Since the Avs collapsed against Minnesota during the miracle 2014 year’s playoffs, the Wilds owned them for the next 3 years. Not anymore. This year they’ve outscored them 21-6 and finished the series with a 3-0-1 record. Last night’s 5-1 win was the 3rd blowout in a row and it put Colorado not only in the 1st wild card slot in the Western Conference, but they are now just 3 points behind the Wilds for 3rd in the Central with a game in hand.
The Avs had a couple good shifts early but then Minny really started pushing and spent the middle 10 minutes of the 1st in the Avs zone on an 11-2 run. Didn’t matter, the Avs young 3rd line of Jost, Compher & Andrighetto got some good zone time and COmphs scored his 1st goal in over a month to give them a 1-0 lead going to inters. The 2nd period was nuts, more than half of the total Corsi events in the game happened in the middle frame, 44 out of 83. The teams traded goals at 4v4 to give us a 2-1 Avs lead going into the 3rd. Nate MacKinnon put a dagger in and twisted it 11 seconds in and from there the Minnesota frustration took over. Neither team generated much, 2 scoring chances each and a hyper low-event 15 shot attempts combined, but a couple of dumb penalties late gave the good guys a couple of PPGs from Comphs and Jost to ice it.
Final tally was +36/-47 but score adjusted it ended up a respectable 48.5%. Scoring chances were even from the 2nd period on but ended -4 and -2 high-danger.
Special teams were solid, the PK killed all 4 chances as usual. The resurgent power play went 2 for 3 and scored for their 8th game in a row. Oh my, they’re at 21% for the season and 11th in the league. Not bad.
The defensive regime went Big Z (by almost 2 minutes), Barrie, Nemeth, Girard, Warsofsky, Siemens at 5v5 and Barrie & Z (4 secs apart), Nemeth, Girard, Siemens, Warsofsky in all situations. Duncan led the PK with 5:41. Bonus stat, every D besides Siemens had a point.
Top 6 forwards were Mack, Landy, Sven, Carl, Mikko, Jost at 5v5 and Landy, Mack, Carl, Mikko, Jost and 3 guys basically tied in the 6-8 spots. Dominic Toninato played only 6:10 and with Vlad Kamenev on the way back soon he might be the odd man out.
– Mack got his 33rd goal of the season and his 82nd point. It’s fun when a 1-point night is considered “quiet”. Mikko picked up an assist on the PP to break 70 points on the campaign and is 16th in the league.
– JT Compher scored a pair of goals, his first score in 18 games and his first point in 16. In between he went 0 for 22 shooting. He’s still at 10.7% for the year, which is fine, but at even strength he still lags in the sub-6% range.
– Compher’s 2nd goal was the first PPG for the second unit in weeks. Honestly they don’t spend much time out there so it’s not surprising they don’t produce but there’s talent there that can. Andrighetto got his first assist since being injured December 31st on the play and Sam Girard got his first power play point since February 1st. The PP in general is rolling so making PP2 viable may not be a priority but can’t hurt to get them up to speed.
– Big Z was fabulous, scoring the winning goal and like we saw against Arizona was fine turning up the violence factor when things got silly. We’ve seen a few ups and downs with him this year but they are definitely evening out and he’s become more consistent. Coming into this year, he hadn’t scored an NHL goal since the trade and now he has 7. He also had 12 assists which he’s matched in 64 games so far. We’ve always knew he was going to be a tough stay-at-home D, now that the offense is becoming a vital part of his game he’s approaching top-pair status.
– Just to throw a downer in here, let’s look at Patrik Nemeth’s night. He got an assist on Mack’s goal but other than that he had a brutal showing on the shot board. He was a +5/-19 in 16:22 of 5v5 play – 21% CF. Outside of the top line, no forward had a shot attempt when he was on the ice. Here’s how dumb plusminus is, he was a +1 on the night and +27 for the season now yet he’s a net -124 in shot attempts and -36 in SOG at 5v5. So shut the hell up about being +27 already.
– Varly was a beast again, looks like the rest he had from only playing half the 3rd on Sunday and a couple days off did him well. We have a b2b coming up Thursday/Friday, will he play both? Will Bernie be ready? Will Spencer Martin make his season debut vs the Preds? Stay tuned.
Burgundy Narrative Metric
– “Best guys being your best guys” gets a (+) but depth was served
– Corsi gets a (-) but against a good team it’s almost like a +
– Power Play gets a (+) for 9 goals in 8 games
– Turtle gets a (+) decided to go low-event rather than turtle, good call
– Varly% gets a (+) sneaky good performance
– Referee Oppression Index gets a (-) didn’t like some of the “competition” calls vs the Avs and they were pretty homerish. Not impressed.
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A chance to vanquish another demon on Thursday playing in St Louis. If the Avs are serious about sticking around where they are this is a good way to get rid of the Blues and gain ground on the Wilds. Must. Win.