Breaking Down: Avs/Hawks, Game 66
The Avs blew it again in OT and left the United Center with just a point. Big picture, two points out of Nash/Chi is what you’d expect but four were easily in reach and that’s not playoff calibre efficiency. They’re learning some tough lessons which hopefully pay off down the road.
The Avs had a strong open in the 1st going on a 7 shot run thanks mainly to the 4th line before the Hawks banked one in off Patrik Nemeth’s skate to take the lead. This was a situation that played out several times over the 1st half of the game. Nemeth and the top line jumped on the ice and played like hot garbage. From there the Hawks went on a long 18-4 shot run that lasted around 20 minutes.
Coach Bednar has been either patient or stubborn with keeping the top 2 lines together this season depending on how you want to look at it. By the mid-point of the game he’d seen enough and tinkered, putting Alex Kerfoot in Mack’s place and creating another line out of Jost, MacKinnon and Compher. It worked! The Avs went on a 21-11 run that ran through the early part of the 3rd period and produced the Avs only score of the night on the power play. After that the Hawks went on another run of their own then both teams decided to settle things in OT.
Final tally was +49/-47 but the Avs had the edge 34-27 overall in shots on goal. A sub-3% shooting percentage was about how the night felt. JT Compher’s missed opportunities will stick out most to everyone but he was far from alone in the ineffectiveness department. Carl Soderberg and Gabe Landeskog had more high-danger chances and they didn’t have anything to show for it either.
The PK stopped both chances and the PP was 1/3, nice job.
The defensive regime was the usual Barrie, Z, Nemeth, Girard, Siemens, Lindholm at 5v5 and overall. Noticeable change: Big Z took Duncan’s place on the top PK unit.
Top 6 forwards were Mack, Landy, Comeau, Carl, Mikko, Nieto at 5v5 and more or less the same overall, which is a little odd considering the line shuffle. Jost and Compher definitely had a bump in ice time. Toninato was low man at 8:40 and he and his 4th linemates Bourque and Yakupov played very little in the 3rd period.
– Mack had the only goal, so there’s that, but this was a pretty uneven game. Coach Bednar called him out for his coverage on the OT goal and rightly so. His CF% was pretty woeful at less than 40% but he was +7/-6 in scoring chances and +4/-1 high danger so quality was on his side. Getting trashed for this loss is part of being the face of the team but he was far from bad.
– JT Compher has been demoted to the 4th line ever since the Calgary blowout a couple weeks ago so when he got a chance to play with Jost and MacKinnon he stepped it up. On his own he had 5 shot attempts, only 2 of which hit the net which frustrates some people, and 4 scoring chances, 3 of which were considered high-danger. We all know his shooting percentage sucks at 5v5 and that’s going to be something he needs to work on over the summer but there’s no argument that he can’t create shots and scoring chances.
– Tyson Barrie has struggled in the #1 role since EJ’s injury, he’s not that kind of defenseman and few are. What the Avs are dealing with in this situation is making the most of what Barrie brings. It’s unconventional but it’s the best option they have and for better or worse they have to ride it as far as it will take them. Barrie was a +33/-21 in shot attempts, +18/-10 in scoring chances and +9/-3 high-danger. Lots of stuff happens when Barrie is on the ice, some of it is bad and that drives fans crazy and probably the staff too at times. I’ll take the chaos along with the frustration despite all the times TB4 makes me want to throw a brick through the television set.
Burgundy Narrative Metric
– “Best guys being your best guys” gets a (+) but other than Varly they were just ok
– Corsi gets a (+) although it was a roller coaster
– Power Play gets a (+) for the only goal
– Turtle gets a (-) but I’m not sure it really was a turtle
– Varly% gets a (+) solid bounceback from the Nash game, he needs a rest bad
– Referee Oppression Index gets a (+) I guess Toronto gets the star for the correct call on the kick-in goal. It all counts.
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On to bigger and better things in Columbus.
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