Breaking Down: Avs/Canucks, Game #14

Unlike the Calgary game, where the Avs appeared to be in it via smoke and mirrors, last night’s contest was a fun back and forth skill exposition with no goaltending or defense at all. The Avs and Canucks might not be battling in the old Northwest Division anymore but this could be an exciting matchup for the foreseeable future. I’m sure it was too exciting for Jared Bednar and Travis Green but who wants to see 2-1 games every night?

Projectile Lineup

AJ Greer made his season debut in place of Marko Dano. Patrik Nemeth swapped in for Barbs. Lines and pairs got a major blending. The top 2 lines below stayed together most of the night but the bottom 6 was fluid from the word go. Grubi got the start in the back half of the b2b.

Scratch: Dano, Barbs, Jost (Haut du Corps)
Injured: Andrighetto (LBI), Compher (Haut du Corps)

Team Stats

Vancouver started with a big push and a breakaway goal but the Avs gradually clawed back some control in the 2nd half of the 1st period. P2 was firewagon hockey until Colorado went on a strong 7-0 run and gained a power play. The usual letdown after gave the Nucks a late goal making it a 4-4 tie going to 2nd inters. Other than a big shot by Big Z in the back of the net, Vancouver controlled the 3rd early with a 10-1 run and a PPG. The Avs answered with a decent run of their own and went ahead on a PPG. More d-zone tomfoolery ensued and the Canucks tied it immediately, sending it to OT. As usual the Avs had no idea what they were doing 3v3 and took a penalty on yet another breakaway. Nucks scored and that’s all she wrote.

Tale of the tape was +44/-46 and SOG in all situations ended 37-29 VAN. The Avs did well on the scoring chance front with a +26/-19 and +10/-5 in high-danger situations. That’s been a rarity so far this season and the new 2nd line helped out a bunch.

The first power play unit had a new QB in Sam Girard and looked promising other than having Matt Calvert out there. They went 1-2 on the night and had what should have been the winning goal. PK struggled once again at 2-4 but both ST units are in the top 10 so it’s all good.

TOI

Mack, Mikko and Landy led all skaters at 5v5 and the new 2nd line of Kerf, Dries and Wilson filled out the top 6. AJ Greer was used sparingly with slightly more than 5 minutes. We all want to see more time for him but with zero practices and a firewagon game it’s understandable that he sat on the bench for almost all of the 3rd.

The defensive regime went Sam/Cole, the new top pair I guess, Z/Barrie reunited from last year’s playoff run, then EJ and Nemeth. Usage was pretty even overall with Sam the high man at 22:48 down to Nemeth at 17:22

Individual

– I don’t think the top line played all that well, although certainly better than Thursday night. Landy looked sluggish, Mikko was fighting the puck and Mack continued to be selfish. That said, Mack had 2G/1A, Mikko had 3 assists and Gabe chipped in with an assist as well. Mikko leads the NHL with 24 points and Mack sits 2nd with 21. A few guys behind have games in hand but they’ll stick at the top or close for now.

– I liked the new D-pairings. I guess they aren’t really new since they mirror the playoffs last Spring. Girard (with Cole instead of Nemeth) took heavy defensive zone usage. Barrie and Z seemed glad to back together, they took the o-zone starts. EJ is kind of left out here, he’s either hurt or in the doghouse, and he and Nemeth got shelled a bit. I think with some practice time these pairs could work well long term.

– Someone needs to ask Coach Bednar what in the wide wide world of sports he is seeing in Matt Calvert that makes him worthy of this kind of deployment. The line blender shuffled him out of the top 6 at 5v5, finally, but he still ended up 4th in TOI overall by forwards. Everyone loves a tryhard but overplaying 4th liners just makes a coach look dumb, and Jared Bednar isn’t dumb.

– I know it takes time to get used to a new team, especially one with a defense that didn’t win the Stanley Cup last June, but Philipp Grubauer isn’t exactly inspiring hope so far. Last night he was ghastly, any one of at least 5 goals that whizzed by him could and probably should have been stopped. Didn’t get a ringing endorsement from the coach or at least one teammate afterwards either. He’s had one solid start out of 5 and I don’t think the team have a lot of confidence in him at this point, not good.

Burgundy Narrative Metric

– “Best guys being your best guys” gets a (+) Top line got back on track
Quality vs Quantity gets a (+) Both were ok but also low-event somehow
– Power Play Watchability gets a (+) adding Sam is good
The Dreaded Turtle gets a (+) didn’t have time
Starting Goalie Battle% gets a (-) yikes Grubi
Referee Oppression Index gets a (+) For a Tim Peel game this went pretty well I thought. Plenty of dumb calls, missed calls, inconsistent calls but it’s hard to say either team ended up much better than they deserved from the officiating.

Total: +2¾

Next up

Another 4 day break then the Preds on Wednesday at home. Lots to ponder for the players and staff here.

 

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

earl06

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

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