a (-) but 0/1 is insignificant
– Turtle gets a (+) a 15-0 shot run in the 3rd with a lead? Yes please
– Varly% gets a (n/a) but Bernie% was outta sight
– Referee Oppression Index gets a (+) Called one penalty on each team before halfway and let them have at it. Sure they could have intervened on a couple fairly egregious incidents but I’ll take laissez faire over micro-management anytime
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The Avs take off for the center of the hockey universe this afternoon. Games against Toronto and Montreal back to back on Mon/Tues
Vlad’s Post-Game from the Pepsi Center
Now that we have our YouTube Channel fully functioning for both live and archived events, we can present the Burgundy Rainbow Post-Game show for you here. Enjoy!
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