The Avs got on the board with their first win of the pre-season with a solid 5-3 performance over a noticeably more experienced Vegas lineup. After getting smoked by a combined 12-1 in games 1&2 this was probably a little more important to the players than it was in reality. Losing sucks even if you’re expected to. As you may have noticed this match was not available to view outside of the arena so we’re flying blind on the recap here.
The Avs found themselves with a lead early when JT Compher scored a minute into the game then ground out a PP goal 10 minutes later thanks to some nice passing by Kaut, Kerfoot, Girard over to Carl and in. Vegas made a big push at the end of the 1st but couldn’t convert. The Avs took control once again in the opening of P2 then Vegas made another big push that did lead to a Pacioretti score. The Good Guys answered immediately with a Sheldon Dries goal to keep the 2-goal lead and controlled the game until Scott Kosmachuk made it 4-1 five minutes into the 3rd. From there the game was score effect central with Vegas drawing close then Kamenev sealing it with an empty-netter late.
Tale of the tape was a +45/-53 Corsi spread overall but 52% score adjusted and it’s worth noting that they nudged over the low-event horizon for the first time this year. Power play was 1 for 3 and PK, which has been awful, was 2/3 so net neutral on special teams. The Avs philosophy is to worry about quality rather than quantity and the scoring chances reflected that, a good sign that they’re getting towards regular season mode. Chances were +21/-18 and +11/-8 high-danger.
Without being able to watch it’s tough to say what the lines ended up being but there was obviously more mixing and matching than in the first two. Top 6 forwards at 5v5 were Carl, Bourque, Nieto, then Kerfoot, Kamenev and Compher. PP1 was Carl, Kerf, Comphs and Kaut which could be a preview of the 2nd unit when the season starts.
Anton Lindholm got crushed halfway through the first period and didn’t return, word is that it’s UBI. That meant big minutes for everyone else. Sam & Nemo were the top pair 5v5, then the orphaned Sergei Boikov and the Graves/Alt pair. In all situations it went Sam (25+ min), Nemeth (24+ min), Alt, Boikov and Graves. Not sure why but the staff once again used Alt as a PP quarterback.
– Pavel Francouz made his NA pro debut and stopped 24/26 at even strength and 4/5 on the PK. Sounded like he had a good game to me! This is probably his final NHL performance until an injury to Varly or Grubauer forces a callup so point in his favor that he got the job done.
– More of a team thing but 13 guys combined for 13 points, which is weird and improbable but sheds some light on how the game was won. Everyone was pulling in the same direction. Every skater had at least 2 shot attempts save for Nemeth and every forward had a shot on goal except for Kaut.
– For the 2nd game in a row Sam Girard was the top D in TOI. Granted he’s been with mostly prospects and AHLers but the fact they put him in this role bodes well for his regular season usage. He ended up with 4 shot attempts and an assist on Carl’s PP goal.
– The Soderberg line did most of the heavy lifting but the Compher line with Kerfoot and Kaut took advantage of some more favorable matchups and dominated possession for most of the game, ending up the tops on the team at around 54%. Compher had the opening score and Kerf/Kaut both had assists on the night.
Another blind game vs Dallas tomorrow night at the Pepsi Center.