Similar to Saturday’s game at home, the Avs played the Knights tough for 2 periods but didn’t have enough in the 3rd period to match up with the top team in the Pacific. I get the feeling there’s a lot of disappointment out there over this game, in the big picture taking 2 points out of this home-and-home isn’t a poor result at all.
As of this morning the Avs are in the final Western Conference wild card spot by just a point over St Louis, who has a game in hand. Los Angeles is a point ahead of them in WC2 but the Avs have a game in hand on them. Dicey.
Whatever went on in the two locker rooms at 2nd intermission it turned out really good for Vegas and really bad for Colorado. The Avs flat out dominated the first 40 minutes, the Knights never had more than 3 shot attempts in a row and overall went +21/-35. This was one of the best possession performances of the year and yet they headed to the 3rd down 2-1 thanks to a careless Too Much Man penalty and a horrible double-minor call on Tyson Jost that gave the Knights a couple of PPGs.
The guys in the white sweaters that took the ice in the 3rd period bore no resemblance to the team that played the first 2. The VGKs went on a tear, scoring immediately on a defensive breakdown and going +25/-6. Needing a win the Avs showed no urgency and were outshot 13-2 at 5v5 and on a power play gave up as many shots as they created. If this was an energy issue then it is what it is, but if this is a coaching adjustment issue then it’s a little troubling.
Score adjusted or not and despite the 3rd period collapse the Avs still managed to retain the upper hand in unblocked shot attempts, shots on goal and scoring chances. At even strength each side had one goal. Forgetting the emotions of the game result, Colorado played Vegas even for the most part but were not able to cash in on their chances, just like in the front end of this mini-series. The Knights might have been overwhelmed on the shot board for large parts of the 125 minutes but the one thing they managed to do is take away space from Nathan MacKinnon and the Avs top line in the offensive zone. That’s a troubling thought since the Avs offense relies heavily on that group but it sure wasn’t easy and I doubt any of the other teams on the remaining schedule can do the same so effectively.
The defensive regime went Barrie, EJ, Z, Nemeth, Girard, Alt, Lindholm at 5v5 and in all situations. In keeping with Siemens usage last game, Lindy played around 6 minutes with a quarter of that on PK. Sam Girard’s performance lately has been uneven at times but underusing a defenseman with his creativity & talent doesn’t make much sense. No one wants to see this team drop out of the playoffs because the staff are being too conservative.
The top 6 forwards were Mack, Landy, Mikko, Compher, Jost, Kerfoot at 5v5 with Soderberg taking Kerf’s spot in all situations. In contrast to Sam’s usage, the staff are committed to using the frat line to help generate offense over the safe play, which is Carl’s line. Dominic Toninato was the low man at 7:04 and oddly 3:14 of that came in the 3rd period.
It’s probably better for everyone to leave this section blank but a few guys need to be mentioned. Varly was good and matched Fleury at even strength. The Avs PK wasn’t as effective as usual and part of that’s on him I guess. EJ was very strong in the 1st & 2nd, scoring the only goal, then was probably the Avs worst player in the 3rd. This one’s a head-scratcher for me, he hasn’t gone full clownshoes very often this year. Mack’s line wasn’t the strongest in the first 40 minutes but they got caved in massively in the 3rd and were on-ice for only 2 shot attempts. Between the 3 they had 6 attempts and 4 SOG and Landy followed up 8 SOG in Colorado with 0 last night. This demonstrates how vulnerable the Avs are more than poor play by that trio.
Burgundy Narrative Metric
– “Best guys being your best guys” gets a (-) not a shining moment
– Corsi gets a (-) but it’s not as bad as you think
– Power Play gets a (-) terrible evening with advantage numerique
– Turtle gets a (-) for turtling while behind
– Varly% gets a (+) could have been a little better I guess
– Referee Oppression Index gets a (+) I wasn’t impressed with this crew at all. Both penalties on Jost were horrible calls and the phantom double minor for all intents and purposes ended the game.
/ / / / / /
The Avs are home again for a couple of must win games vs Philly and the Hawks
Burgundy Rainbow Post-Game from the
Pepsi Center Armory!
Vlad traveled all day and all night to give his instant review from Sin City. Also check out the catalogue of fine prospect vids at our YouTube channel