The Avs are now 1-1-1 in the “missing Nate” era after a 3-0 loss in Winnipeg. If doom and gloom involves playing .500 hockey when your best player is out of the lineup then I’m ok with that. They sit a point behind Minnesota (and LA theoretically) for the last playoff spot with a game in hand and are tied with Calgary/Anaheim also with game(s) in hand. The dream is not dead by any means.
The Jets got an early PPG thanks to a dumb penalty on Mikko and Matt Nieto not covering the royal road on the subsequent PK. The Avs did manage to control play for the opening 25 minutes or so, ending up at +18/-10. From there Winnipeg went all out and crushed them on a 31-9 run that lasted over 20 minutes, adding a fluke-ish goal in the process. From there they shut down the middle of the ice, the Avs couldn’t finish anything and gave up a bad empty-netter.
Final tally was +37/-50 and 43%. Interesting to note that they were consistent in shot attempts, scoring chances and whatnot but Winnipeg hit the turbo button in the 2nd and never looked back. Another way to look at it, the Avs played low-event hockey all night and the Jets decided to play high event halfway through the game.
The refs went laissez faire and so there were only 3 penalties called all night, 2 on the Avs. I’m fine with this, if they had been more involved I fear we would have seen the PK a lot more.
The defensive regime went EJ, Barrie, Nemeth, Girard, Z, Lindy at 5v5 and overall. Z missed a few shifts in the 1st with an injury and called it a night about halfway through the 3rd. Ut oh.
Carl Soderbergs’s line was once again the top with the Kerfoot line 2nd. In round numbers at 5v5, here’s what we have:
1st line – Soderberg (18:00)
2nd line – Kerfoot (15:00)
3rd line – Jost (13:00)
4th line – Toninato (8:00)
I appreciate that Coach Bednar is dealing with breaking in a new 1C and road matchups at the same time but that’s not a winning formula. We’ve seen in the past that overplaying Carl’s line makes them less effective offensively and cutting shifts for Landy and Mikko will do the same. It’s probably going to hurt the team once in a while but they have to get the top line it’s minutes or scoring becomes incredibly difficult. They can’t low-event their way out of this.
– Varly came back and looked rusty at first with rebounds bouncing everywhere but in general played a solid game. I think he’s earned the San Jose start on Tuesday but I don’t want to see Bernie get cold from more than a week off. Unless Varly hits another level over the next couple weeks then a tandem makes a lot of sense.
– EJ was beastly last night and one of the few players I can say had a good game. Had 2 SOG and created one of 4 dangerous scoring chances the Avs had. Interesting to note that with Barrie out he only played 27+ minutes 4 out of 13 games but has hit that mark all 3 since his return.
– The Jost line got smoked all night to the tune of ~35% Corsi but took on some tough matchups. You can attribute a good chunk of that negative shot rating to a couple of rough shifts so in general they did a fine job. I’m just not sure that’s the role I want to see them in. On the road there’s not a lot of choice but I’d rather see them get a little more offensive role and let Carl’s line take care of shutdown duty.
Burgundy Narrative Metric
– “Best guys being your best guys” gets a (-) other than EJ and maybe Varly
– Corsi gets a (-) by a lot
– Power Play gets a (-) but 0-for-1 is meaningless
– Turtle gets an (even) since they were nowhere near a lead
– Varly% gets a (+) for the 1st time in a month, welcome back!
– Referee Oppression Index gets a (-) Refs let them play, which I enjoy
/ / / / / /
The Avs are back home again and practice tomorrow in advance of Tuesday’s game vs the Sharks. Would be nice to see some new faces in the lineup.