There’s a lot of doom and gloom out there over the Avs play this month. They’re definitely in a slump but the good news is that they’re solidly 3rd in the Central and have time to work this out. That doesn’t fix the feelings over a week where they had 3 games at home against opponents they should beat more often than not and came up with only 4 goals and 2 points.
Nikita Zadorov left Wednesday’s game with a lower-body muscle issue and is day-to-day. Anton Lindholm was called up in relief. Sheldon Dries was re-assigned to the Eagles Friday afternoon. Barbs is still a little ways out. Grubi got his 2nd start in a row.
Scratch: Zadorov (LBI)
Injured: Barberio (UBI), Kamenev (shoulder)
The Avs dominated this game for long stretches but weren’t finishing. The 1st period was rock solid at +18/-10 on the shot board and +11/-2 in scoring chances. The only problem was a gruesome power play that gave away a 2v1 to the player exiting the box and ended up down 1-0. The 2nd was again very solid and started with a 12-0 run and a JT Compher goal. Once again they dominated the period +23/-10 on the shot board and +12/-6 scoring chances. The bad news was a couple more ineffective PPs, which would haunt them. Tie game going to the 3rd and then the problems began. A leaky save turned into a 2-1 lead by the Hawks then they started to shell up a bit. Colorado’s ability to generate scoring chances dried up along with the shooting luck which led to no glory and 2 points left on the table.
Tale of the tape was +58/-33 at 5v5, scoring chances were +32/-15. The Avs have been greatly improving their shot share lately but it really isn’t translating on the scoreboard. They aren’t doing the shoot-from-anywhere volume deal we see from teams like Carolina and Montreal, they are generating quality too, but the effects are fairly negative at this point. I’d like to see them stick with it and learn to make it a positive because later in the year and in the playoffs they’ll be better off playing this way. Game pace at 5v5 was an energetic 125 shots per hour.
Power play was 0-5 and went 1-14 this week in 3 games. Definitely in a slump there. PK stopped all 3 chances and went 8-11 this week. So to bust a narrative here, the Avs aren’t taking a ton of penalties and over the season have drawn close to the same amount they take. It’s about 3 and a half of each per game. Last year they ended with 3.6 PPs per game and 3.25 PKs so one less PK every 4 games and one more PP per 10 games and they are right there. Not as big a difference as it looks.
Top 6 forwards at 5v5 were Mack, Landy, Mikko then a 3 minute gap down to Compher, Soderberg and Nieto. Same in all situations and Compher got within 8 seconds of 20 minutes. Colin Wilson was injured early in the 3rd and ended up low man but he was only on pace for about 9 minutes anyway.
The defensive regime went EJ, Cole, Barrie, Nemeth, Sam and then Lindholm who barely played. Girard was injured halfway through the 3rd and didn’t return but seems to be ok.
– Was the top line bad? It really wasn’t despite getting blanked. They got goalied but they were +15/-9 together and the Hawks only came up with 3 shots on goal in 14:10 when they were on the ice. The Soderberg line got goalied even worse and no one’s talking about them letting the team down.
– You know who was good? Alexander Kerfoot. JT Compher may be the clutch goal guy, like he was again last night, but Kerf makes the bottom 9 go. Kerf/Comphs played mostly with each other and had a variety of LWs hang with them through the game. Wilson, Jost, Andrighetto, Bourque, all spent time with Kerf and all except Wilson had better numbers with than without. Check out the defensemen’s Corsi numbers with Kerfoot on the ice, EJ +8/-3, Nemeth, +8/-2, Cole +4/-1, Lindholm +6/-3, Barrie +2/-0. Sam was the only D under par at +4/-6. He’s an important part of the lineup and his absence is greatly felt when MIA.
– The Avs are starting to rack up some injuries. Zadorov out day to day, which means who knows what. Hated to see Wilson’s ballistic crash last night. I’ve seen similar impacts in cycling a thousand times and often it’s a broken clavicle or wrist, that would not be good. JB called it week-to-week for now.
This morning we get news that Sheldon Dries was called up, quickly followed by AJ Greer and Pavel Francouz joining the team in Phoenix. One of the forwards for Wilson makes sense but the 2nd is a mystery. Calling Francouz up is alarming to say the least. Stay tuned.
Burgundy Narrative Metric
– “Best guys being your best guys” gets a (-) not really
– Quality vs Quantity gets a (+) lots of both
– Power Play Watchability gets a (-) yeesh, not clutch at all
– The Dreaded Turtle gets a (+) another loss, another no turtle night
– Starting Goalie Battle% gets a (+) Grubi played well minus the 2nd goal
– Referee Oppression Index gets a (+) I have a serious problem with the play where Girard was injured. This was the exact situation that brought forth the no-touch icing rule and they screwed it up bigtime. I get that keeping play going is desirable but players safety has to come first.
An afternoon game in the Valley of the Sun tonight, then Xmas break.
Thanks as always to the NHL and Natural Stat Trick for numbers and visuals