Breaking Down: Avs/Coyotes, Game #37

The Avs looked like a team that flew in late for a back-to-back game starting less than 20 hours after finishing the front end. The mustered some energy late and tied it up but it just wasn’t to be. 6-4 Arizona.

Projectile Lineup

Sheldon Dries was called up after the Hawks game but it turns out he was injured at some point in the Eagles/Condors game and couldn’t go. So AJ Greer was called up as well and made the start in Arizona. Varly was sick and couldn’t even back up so Pavel Francouz dressed for his first NHL game. Greer, Francouz and Lindholm were returned to the Eagles following the game.

Scratch: Dries (???), Zadorov (LBI)
Injured: Wilson (UBI), Barberio (UBI), Kamenev (shoulder)

Team Stats

A quick start by the Coyotes got them an 11-0 run then they gave the Avs PP a chance, which was squandered. A minute later they scored on some horrible d-zone play. The Avs picked up some momentum and answered back then let up with 4 seconds left in the period and Arizona put in a back-breaker. Some more bad D and questionable goaltending was the Avs answer early in the 2nd and in the blink of an eye they were down 4-1. Enter Pavel Francouz making his NHL debut. The staff made some adjustments and play in the d-zone improved, some hope was there. After a successhul PK beginning the 3rd the good guys went bonkers with 3 straight goals to tie at 4. The hope was short-lived as the Dogs pushed back and then scored the game-winner with less than 4 minutes remaining. An ENG capped off the loss.

Tale of the tape at 5v5 was +46/-58 and shots in all situations favored Arizona 39-28. The glaring stat of the night is high-danger shots which were +7/-16 and +1/-9 in the 3rd period. Shot pace at 5v5 was a blazing 135 per hour.

The PP went 1-4 against the best in the league but honestly outside of the single successful chance was dreadful. The PK killed both opportunities they had and looked the best they have in weeks on the 2nd.

TOI

Top 6 forwards at 5v5 were Mack, Mikko, Landy, Kerf, Sven and Compher and the same in all situations. Last-minute callup AJ Greer was low man at 6:21 after light use in the 3rd.

The defensive regime was Cole, Barrie, EJ, Sam, then a 3 minute gap down to Nemeth. Anton Lindholm was benched for all but one shift in the 3rd and only played 4 seconds more than Greer at 5v5.

Individual

– The top line looked dead tired and not even close to 100% healthy. They got roasted at 5v5 and their offensive contributions came on the PP or playing with others. We roll into the break with Mikko leading the league in points (59) and assists (43), Gabe 3rd in goals (24) and Nate 8th in goals (22), 5th in assists (34) and 3rd in points (56).

– Also looking dead tired was Philipp Grubauer. If starting him for the 3rd time in 4 nights had been a decision made days ago then so be it, but it wasn’t. Varly was sick and unable to start or even back up. Pavel Francouz was flown in just in case but the staff must have had some inkling that this would happen because Francouz didn’t play for the Eagles on Friday night. It doesn’t take hindsight to say that starting Grubi over Francouz was a poor decision that probably cost them the game. Francouz isn’t a 22-year old prospect that’s never dealt with pressure situations, he’s played a big role in the KHL and started games for the Czech Republic in the olympics. His play so far in the AHL has been stellar. Last night was exactly the situation he was acquired for and after all that Jared Bednar and the staff still punted the decision. Just hideous logic here.

– The organization’s love affair with experienced defensive defensemen is another thing that’s crept into the slew of poor decisions over the last month. Mark Alt has been average at the best of times in the AHL this year but he is the captain so calling him up first gets a slight pass. He was still ineffective and nothing close to NHL calibre in the 2 games they forced themselves to use him. Another opportunity arose on Friday when Nikita Zadorov’s injury forced the Avs to call up another defender. Once again they punted, going with a guy that has NHL experience but was benched for most of the 2nd half of last year and wasn’t close to securing a spot in the NHL in training camp. Anton Lindholm has been less effective than Mark Alt with the Eagles and sure enough he was even worse when shoehorned into the Avs lineup the last two nights. The decision-making process here is what’s at fault. When the Avs have a need for a stopgap D from their AHL affiliate they are choosing the least likely candidates to succeed. Whether this is bad information, poor evaluation or a lack of communication isn’t important. This facet of the organization is failing to provide what it is designed to do and ignoring that will continue to harm the Avs chances at success.

– Patrik Nemeth was on the ice for 4 goals against including the game-winner. Not a coincidence.

– Just to finish on a positive note, Alexander Kerfoot had another strong game with 2 even strength goals. He and linemate JT Compher, who had 2 assists last night, are holding the fort on depth scoring. Matt Nieto quietly had a couple of assists as well and his play has been quite good since a slow start in October.

Burgundy Narrative Metric

– “Best guys being your best guys” gets a (-) tired guys
Quality vs Quantity gets a (-) Quantity ok, quality no
– Power Play Watchability gets a (-) still needs work
The Dreaded Turtle gets a (-) shelled up after tying the game
Starting Goalie Battle% gets a (-) not fair to Grubi but he was leaky
Referee Oppression Index gets a (+) Six minors called in a fairly physical game, good management.

Total: -3¾

Next up

Christmas break then a day-of-game flight to Vegas on Thursday.

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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