Breaking Down: Avs/Canes, Game #8

Well, this was not a process game. The Avs struggled with teams like Carolina and New Jersey last year and it takes moving out of their comfort zone to get the wins. They did just that yesterday, relying heavily on the top line and Philipp Grubauer to get the job done. Best thing to do here is take the 3-1 win and throw the tape in the trash.

Projectile Lineup

Sheldon Dries was assigned to the Eagles on Friday and played Saturday night. Marko Dano’s paperwork came through so he’s officially on the roster. JT Compher may have been sent back to Denver to deal with his head injury. Grubauer got his 2nd straight start, Varly will take the net tomorrow in Philly.

Scratch: Barberio, Dano
Injured: Compher (Haut du Corps)

Team Stats

Everyone knows Carolina is a volume shot team and they did not disappoint. The Avs kept things even in the 1st until about halfway then melted away while the Canes went on a 13-1 run. The second was boring as all get out with neither team shooting much at all. The last 22 minutes was all Canes as they dominated 22-5. And lost.

Tale of the tape was +28/-54 (34%) and SOG in all situations ended up 43-22. The good guys kept up with high-danger chances until the 3rd and finished +11/-16 there but adjusting for score effects they came in around 47% so it wasn’t the bludgeoning it appears.

Power play was 1-4 with a Landy goal, ugly but still effective at 27%. The PK was perfect after letting in 2 vs Jersey, which is nice. They sit 3rd in the NHL at 90%.


Top 6 forwards at 5v5 were Mack, Mikko, Landy, then an almost 2 minute gap to Calvert, Nieto and Kerfoot. In all situations it was the top line again followed by Nieto, Carl and Calvert. Vlad Kamenev was low man and didn’t pick up the special teams minutes he had in the previous couple games, hope that’s not a sign but it probably is.

The defensive regime went EJ, Sam, Z, Nemeth, Cole and Barrie at 5v5 then EJ, Nemo, Sam, Cole, Barrie and Z in all situations. Tyson Barrie’s slow start and light usage is becoming a bit of a concern. He and Cole have been notso hotso together at even strength and he’s been far from a difference-maker in any situation. Unlike last year the staff aren’t forcing it with him not producing, which is interesting.


– I’ve run out of superlatives for the top line. Mack and Mikko are tied for 2nd in the NHL scoring race and Gabe is in 18th. They are on pace for 390 points this year, and all 3 over 100 each. This is the best line in the NHL right now and it feels great to write that. Mack had a goal and 2 assists yesterday, Landy with another 2 goals and Mikko chipped in with a marginal secondary helper late to keep his points streak going.

– Philipp Grubauer has been strong in his back-to-back wins vs Jersey and Carolina after a fairly ordinary performance in his debut. He’s got a very different style than Varly does, sort of a young JS Giguere look going just by my eye, and I think those styles complement each other well. Add in what Pavel Francouz is doing with the Eagles (4 straight wins, .941 Sv%) and the Avs might have the best top 3 in the league right now.

– Something I can’t let slide anymore is the complete abandonment of the bottom 6 forwards in crunch time. I realize they are a little sheltered but the Kerfoot line especially have been the most effective shot suppressors on the team so far yet the staff are all good with putting Carl’s line out so they can block shots instead. This is really poor deployment and not doing anything to help the team later in the year when it’s really going to matter.

That said, the Kerfoot line has been buried the last two games and went several periods without registering a shot attempt  much less an actual SOG or even point. With Compher out of commission they’ve consolidated the vets on one line and are overusing them just like last year. Hey coach! You want secondary scoring? Well spread out the talent and give skilled players in the bottom 6 more ice time! It’s as simple as that. Overusing plugs that can’t score then wondering why only the top line is generating points is a folly. Commit to using the talent available in a way that maximizes scoring potential and you won’t have to turtle every game. I promise.

Burgundy Narrative Metric

– “Best guys being your best guys” gets a (+) Every. Single. Game.
Quality vs Quantity gets a (-) Quality was ok I guess, quantity sucked
– Power Play Watchability gets a (-) Hurricanes had better chances on the Avs PP than the Avs did, and almost as many. Got the job done but it’s disgusting to look at.
The Dreaded Turtle gets a (-) Welcome to the Coloradoheim Duckalanche
Starting Goalie Battle% gets a (+) For Grubby and this one was a masterpiece
Referee Oppression Index gets a (+) I don’t know what the refs had against Mikko yesterday, he seems like such a nice guy.

Total: +¾

Next up

Monday evening vs Gritty and the Flyers, maybe with 100% more Marko Dano in the lineup too.


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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