The Avs had the key to the post-season in their hands last night but it slipped away in a two-minute stretch of the 3rd period. Whatever happens from here on out, this season should be considered a huge success but games like last night and a month ago vs Nashville will serve as reminders that there’s still plenty of work to be done.
Everyone besides the 8 teams currently in playoff spots, which includes the Avs in WC2, and St Louis has been eliminated now. The Blues have a game in hand so it’s just as tight as it’s been for the past couple of weeks. Despite the loss last night the Avs still control their own destiny. If they win out they will finish ahead of both LA and STL, if not they need help and that hasn’t been easy to come by lately.
This was a flat out ugly game on the shot board. Results are all that matter this time of year so there’s no reason to fret about it but the reason the Avs lost the lead may have more to do with being worn down by constantly being without the puck rather than the mistakes that jump out to everyone.
The Avs had a great start and benefited from a goofball faceoff loss that blew past Gibson for the 1-0 lead. The Ducks then took control of the game, drawing a penalty thanks to the first of many defensive zone screwups on the evening and eventually tied it up while on a 16-2 shot run that lasted most of the period. The Avs had a decent pushback and drew a call of their own which got Tyson Jost his first goal of the game on the carryover into P2. The Duck took control once again and put up an 8-0 run in the space of 3 and a half minutes. After a long stretch of Neanderthockey including Jost’s 2nd goal of the period we saw Anaheim go on yet another long momentum run to end the period. Summing up the 2nd period, the Avs scored twice, turtled egregiously after both but got lucky in that it didn’t hurt them on the scoreboard. The third was even except for where it counted and a game that should have been a regulation win went to OT and became a loss.
You look at the three big runs the Duck went on in the first 40 minutes, 16-2, 8-0 and 11-0, and it’s no wonder the Avs a) didn’t have the energy they needed to defend properly and b) couldn’t muster the sustained offensive pressure they needed. The staff leaned heavily on 4 defensemen and 10 forwards so the bench really didn’t shorten up that much, they just had problems matching up all game.
Both Anaheim and Colorado have top-notch PK units so getting a PP goal and giving up nothing is a small victory here. They will face the same situation tonight in Los Angeles.
The defensive regime went Nemeth, Z, Barrie, Girard then a big gap to Warsofsky and Alt at 5v5. Barrie moved past Nemo/Z in all situations thanks to over 5 minutes of PP time. Wars was low man at just under 12 minutes and he and Alt saw about 4 minutes less than they did against the Hawks on Friday.
Top 6 forwards were Comeau, Nieto, Soderberg, Landy, Mack, Mikko at 5v5 but the top line was far and away the TOI leader overall, again thanks to PP time. Bourque and Yak played very sparingly, both under 7 minutes 5v5 and 11 & 10 shifts respectively.
– The Jost/Kerf/Sven line once again shined, scoring (yes, Kerf’s goal counts as scoring!) both even strength goals and Jost picking up the PPG. On the shot board they were very strong in the first but tailed off as the game went on. They did exactly what you want a depth scoring line to do, took some pressure off Mack’s line and didn’t give anything up on the scoreboard.
– Tyson Barrie & Nikita Zadorov continued their trend of being super high-event. Barrie’s corsi events per 60 ended at a whopping 183 and was as high as 215 after the 2nd period. Big Z ended at 170 per 60. They were both on for 2 goals for and 2 goals against at even strength. I like the chaotic element that Barrie brings and it makes the Avs tough to defend (sometimes) but this is going a bit too far. They played over 14 minutes together with a CF% of 36.17, this is not a good thing.
– The top line and Mack especially are slumping down the stretch. They’re probably sick and banged up along with everyone else on the team but that’s how life goes. Like the Z/TB4 pairing they were also super high event last night, ending around the 200 mark per 60. Also like Z/TB4 they were poor in CF% at around the 40% mark. When your top line and top pair are playing firewagon hockey, and getting dominated, the staff really have to find a way to calm that down to a reasonable level.
– Jonathan Bernier made his first start since March 10th and played the entire game for the first time since February 11th. He was good but not great. I don’t know how you can expect much more from a guy that hasn’t played regularly in almost 2 months. Yeah, a couple goals weren’t great but neither were the players around him at the time. I’m not putting this one squarely on him at all, he mirrored the team.
Burgundy Narrative Metric
– “Best guys being your best guys” gets a (-) They were not
– Corsi gets a (-) 42%, barfola
– Power Play gets a (+) Yeah, I said it. They did fine
– Turtle gets a (-) no turtle in the 3rd but 3 in the first 40 minutes?
– Varly% gets a (n/a) and Bernie was just ok
– Referee Oppression Index gets a (-) I don’t know how any official can deal with a Ducks game. It’s like being a cop on a street full of crackheads. Everyone is doing something wrong at all times.
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The next must-win, key to the entire season game is tonight in LA