Game 4 was what most people expected the whole series to look like when the matchup solidified at the end of the regular season. For the first time Nashville dictated play right off the bat and made the Avs counter their style. I liked the Avs pushing back late in the game to make it close but don’t mistake that for anything but score effects. The Preds had this one by the tail from the word go.
Things dissolved quickly with Patrik Nemeth closing his hand on the puck 38 seconds in, then Carl Soderberg taking a stick penalty on the kill. They didn’t score but all the momentum was in their favor and they made a 16-2 shot run until the middle of the period. The Avs grabbed a little control with a nice little 9-1 run of their own but from then on it was back and forth until the game was well in hand for the Preds mid-3rd period. The Avs grabbed a goal 5v3 early in the 3rd then got closer in the score effect run but the usual tomfoolery at 6v5 killed any chance to tie it up at the end.
Final tally was +43/-47 but score adjusted it was a lowly 43% CF. Any shot metric you want to look like had the good guys getting clobbered and much worse with score effects. The issue that was exposed here is that grabbing the momentum immediately is the best and perhaps only way the Avs have of making a competitive game. Credit to the staff because they seem to put a premium on doing so and it’s paid off 3 out of 4 times so far.
The PK did it’s job, quite well on the opening 3v5 in fact, which is a positive.
The power play is, for me, the #1 reason the Avs will probably lose this series. They scored their 2nd PPG of the series but once again it was on a 5v3 and still have nothing to show on a normal 5v4. This has allowed the Preds to play recklessly all 4 games with little fear of repercussion. I don’t blame them. If you know you can take penalties and the opponent has no chance of hurting you then why not push over the edge constantly. I see lots of fans blaming the refs for oppressing the Avs chances of winning or claiming the Preds are a nasty dirty team but at the end of the day not being able to score when Nashville takes liberties is the reason for all of that. Simply put, the Avs have no one but themselves to blame.
The defensive regime at 5v5 went Z, Barbs, Barrie, Nemeth then a gigantic gap to Warsofsky and Duncan. In all situations Barrie played nearly 28 minutes, Z/Barbs around 24, Nemeth 20 and Wars/Duncan around 6 each. Duncan was used very sparingly with only 9 shifts overall and only 2 or 3 what I would call “regular” 5v5 outings.
Top 6 forwards were Mack, Landy, Mikko, Nieto, Andrighetto and Kerfoot at 5v5 and the top line then Jost, Kerf, Nieto overall. Gabe Bourque was low man at just under 6 minutes 5v5.
– The top line struggled to score but Mack had 5 shots on goal and Captain Gabe had the 5v3 goal. They got caved in badly on the shot board. Mikko continues to look like there’s something very wrong with him, add to that Mack’s stick almost took out his eye and the conclusion is that he’s real beat up.
– Carl’s line didn’t play much for various reasons, one of which is that we assume Carl left for concussion protocol early in the 3rd and only returned for one late shift. When they were on the ice they actually controlled shot attempts, which is new for this series. Avs did better when they were getting hammered so not sure what to think there.
– The Frat Line had their best game of the series individually but together they still don’t provide a whole lot. What this is proving is that they have the talent to compete but are probably not constructed well for playoff hockey. There’s not much the staff can do about that now but at least they see that they can be effective with more experienced players and are moving them into some better situations when they can.
– The Compher line had their first down game of the series and I’m not sure why. They controlled play when they were out together but JTC/Willie were on-ice for all 3 goals against, two of which immediately followed godawful power play shifts.
– Other than one bad 2+ minute shift following the early 3v5, where Duncan had the long change and couldn’t get off and Nemeth/Z couldn’t help out, the D’s were all fairly positive on the shot board. Everyone besides Wars had a shot on goal and Z/Barrie picked up assists. The hot taek here is that lack of depth is creating problems with 4 guys doing just about all of the work. When you’re an 8th seed playing without half your top 4 D’s problems like this are bound to occur.
– Bernie took a shot in the face early, which didn’t bode well, and ended up leaving with what the Avs deemed LBI after the 2nd period. Hammond looked scrambly in the 3rd but conceded nothing. This seems like a problem.
Burgundy Narrative Metric
– “Best guys being your best guys” gets a (-) Not enough last night
– Corsi gets a (-) and this time it wasn’t deceptive, they got smoked
– Power Play gets a (-) and is killing the Avs in the series
– Turtle gets a (-) fought back hard during the NSH turtle, so that’s nice
– Varly% gets a (n/a) and Bernie was present for some of the game
– Referee Oppression Index gets a (-) Another solid playoff call. Other than game 2 the stripes have been fine this series.
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The series shifts back to Nashvegas for Friday’s game 5, once again in the middle of the night. The Avs face playoff elimination for the first time in almost 4 years, don’t miss this one.
Vlad’s Post-Game from the Pepsi Center
Much different gamethan Monday but Vlad was there as our man on the scene. Stop by our YouTube Channel and check out Rudo’s outstanding work on our prospects when you get a chance too.