Big surprise, the Avalanche and Nathan MacKinnon specifically are good at the Pepsi Center. After a status quo deadline strategy added only a waiver pickup, Colorado went out and controlled play and scoring against the Canucks for a 3-1 victory. Looking at the schedule it’s a good setup for the next 3 games on the homestand which get progressively more difficult.
After a choppy start with penalties for both sides right off the bat the Avs went on a beautiful 7-0 run thanks to a strong shift by Mack’s line. This eventually led to a gut punch PPG with 24 seconds left and a lead they would hold the rest of the game. Vancouver’s strongest sector was in the 2nd period after a Mikko Rantanen goal was called back after another idiotic review process that killed all emotion in the building. They couldn’t make anything happen over a 10-2 run and the Avs recovered to dominate once again. A 16-5 run ended with Mack’s 1st goal of the night which put the game away. The teams traded scores in garbage time with Mack picking up an ENG for good measure.
The final tally was +53/-47 and they were positive in all 3 periods, which is something we haven’t seen in quite a while. Hello process, good to have you back. One weird area of the scoresheet was scoring chances where the Avs had 40 at even strength and 47 overall, which sounds like a lot because it is. Considering they had only 19 shots on goal at evens and 28 in all situations it sounds like the scorer was trying something new I guess.
The PK was sharp enough to kill both chances and the power play went 1-for-5, which is acceptable but a little light coming off a 5-for-6 night against VAN just a week ago. One thing I noticed was that the Canucks PKers were actively trying to block the Avs from passing back to Tyson Barrie which in my mind does them a huge favor by keeping the puck low, where it should be if you’re trying to score goals. If nothing else it shows how predictable that play is and that teams are ready for dealing with it.
The defensive regime went Barrie, Z, Nemeth, Girard, Siemens, Warsofsky at 5v5 and the same in all situations except for Z/Nemo swapped due to PK time. Big Z had a strong game after 2 straight benchings and even played a little PK for the first time in a while. Glad to see that he’s not in the doghouse anymore. David Warsofsky was the low man at just over 12 minutes. He was waived/called up yesterday to make him AHL eligible for the rest of the year (Duncan was not so he’s here until April) so I’m guessing waiver claim Mark Alt will take his role over when they face Calgary tomorrow.
Top 6 usage for forwards was Mack, Mikko, Landy, Jost, Comeau, Kerf at 5v5 and top line plus Jost, Carl and Comeau overall. Low man was Dominic Toninato at 8:27 and a modest 12 shifts but still got regular ice time with the game still in doubt late in the 3rd. I can’t stress enough how much having a useful 4th line, like it’s been lately when Yakupov isn’t dressed, helps the team stay fresh for a whole game.
– I guess since the Avs have a lot of home games coming up we’re going to have the Nathan MacKinnon section here on a nightly basis. First star of the game with 2 goals and an assist, nice. Individually he had 19 shot attempts and 9 shots on goal in all situations. At 5v5 he had 14 shot attempts and was on-ice for 20 so you could say he was driving play. With 28 goals now he’s a lock for 30 (maybe tomorrow!) and his next point will be his 70th. Despite the time missed with his injured shoulder he could still end up with 40 goals and 100 points. Wow.
– Dominic Toninato was the low man on the team in ice time but he made the most of it. He was 2nd in shot attempts with 5 individually and on-ice for 11 so you could say that he also was driving play. His CF% of 68.75 led forwards with linemate JT Compher close behind at 61.9. Like I said above, having a 4th line that doesn’t get buried makes life easier on everyone. Toninato was also sent down/called up yesterday for AHL eligibility but he’s going to make it hard for the staff to ship him out if that time comes.
– Loved the bounceback game from Big Z. The staff are committed to pairing him with Tyson Barrie, which doesn’t work well at all, but at least this time they just got buried in possession rather than losing the game for everyone. Z picked up an assist on Mack’s 1st goal giving him 16 points on the season, a new career high, and with any luck he should hit 20 points easily.
– I’ll give a shoutout to Mikko for his 20th goal, making that mark for both his full seasons so far, and looking infinitely better overall than he did in Western Canada last week. With a little home cookin’ 80 points for the season is still in reach
– Varly wasn’t tested often and lost the shutout in garbage time but it was still a very solid performance after the nightmare in Calgary. He also crossed 2000 minutes for the 5th time in his career.
Burgundy Narrative Metric
– “Best guys being your best guys” gets a (+) Home Sweet Home
– Corsi gets a (+) now let’s see them do that to someone besides VAN
– Power Play gets a (+) for decent execution and the all-important opening goal
– Turtle gets a (-) there was a very faint one after the 2nd goal
– Varly% gets a (+) solid
– Referee Oppression Index gets a (-) I don’t have much of an argument with the re-officiated goal but the process here sucks. If you’re going to take away goals for dumb reasons, fine, just do it quickly so it doesn’t kill the game.
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The Avs and Mark Alt take on Calgary tomorrow.
Burgundy Rainbow Post-Game Show from the Pepsi Center
The Avs are back in town and so is Vlad with thoughts from immediately after the game. Hit up our YouTube Channel (and subscribe if you haven’t already) for more features.