Breaking Down: Avs/Oilers, Game #17

The Avs rolled into Edmonton needing a win very badly and got it done. The victory keeps them clinging to the final wild card spot and matching their pace from last year. Beating a bad Edmonton team that’s now lost 4 in a row shouldn’t mean a lot but it does. Now their own losing streak has been busted and they have a little confidence to build on with more tough matchups ahead.

Projectile Lineup

Matt Nieto re-entered then lineup after missing Friday with LBI. He did not go back to his usual spot on the Soderberg line however, spending the night on the 4th instead.

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

Team Stats

Tough to get a better start than a greasy goal from Mikko Rantanen 26 seconds in. The first half of the game was solid back and forth with the good guys building a 3-0 lead. From there score effects took over and the Avs shelled up bigtime while Edmonton went on a completely non-dangerous 29-9 run until the last half of the 3rd where basically nothing happened at all.

Tale of the tape was +28/-46 but breaking it into 1st half/2nd half it went +16/-16 then +12/-30. Again this is a lot of score effects but had they been playing a decent team this could have gotten very ugly. That said, scoring chances were a lot closer at +16/-20 and high-danger closer still at +6/-7. File this in the result column rather than process. Shots on goal overall were about even with the Avs ahead 28-27 at the end.

The power play was 1 for 2. PP1 looked stinky as usual and created nothing but wasted time and dumb turnovers. On the only real PP of the night early in the 2nd, the first unit methodically threw away 1:20 before the 2nd unit arrived and scored 29 seconds later. We’re at the point now where Patrik Nemeth, Gabriel Bourque and Mat Nieto would be more effective on the power play than Mack, Mikko and Barrie. PP2 scores more than twice as often as the first unit and gets less than half the TOI.

The penalty kill did a fabulous job at 3 for 3 and actually outshot the Oilers 4-2. Yowza, it’s not just the Yotes that can find some offense 4v5.


Top 6 forwards were Landy, Mack, Mikko, Jost, Kerfoot, Calvert at 5v5 and the top line then Carl, Jost and Calvert in all situations. Vlad Kamenev was low man at just 3 seconds short of 10 minutes. The top line was around 2 or 3 minutes lower than they have been over the losing streak. There’s a good debate to be had whether overplaying Mack’s line is a cause or an effect of losing so much. Matt Calvert continues to be a fixture in the top 6 somehow, not good.

The defensive regime went EJ, Sam, Barrie, Cole, Z, Nemeth at 5v5 and much the same overall. Interesting to note that Nemeth was 4th in PK time but I guess he made up for it during the 3rd period turtle with 3 shifts over a minute long and only one out of 7 that lasted less than 50 seconds. Keep shifts short, kids.


 – Yes, Mikko’s back on top of the points race and leads in assists too. Mack and Landy are tied for 6th in goals with 11. For all you plusminus fans Barrie is 2nd in the NHL at +12, Gabe is tied for 5th at +11 and Mikko is 9th at +10. Shoutout to Varly with the league’s 8th best Sv% and 10th best GAA despite a .500 record.

– Freed from one of the plugs on his wing, Carl Soderberg was a man on a mission last night. He had a goal and an assist while calmly handling his usual defensive chores. Just imagine his reaction if the staff takes the other plug off too.

– Vlad Kamenev had one of those games where the staff feel free to use him in more than the perfunctory 4C role and he once again showed promise. Along with Nieto and Bourque, the 4th line was used well and more often than usual. He was one of the few Avs players that managed to keep his shifts short in the 3rd period and thus kept rolling out there until the final horn. The progress has been slow but it is there.


Burgundy Narrative Metric

– “Best guys being your best guys” gets a (+) yay, they’re back!
Quality vs Quantity gets a (-) low event and little quality as usual
– Power Play Watchability gets a (-) but PP2 was faboo
The Dreaded Turtle gets a (-) massive, but it beats losing
Starting Goalie Battle% gets a (+) was worried about Varly, he’s fine again
Referee Oppression Index gets a (+) Excellent game from Messrs. Charron and Lambert. Well managed with only 5 calls and a single softie from touching the anointed one.

Total: +¾

Next up

Back home against the B’s on Wednesday night, which will start an hour late thanks to NBC.


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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