The Avs continued the learning process of winning on the road last night with a 5-1 win, narrative busted. They’ve gone 3-0-2 away from the Pepsi Can in March, outscoring opponents 19-10. The situation in the standings with 9 games to go looks wonderful. Colorado sit solidly in the 1st wild card spot by 2 points over WC2 and 4 points over Dallas, who are the first team on the outside looking in. Even better they are only 2 points behind Minnesota for 3rd in the Central with more ROWs and a much better goal differential. Four more wins should get them into the playoffs, going .500 down the stretch makes them a lock but that’s not as easy as it sounds.
There was a big disconnect between the eye test and what happened on the shot board last night. Most folks thought the 1st period was horrifying and the 2nd was solid. In reality the 1st was back and forth, the Hawks benefited from a 6-0 run that ended in a power play goal but that woke the Avs up and they responded with a big 14-1 push that culminated in a PPG of their own. That was about it for the Avs controlling play on the night with Chicago going on a 17-2 run in the mid-2nd but Colorado was the team scoring somehow. The game was never in doubt after that and a couple of goals in garbage time made it 5-1.
Nobody likes the trend over the past few weeks of getting pummeled on the shot board yet grabbing points at every opportunity. All I can say is that shot metrics have been a little deceiving but even so this is a troubling way to enter the post-season. There’s not much to be done about it now but it needs addressing going into next year.
For once the power play were the special teams stars with a couple of goals in 3 chances. The league’s top PK unit gave up the only Hawks goal of the night but it’s worth noting that Carl Soderberg was out with illness and neither Erik Johnson nor Nikita Zadorov were available on that particular kill.
The defensive regime went EJ, Barrie, Nemeth, Girard, Big Z, Warsofsky at 5v5 and similar overall. Z missed all but a handful of minutes in P1 and was used lightly in P2 after a jarring back-first crash into the boards. He played nearly half of the 3rd period though so I’m guessing he’s ok.
Top 6 forwards were Mack, Mikko, Landy, Compher, Comeau, Nieto at 5v5 and the top line plus Nieto, Comeau, Jost in all situations. Alexander Kerfoot was the low man with 8:21 overall and 6:51 5v5 but he made the most of it with a couple of goals. Dominic Toninato played 10:47 subbing for Carl Soderberg but was replaced by committee for most of the 3rd period. Landy, Compher and Jost filled in Carl’s minutes on the PK.
– As I said above, Alexander Kerfoot didn’t play much but he made the most of it. He had 2 goals on 3 shots and 5 attempts. Bonus, he was 60% on faceoffs.
– Mack had his usual 2-point night with a couple of assists, giving him 91 points on the year. He’s the first Avs player to hit 90 points since Joe Sakic over a decade ago. That said, the 1st was caved in a bit by the Kane/Toews line and he ended up a +16/-33 on the night. That’s a 107 CA/60 rate, not good.
– Tyson Barrie continued his scorching play of late with a goal and assist. His point streak is at 11 with 15 total in that time. Even more impressive is his shot metrics for the night at +34/-28. That’s a 99 CF/60 rate, which is good.
– Mikko also had a goal and assist giving him 79 points on the year. Like Mack he was caved in by the Hawks top line but had a couple of decent shifts with the youngsters that were fruitful.
– Varly was as amazing as usual, perfect at even strength and made 43 saves on 44 shots overall. He didn’t seem bothered by the work in post-game comments and even complemented the D for taking away the center of the ice for the large majority of Chicago chances. The numbers bear this out as the Hawks had 86 shot attempts and only 13 were deemed to be high-danger.
Burgundy Narrative Metric
– “Best guys being your best guys” gets a (+) and another wow
– Corsi gets a (-) high-event and bad
– Power Play gets a (+) got them back in the game and iced it at the end
– Turtle gets a (-) for getting smoked for many long stretches
– Varly% gets a (+) dude is in the zone
– Referee Oppression Index gets a (+) wasn’t a fan of the soft call on EJ in the 1st and Tyson Jost’s hook which should have been a coincidental. Overall not too bad.
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The Avs have another large Thursday night show coming up at home vs LA