Like most sludge games this had a very odd flow to it. The Avs were incredibly dominant at times and at others looked pretty average. The resiliency shown in the 3rd period is not something we’re used to, which made it all the more dramatic. At the end of the day they pulled out a sixth win in a row and now sit a point away from Western Conference supremacy.
Tyson Barrie missed a second game with LBI. Vlad Kamenev rejoined the lineup in Gabe Bourque’s place. Grubauer took the 2nd half of the back-to-back in the nets.
Scratch: Bourque, Dries, Barrie (LBI)
After a quick start for the Avs they gradually began ceding some ground on the shot board. It wasn’t that noticeable by eye mainly because the Avs were blocking a ton of shots but there was a 20 minute stretch from early P1 to early P2 where the Pens built an 18-3 run. Then we went into turbo mode with several very strong shifts in a row as the good guys fashioned a 3-0 lead. Then just as quickly as it began, it ended, and Pittsburgh continued with a slight advantage in controlling play. A series of unfortunate events started with Z breaking his stick in the o-zone which sprung Sidney Crosby for a breakaway and a soft goal. Then a dumb penalty on Nemeth gave them a PP and another softie. Crosby completed his hat-trick early in the 3rd and with that out of the way the Avs got down to business with a nice 5 shot run and good zone time. Captain Gabe scored the GWG with 10 to go and we saw another turtle but not to the degree of the one in Nashville. A couple of ENGs 13 seconds apart capped off the night.
Tale of the tape was +36/-47 at 5v5 and shots on goal in all situations had the Avs with a slim advantage 26-25. Pittsburgh had a bunch of shots blocked, scoring chances were pretty much even, those deemed dangerous had the Avs with just one in each period (which is bad) and the Pens with 8 total. Game pace was slow at 96 shots per hour.
The power play was 0-1 but they only had about 10 seconds to work with. The PK was successful 3 out of 4. The special teams story of the night was more about the power plays the Avs didn’t get rather than what was actually called on the ice.
Top 6 forwards at 5v5 were Mikko (tied for team lead, most TOI over last 2 games), Landy, Mack, then a nearly 4 minute gap to Jost, another two minutes back to Carl then Calvert. TOI in all situations was much the same. Andrighetto was low man at 7:37 by nearly a minute and a half.
The defensive regime went EJ, Z, Cole, Nemeth, Sam, Barbs at 5v5 the EJ, Cole, Nemeth, Z, Sam, Barbs in all situations. In Nemeth’s case it appears that dumb penalties, weak clears and unpressured icings are rewarded with more ice time.
Good morning Mikko. Nate’s 4-point night closed the gap but this is just bananas for 25 games into the season. Mack is now just one back for the league lead in goals and Landy’s still in the top 10.
– I still see fans pining for some help with the depth scoring and it’s mind-boggling. Avs had goals from Sam Girard, Erik Johnson, Colin Wilson and Carl Soderberg last night. Colorado has 3 players at better than a point per game, 7 players at better than a point per 2 games, 13 at a point per 3 games or better and 17 at a point per 4 games or better. They are the highest scoring team in the league by a lot.
– I know I harp on this a lot but I just can’t help myself. The Soderberg line is terrible at defending and controlling play and it’s baffling why they are put in a position to lose games so often.
These guys aren’t shutting anyone down. Yes, they were not on the ice for a goal against which has value in some way but controlling barely over 20% of shot attempts is poor puck management. They are 15th, 17th, and 18th on the team in CF% while Calvert is 4th in forward TOI and Soderberg 6th. That is a lot of time spent getting shelled for very little return. The Avs broke out of their losing streak a while ago right when these 3 were broken up and it’s not a coincidence. The past three games they have been back together and team shot metrics have taken a nosedive. Also not a coincidence.
– With Tyson Barrie on the shelf Nikita Zadorov has stepped into the top 4 D’s and not missed a beat. I’ve really enjoyed his past two games and I’m sure you have too. He’s been physical, moved the puck well and added some offense he doesn’t get to show when dragging Patrik Nemeth around. It’s not a substitute for Barrie’s 70-point pace, it’s just different. Jared Bednar had some good comments about what the staff expects from him last night and I would encourage you to take a listen here.
Also stepping up in Barrie’s absence has been Sam Girard. He’s had a goal and 2 assists in two games while still handling his top pair duties with EJ.
Burgundy Narrative Metric
– “Best guys being your best guys” gets a (+) Mack was on fire last night
– Quality vs Quantity gets a (-) none of either
– Power Play Watchability gets a (n/a) 19 seconds does not a PP make
– The Dreaded Turtle gets a (-) looked worse than it was and self-inflicted as usual
– Starting Goalie Battle% gets a (-) It’s tough to see Grubi as a starter. Yet.
– Referee Oppression Index gets a (+) Didn’t like this crew one bit. Massive pre-existing bias for the Pens turned out exactly like you would expect. Shitty officiating. I’d like to see a new rule next year where centers get a free whack at the linesman’s knees every time they do the psych-out with dropping the puck. Problem solved.
The woeful Blues roll into town on Friday night.
Thanks as always to the NHL and Natural Stat Trick for numbers and visuals