Breaking Down: Avs/Habs, Game #45

Another night where the Avs proved how slim the margin is for winning in the NHL. There were warts but overall they played a good game, just not good enough. A couple mistakes led to Montreal’s first goal and the subsequent poor shift led to the other. No response and we move on after another loss.

Projectile Lineup

Colin Wilson and Mark Barberio were activated off of injured reserve and played their first games in a while. Logan O’Connor was re-assigned to the Eagles to make room. Patrik Nemeth is back in Denver with the sick but should rejoin the team in Toronto. Nikita Zadorov joined the team in Montreal and practiced in full contact gear on Friday. Varly made his 2nd start in a row.

Scratch: Bourque, Nemeth (sick), Zadorov (LBI)
Injured: Kamenev (shoulder)

Team Stats

The massive shot generation we saw in Winnipeg and Calgary was gone. Montreal is a bigtime shot share team, 3rd in the league in fact, so it’s not completely surprising but going from 60% to 40% is a huge drop. The whole game was back and forth but trending slightly in favor of Montreal the whole way. The damage at 5v5 was all done in one horrible shift for the Avs that ended up a 10-0 run for the Habs and produced their only 5v5 goal.

Tale of the tape was +42/-65 at 5v5 but shots in all situations favored Montreal only 31-28. Neither team generated much quality with only 15 high danger scoring chances all game and only a one chance difference between the two. Shot pace at 5v5 was a frenetic 141 shots per hour.

The power play was ineffective to put it kindly, barely able to gain the zone in most cases. It was 0-4 and only had a single shot on goal while giving up the second shortie of the road trip. The PK did fine against the league’s worst PP, stopping all 3 chances.


Top 6 forwards at 5v5 were Landy, Mack, Mikko then a big gap down to Compher, Carl and Kerfoot and the same in all situations. Sheldon Dries was low man at 6:28 plus a PK shift which put him just over 7 minutes total.

The defensive regime at 5v5 was EJ, Sam, Barrie, Cole, Barbs then a big gap to Graves. In all situations it was EJ (23+), Barrie (22+), Sam (20+), Cole (18), Barbs (15+) then Graves (8). I think the staff found Graves’ ceiling, he was on pace for around 13 minutes in the first half of the game but a scratchy shift put him on the bench for a while in the 2nd and he only had one shift after the Habs scored in the 3rd.


– I keep hammering these points like I have for the past month but it’s frustrating to watch and analyze and seeing similar problems crop up with very marginal answers.

  • This isn’t a slump, this is who the team is
  • Why does the staff put the same players in the same roles night after night and expect something significant to change?
  • Why have they waited so long to do something positive?

We can debate back and forth about breaking up this line or that or increasing or decreasing various players roles and ice time or making a trade but the bottom line is that the subtle and passive moves that the coaching staff and management make do not have the desired effects. They’ve waited far too long to get on top of this and only the general poor play by every other team in the division has saved them from falling out of relevance by now. That might end up being a curse because it hasn’t forced their hand and has enabled them to tinker at the edges rather than actively restructuring the lineup and systems.

The Avs can stumble through the next 5 games and hope that the 10-day ASG/bye week break allows everyone to reset and contemplate something new and if that doesn’t work they can mortgage the future at the deadline a few weeks after that. More delay just makes the issues harder to correct and less likely that they can correct them. The time to start fixing the issues was a month ago, now every day they wait frustration builds and confidence wanes.

Burgundy Narrative Metric

– “Best guys being your best guys” gets a (-) donuts
Quality vs Quantity gets a (-) quantity fair, quality non-existent
– Power Play Watchability gets a (-) time for a new zone entry Ray
The Dreaded Turtle gets a (+) can’t remember what these look like anymore
Starting Goalie Battle% gets a (+) First goal wasn’t great, overall solid game for Varly
Referee Oppression Index gets a (-) Not going to haggle about officiating at Centre Bell, it is what it is.

Total: -2¾

Next up

A day off in Toronto then Monday night vs the Leafs

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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