Breaking Down: Avs/Flyers, Game #2

The Avs grabbed their 2nd victory of the season with a win over a gritty Flyers club, 5-2. This works out well since there are 3 other Central Division teams that are 2-0 and all 7 have at least one point. By the way, Anaheim is the only other NHL team that’s at 2-0 so the division of death moniker is apt yet again. Five out of the next six are roadies so now the real work begins

Projectile Lineup

Patrik Nemeth had some UBI issues which a maintenance day on Friday couldn’t salve. The Eagles are off until Friday so I expect a forward callup either today or tomorrow for the trip East. Coach Bednar reinforced his plan to start Grubauer in Columbus on Tuesday.

Scratch: Nemeth (UBI)
Injured: Andrighetto (LBI)

Team Stats

Another early goal got the game started out on the right foot. This was a back and forth affair until the Avs took a 2-1 lead with 7 minutes remaining in the 1st. From there they had control of things until about 20 minutes later when Philly went on a big 15-3 run. The good guys smashed the turtle with a 7 shot run of their own in the middle of the 3rd and from there it was score effect city. A couple more rally-killers at the end rounded out the 5-2 score.

Tale of the tape was +46/-45 at 5v5 and 52.5% when score adjusted. In all situations the Flyers had a 37-35 SOG advantage. In contrast to the plodding manner of the Minnesota game, this was lively and fun.

The power play was 1/4 but once again the top unit created nothing but unwatchable garbage time. No urgency, no danger, nothing positive save for one good chance by Landy in the slot. PP2 on the other hand looked great and even got a goal from Colin Wilson. Obviously they get an easier matchup but they get the puck into scoring position and don’t spend endless minutes firing perimeter shots. I’d bench the top guys for a game and see how they feel about it. Just for fun I looked at early season on-ice shot rates between Barrie and Girard (as proxies for the two units) and when Sam has been on the ice there are significantly more shot attempts, shots on goal, scoring chances and the only real PP goal.

The PK was 3/3 and despite some dicey plays that Varly handled well did what was asked of them. Coach Bednar remarked afterwards that they need to clean up some aspects and there are some new guys like Cole and Calvert still learning the subtleties of the system.


The top 6 forwards were Mack, Mikko, Jost, Kerf, Landy and Wilson at 5v5 and Mack, Mikko, Landy, Jost, Carl and Kerf overall. It’s nice to see the Kerf line bump up a slot this early, and it was totally deserved last night. It’s also nice to see that the staff are trying some different guys on Carl’s wings because that line has been absolutely ghastly so far as expected. Sheldon Dries was low man again but with around a minute and a half more time than opening night.

The defensive regime went Sam, EJ, Cole, Barrie, Z and Barberio at 5v5 with Sam at just over 18 minutes and Barbs just under 10. In all situations it was Sam, EJ, Barrie, Cole, Barbs and Z.


– It was Colin Wilson’s night, coming up with a pair of goals and could have had another easily to complete the hat trick. I give full credit to him but that line along with Tyson Jost and Alex Kerfoot has been fantastic. They are out-attempting opponents 2:1 so far this year and really controlling play well.

– JT Compher and the 4th line have been a breath of fresh air as well. They are also controlling play well and round out a bottom 6 that can win games. It’s so rare we see a 4th line that’s actually a line and not a collection of specialists thrown together. Compher has 2 goals so far on 6 shots, a far cry from his 5% shooting last season.

– Sam Girard received high praise from Erik Johnson after the game for his play so far and it’s well deserved. His shot rates are much better than last year when he was for all intents and purposes last on the team and his defensive play and puck skills just keep getting better. Sam got his first point last night from driving to the slot then giving a no-look pass to a wide open Compher for the score.

– Other than the goofball VarlyCover™ play where he blew an icing and gave away an open net goal, Varly was once again solid. Saving 20/21 in the sludgy-paced Wilds game might have been more difficult but a perfect 6-6 night on the PK and 35-37 overall against a dangerous Flyers team was a great performance.

– Mack was still a little stubborn with the puck last night and the matchup vs the Giroux/Couturier/Vorachek line is one of the toughest in the league but he’s (quietly?) putting up some sick numbers so far. He leads the NHL in SOG with 15. Maybe the points he’s gotten are a little soft so far but 3 in 2 games isn’t bad either.

Burgundy Narrative Metric

– “Best guys being your best guys” gets a (+) Our bottom 6 are our best guys?
Quality vs Quantity gets a (+) SSS but we have both so far, scary
– Power Play Watchability gets a (-) Nightmare fuel, fix this
The Dreaded Turtle gets a (-) a little longer than game 1 but they pulled it off
Starting Goalie Battle% gets a (+) for Varly again, Grubby has some catching up to do
Referee Oppression Index gets a (+) Got the one contentious call in the Avs favor so can’t argue with that.

Total: +2¼

Next up

First road trip of the season and a game in Columbus Tuesday night with Philipp Grubauer making his Avs debut.


Thanks as always to the NHL and Natural Stat Trick for numbers and visuals


Scoring LW, punchy climber for the Ardennes classics, spirit guide

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