Breaking Down: Avs/Sabres, Game #4

The Avs got their first road win of the season much to the refs chagrin. The first period ended with a quiet 3-0 lead and they cruised from there despite a boatload of soft and generally bad penalty calls. Final tally was 6-1, and it wasn’t really that close.

Projectile Lineup

Vlad Kamenev drew in for Sheldon Dries to make his season debut. Patrik Nemeth replaced Mark Barberio after a quick UBI. After a solid performance in Columbus, Grubauer went back to the bench in favor of Varly.

Scratch: Dries, Barberio
Injured: Andrighetto (LBI)

Team Stats

Unlike Tuesday night vs Columbus, the Avs had some real energy in the first period and got a pair of power play goals then the Swords took over a bit. Didn’t end up mattering when Carl Soderberg made it 3-0. From then on the officials did their best to get the home club back into the game with a parade of chintzy calls and 7 of the final 9 penalties called against Colorado. Luckily the Avs didn’t feel like stopping their scoring frenzy which continued until the end of the game.

The power play was 2 for 4 and the 1st unit returned from being benched to record their first tally of the season. PP2 also scored with Colin Wilson netting his 3rd of the year. I’d say PP1 moved up to just plain terrible from horrifying. That said, PP is 8th in the league at 33%.

The PK had a LOT of practice and killed off all 7 chances. They sit 6th in the league and 1st among teams that have allowed at least one goal.


Top 6 forwards were Mack, Mikko, Kerf, Landy, Jost, Nieto at 5v5 and Mack, Landy, Mikko, Jost, Nieto, Bourque overall. Vlad Kamenev was low man as expected in his debut with 7 minutes. He played well when asked to but the preponderance of special teams time meant he was a spectator for most of the game.

Defensive regime went Girard, Barrie, Nemeth Cole, Z and EJ at 5v5 and Cole, EJ, Barrie, Nemeth, Z, Girard overall.

It’s a telling stat when your 5v5 TOI leader is 6th overall out of all the D’s. Also 12 out 18 skaters had over 5 minutes on special teams. Leading the way were EJ (8:53), Cole (8:04), Mack (6:22), Landy (6:10) and Bourque/Barrie (6:09).


– Mack had 2 goals and both were electric. 5 goals but only a single assist so far, tied for 15th in the NHL at 6 points. Guess what, he doesn’t lead the Avs. That honor goes to Mikko with 1G/6A and he’s tied for 9th in the league. By the way, Mikko had 3 assists last night.

– Tyson Barrie got his first point of the season on Tyson Jost’s first goal of the season then got another helper with an amazing stretch pass to Alex Kerfoot for, you bet, his first goal of the season. Good to see Barrie on the board and Jost/Kerfoot have deserved goals in all of the first 4 games.

– Colin Wilson continued his torrid start with another goal, his 3rd of the year. So did Sam Girard with another assist, his 3rd of the year.

– Sam Girard continues to impress in all 3 zones. Offensively he’s brought his shot generation up where it needs to be to slide into a top pair D role, up 62% over last season. Maybe the best indicator of his effectiveness is how much EJ is able to jump into plays and generate chances so far. He’s had to be minder over the past few years and it’s obvious now that he was holding back. EJ generates shots more than twice the rate of any other D’s and he and Sam together are better than any 3 other defenseman in generating attempts. It’s also impressive that they split time playing alongside the top line with the Cole/Barrie pair so a lot of this is coming throughout the lineup.

– Varly has 3 starts, 3 wins, 4 goals against on 89 shots and a .955 Save Percentage. Goalie controversy? Nah.

Burgundy Narrative Metric

– “Best guys being your best guys” gets a (+) Yes, this is finally and actually true
Quality vs Quantity gets a (-) Really can’t say they had either but it didn’t factor in
– Power Play Watchability gets a (+) Good job on the successful ones, still not great overall
The Dreaded Turtle gets a (-) Refs handed the Swords a turtle and they did nothing with it
Starting Goalie Battle% gets a (+) For Varly and it’s hard to justify playing Grubauer now
Referee Oppression Index gets a (+) This game was tragic, one of the least watchable games in recent memory and it was all because of the poor officiating.

Total: +2¾

Next up

The Avs return home for 1 game against Calgary on Saturday


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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