With St Louis’ loss already in the books before puck drop, the Avs had an opportunity to dictate how the final standings will end up. They didn’t. For the fifth time in the last seven games they managed only one goal on offense and that’s a big part of what’s killing them right now.
On the bright side, they are still in a playoff spot for the moment. The bad news is that they don’t control their own destiny. Avs have a 2-day rest then take on the Sharks Thursday while the Blues have a home & home with Chicago, which sets up Saturday’s finale. If the Avs lose once again in San Jose while St Louis takes both from the Hawks then they are eliminated. Contra to that, if the Avs win in San Jose and the Blues lose both to the Hawks then St Louis is eliminated (assuming the Ducks and Kings don’t lose all their remaining games). The most likely scenarios make the final contest of the season a play-in game. Grab some Maalox on the way home Friday.
The first period was physical and back/forth. The Kings went up early on a couple defensive mistakes including another really casual and poor performance by the top power play unit that ended with the 13th shortie against of the season. They got one back thanks to the PP2 unit early in the 2nd on a wonderful pass by Sven Andrighetto to Alex Kerfoot, who stared down Jon Quick and fired it right past him. After that the Kings took over for a while then the Avs grinded out a 12-2 run late. LA came out strong in the 3rd and got a weak goal that sealed the game. The Avs made a nice push after that but couldn’t convert then settled back and did nothing for the last 10 minutes of the game.
Final tally on the shot board was +38/-44 which was fair but score effects actually made the gap wider, which is troubling. The Avs had the advantage in 5v5 scoring chances and overall shots on goal for what that’s worth but the results weren’t there.
The power play converted 1 out of 3 against one of the top PK’s in the league, so there’s that, but then there’s the SHG against thing so… not good. PK stopped both LA chances, which is nice.
The defensive regime went Barrie, Girard, Nemeth, Big Z then a huge gap to Warsofsky and Alt. Barrie played over 26 minutes and Sam got close to 23. Alt played 11 minutes as the low man.
Top 6 forwards were Mikko, Mack, Landy, Nieto, Soderberg, Comeau at 5v5 with Jost displacing Comeau in all situations thanks to PP time. For a while the frat line was getting more time than Carl’s line but that’s not been the case in the past 2 games. I don’t see a problem with Carl’s line playing a lot vs heavy teams but if you’re not scoring then why have your top producers only playing 11 minutes with the season on the line?
One smart thing the staff did was move Sam Girard away from Patrik Nemeth, who had a grisly evening. Sam and Nemo together played 9:40 and were +3/-10, Sam and Barrie together played 6:27 together and were +5/-2. This was one of Girard’s better games of the season, perhaps his best, and it was nice to see him get rewarded with some bonus time.
– With a few exceptions which I’ll get to below the Avs played a fairly solid game against a tough opponent that they do not match up with well. Solid, but unproductive I’ll say. Not getting buried is a good step forward but this time of year one goal doesn’t cut it and that’s all they’ve managed against Los Angeles twice in the past two weeks.
– The 4th line was awful, hide the children because this stat box is ugly
They didn’t play much but they sure made a mess when they did. Colin Wilson’s return to the lineup added little other than the most secondary of secondary assists on Kerf’s goal. I’m not advocating bringing Yakupov back but the staff can’t let a situation like this slide with only two REALLY important games left.
– Nobody wants to see EJ out and it’s not fair to David Warsofsky to think of him as the replacement. He’s not a strong defensive zone player, which we witnessed on the back-breaking 3rd goal, but throwing a lot of hate his way isn’t warranted either. Your bottom pair guys don’t lose you games unless you let them and by and large the staff haven’t. Thinking that Duncan or Lindy would have made a difference last night in that role is folly.
– Jonathan Bernier was put in a tough spot the last two nights. Playing his first real starts in almost two months in the final week of the season, and against two former clubs, is a huge ask. He’s given up 7 goals and several were pretty soft. We wanted the Bernie that rolled through the 10-game win streak and we got the backup that hasn’t played in two months.
Burgundy Narrative Metric
– “Best guys being your best guys” gets a (-) They were not, again
– Corsi gets a (-) but most guys on the team were solid here
– Power Play gets a (-) 13th shortie against! Well done!
– Turtle gets a (+) Turtling when you’re down 3-1 is horrible
– Varly% gets a (n/a) and Bernie wasn’t great
– Referee Oppression Index gets a (-) Didn’t really notice them. Nice laissez faire call.
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The Avs get a day of rest today then the final practice of the year tomorrow in San Jose. Make it count. Season hangs on SJS Thursday and the final showdown with the Blues on Saturday.