The first home game after a road trip is always a tough one, and this stinker was no exception. The Avs got goalied early, made a mountain of horrifying mistakes in the defensive zone then score effected themselves into some semblance of dignity. 6-4 doesn’t sound nearly as bad as they actually played when it mattered.
Vlad Kamenev sustained a shoulder injury vs Tampa and it was a baddy. He’s going to have surgery and will be out indefinitely. AJ Greer was called up to take his place. Alex Kerfoot is day-to-day with something. Mark Barberio has a splint on some part of one of his arms and could be getting close to returning.
Scratch: Alt, Kerfoot (undisclosed injury)
Injured: Barbs (UBI), Kamenev (Shoulder)
The first period wasn’t all that bad. After a disappointing goal against on the PK they let down for a while, including one terrifying shift that lasted 86 seconds spent entirely in the Avs zone. From there they actually took control of the game for a solid 10 minutes, drew a PP and built a nice 14-1 shot run. Then it all went in the toilet. Edmonton took back the momentum, drew a PP of their own and went up 2-0. The Avs fought back, made yet another bad mistake and went down 3-0. Enter Grubi, who immediately let up a goal which the Avs got back right away and then gave up another. A power play goal gave the 3rd a promising start but the atrocious PK gave it right back thanks to a dumb penalty. Score effects really took over and a couple of garbage goals got them close enough for a hollow loss.
Tale of the tape was +54/-34, hey that’s pretty good. Shots in all situations were 43-26, score effects aside this was still a solid performance at one end of the ice at least. That said, the Oilers developed better chances on the night mainly due to constant terrible mistakes by Colorado. Shot pace at 5v5 was a strong 121 shots per hour.
The power play was 1-5 and while still good they dropped out of the top spot into 2nd behind the Jets. The PK needs to be blown up and rebuilt at this point, they gave up 2 in 3 chances and now sit 21st in the league at 78%.
Top 6 forwards at 5v5 were Mack, Landy, Mikko, Carl, Compher, Jost and similar in all situations with Colin Wilson slotting in for Compher. AJ Greer was low man overall but played a few more seconds than Gabe Bourque at 5v5.
The defensive regime at 5v5 went Cole, Z, EJ, Barrie, Girard then a big gap down to Nemeth at 10 minutes. In all situations it was Cole, Barrie, EJ, Z, Sam then a 6 minute gap down to Nemeth.
Good morning Mikko. There’s a little shameful joy in the points from last night but in reality any top scorer gets a bunch in garbage time because that’s what they do. They score, whether it’s a game-winner with 1.3 seconds left in OT or a rocket wrister down 6-2. All 3 guys are in the NHL’s top 10 as of right now with an aggregate point total of 137. For reference, 2 years ago they combined for 124 on the entire season. That’s hot.
– Plenty of bad to go over from this game, lets start with Ian Cole. On the ice for another 4 goals against which brings his total to 15 out of the last 21 scored on the Avs. Call it a symptom of larger problems or dumb luck but facts are facts. When he’s on the ice the team is getting slaughtered. Like I wrote after the Tampa debacle, he is not a #1 defenseman and treating him as such leads to issues like this. If you want to get into some junk confirmation bias you can look at Cole’s awful play beginning when Tyson Barrie came back into the lineup and he and Z were split up but we wouldn’t want to do that.
– Tinkering with the forward lines has made a big mess too. Kerfoot was demoted to the 4th line for reasons unknown and for all we know that led to whatever is ailing him now. The Compher/Jost pairing has been junk and now they’re stuck with it. They aren’t really of course. Coach Bednar could easily take advantage of Carl Soderberg’s skill and Matt Nieto’s solid play over the past month and add Compher to make a viable and strong 2-way line.
– I’m not going to question putting Varly back in after getting destroyed in Tampa but in hindsight it probably wasn’t the call. It’s pretty hilarious how Grubi comes in and the guys start scoring though. We’ve seen him get in a funk before and a week off sometimes does the trick but with a couple of b2b’s coming up they can’t afford to take that tack. The whole goaltending situation is getting pretty dicey now, not good.
– I’ll single out a few positives here. Big Z was caught flatfooted in front of the net for the umpteenth time in his career on the Oilers 1st goal but other than that had a really strong night in general. At this point Nolan Pratt should be looking for things that do work rather than forcing things that aren’t. Z is working, not only that he works better with both Cole and Barrie than they do together.
Sam Girard had some rough stretches in the 1st period but came on strong after that. Is EJ dragging him down? Maybe, it’s worth trying something new because both guys are important and if the chemistry isn’t there anymore it’s not worth forcing.
AJ Greer had a great game. No practice beforehand and on a line that made little sense on paper with erstwhile center Colin Wilson and Gabriel Bourque. I thought he made the most of the situation and the staff got him a couple of shifts later in the game with Soderberg after Calvert got in a fight. They seem to love Wilson’s game so if they want more then Greer has a chance to be the same guy with some experience and opportunities.
Burgundy Narrative Metric
– “Best guys being your best guys” gets a (+) I guess, sort of
– Quality vs Quantity gets a (+) lots of quantity, quality was ok
– Power Play Watchability gets a (-) Not very effective
– The Dreaded Turtle gets a (+) haven’t seen one in a while now
– Starting Goalie Battle% gets a (-) both were tragic
– Referee Oppression Index gets a (+) I didn’t care for the Oilers goal that should have been called back but you’ll have that.
A couple days off to contemplate some big issues then a b2b at St Louis and back home Saturday evening against the Stars.
Thanks as always to the NHL and Natural Stat Trick for numbers and visuals