Thanks to (some of) the Flames playing like beer leaguers a 2-0 deficit turned into a 5-2 win for the Avs. While it’s not fun to see games turn south early, they’re learning to come back and building confidence and resiliency. This has not been something they’ve been able to do often over the past few years so we as fans are still getting used to the idea that it’s a possibility.
While the Avs seem to be able to dominate possession against the Canucks the rest of the league is another story. They got smoked on the shot chart once again, ending up +29/-44 by the end. The Avs blocked 24 shots overall and 16 at 5v5 so unblocked shot rates were more palatable at around 47%. There was also a massive turtle in the 3rd which we’ll look at in the TOI section.
The Avs PK killed all 5 Calgary chances, 3 of which coming in the 3rd period, and have been entrenched in the top 5 for the league for months now.
The power play was awful again. One goal for in seven chances and they gave up their league leading 12th shortie against thanks to yet another poor decision by Tyson Barrie. I don’t know if they’re being coached to keep the puck high in the zone or they’re just so passive and uncreative that it just stays there by default but opponents know that it hangs out there most of the time and that Tyson Barrie can’t make decisions or stickhandle under pressure. Looking at it another way, the Avs PP scoring rate is 20% but the opponent shorthanded scoring rate is 5%. Easy to blame this on personal mistakes when it happens once in a while but this is a chronic issue that the staff has no answers for.
The defensive regime was Barrie, Z, Nemeth, Girard, Siemens, Warsofsky at 5v5 and same overall with the usual Nemeth/Z swap thanks to special teams. 3rd period usage indicated that the staff were interested in sitting on the lead rather than pushing play. Patrik Nemeth led all Ds in ice time and had more than a minute more than anyone else at even strength, where he was a +1/-9 on the shot board. We know that zone time doesn’t line up perfectly with shot metrics but it’s often close. By shot metrics it would seem that Nemeth spent 5 minutes in the defensive zone in the 3rd period and that wouldn’t be a surprise really. Dealing with EJ’s absence is tough but I don’t like this solution at all.
Top 6 forwards were Comeau, Nieto, Soderberg, Mack, Landy, Mikko at 5v5 and Landy, Mack, Carl, Mikko, Nieto, Comeau overall. The 4th line was brutal for the first time in a few games and played in the neighborhood of 6 minutes at 5v5. They can’t all be zingers.
– Your nightly Nathan Mackinnon report is sunshine with a high chance of shots. Mack had a goal and assist and broke through the 70 point barrier for the first time in his career. In nine attempts he hit the net 8 times. Since he returned from his UBI 6 games ago he has 5G/5A and 35 shots on goal.
– Carl Soderberg picked up a couple of assists giving him 27 points on the season, nearly doubling last year’s total in 20 fewer games. His pass to Matt Nieto for the Avs 4th goal of the 2nd period was gorgeous.
– Duncan Siemens scored his first NHL goal on a hail mary from the defensive zone circles. It’s great to see him rewarded for some hard work and the whole team was stoked for him. This was his worst game overall since getting in the lineup and he played a part in the Flames 2nd goal, although he’s taking more blame than he deserves for some lazy backchecking on the play. He took a massive charge from noted thug Tanner Glass then fought him, which forced Duncan to play with cotton up his nose for three-quarters of the night. I’ve never tried that but I bet it’s not easy.
– Varly had another solid night and a good comeback after getting shelled in Calgary last week. It’s a little late for him to have the kind of year statistically that we’d like to see but he’s slowly getting more consistent since coming back from injury and the Avs are 3-1-1 in his last 5 games.
Burgundy Narrative Metric
– “Best guys being your best guys” gets a (+) Some depth scoring last night but Mack and the top line got the ball rolling
– Corsi gets a (-) not impressive
– Power Play gets a (-) for a net 0 goals in 7 chances
– Turtle gets a (-) total shell in the 3rd, ugly
– Varly% gets a (+) solid and kept them in it til the comeback
– Referee Oppression Index gets a (+) Thought they did a great job. Some Flames players acted like children and were treated as such. Try playing hockey next time.
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The Avs have a big game vs Minny tomorrow. They’re all big now but this is a real test to see if they’re ready to hang with the Central yet.
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.