The Avs got smoked by the Blues in St Louis 6-1 in a result that was as predictable as the sun rising. This is yet another game that provides little to analyze statistically. Along with the shutout loss to Winnipeg, it shows some big flaws with the Avs this year which hopefully have a lot to do with inexperience. You’ll have games like this with young players being forced to carry the team.
– Gabe Landeskog was challenged to a fight on the opening faceoff which turned out to do more for the Blues than it did for the Avs. Staged fights like this are rare in the NHL, mostly because goons are a memory on most rosters, but also because they don’t help you win games. The main result here was Gabe sitting in the box for the first 5 minutes and the staff had to immediately scramble lines. They really never recovered. With Mack out Landy is either the best or 2nd best goal-scoring option, getting him and the rest of the team out of rhythm worked out perfectly for St Louis
– After Jon Bernier let in 2 goals in 48 seconds early in the 2nd period, Coach Bednar pulled him and put in Varly. Neither goal was an unsavable scorcher but the team in front of him was more to blame than he was on both. The Avs were flat after Gabe Bourque tied the game and the Blues had their way with them.
If this was a case where the coach pulls the starter for ineffectiveness then it is what it is, but if this is the old school move of swapping goalies to give the team a kick in the pants I’m really not a fan. Bernier was obviously not happy about it, Varly was completely unprepared to play and let the game get out of hand. Varly’s not a backup and putting him in cold isn’t something he’s used to. Given his recent health issues this was a risky move. The end result was two unhappy goalies and a blowout loss.
– The Power Play is in another drought and was horrifying to look at last night. It makes sense that the Blues would be very effective against he PP since Ray Bennett was on their staff last season, but that only shows how little his strategies have evolved since leaving. In 5 PPs and 8:30, Colorado managed 4 shot attempts, 3 scoring chances and 1 shot on goal. Coach Bednar called them out for not shooting enough but the problem was more that they couldn’t get in position for viable shots. Add to that their moronically predictable and ineffective drop pass zone entry fizzled hard and they just weren’t near the goal enough to shoot. If this is all Bennett has in his bag of tricks it looks like we’ve gotten all he can offer in a half-season of coaching.
– Alexander Kerfoot is drawing skepticism from fans on his ability to drive the top line in Nate MacKinnon’s absence. They are struggling to generate shots massively and that can’t happen if the Avs are going to have a chance at winning games. Back when Mack first went down I put forth that the key would be to have Landy and Mikko raise their shooting rates and they have not. Is that Kerf’s fault? I really don’t know, at best he’s not helping. Mikko playing at far less than 100% isn’t helping either. My thoughts haven’t changed on the matter, I want to see Kerf stick there, work through it and keep Jost/Compher together against some easier matchups. The numbers say that they are the ones driving play right now so if they can produce while the Kerf line holds at even then that’s probably the more effective setup overall. By the way, Kerf had the only SOG on the PP last night.
– I wrote about this earlier in the week but Tyson Barrie’s return to the lineup and the chaotic usage that followed is troubling. No one has a steady defensive partner anymore and the team has been outscored by more than a goal per game. This is the price for having TB4’s production in the lineup, is it worth it?
Burgundy Narrative Metric
– “Best guys being your best guys” gets a (-) Yeesh
– Corsi gets a (-) although they were even as late as 5 to go in P2
– Power Play gets a (-) should be 5 minuses for 0/5
– Turtle gets a (+) since they were never close
– Varly% gets a (-) he was bad, and worse than Bernie
– Referee Oppression Index gets a (+) Avs got 5 PPs vs 2 for STL for all the good it did them
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The Avs are in beautiful North Carolina for a Saturday game that I can’t watch live
Answers to GWG Challenge:
1. Who will get the game winning goal? Barbashev
2. How points will Jost have tonight? 0
3. Which Blues Skater will have the most hits? Tarasenko and Sobotka