Colorado limps into the 9-day break barely hanging on to the final playoff spot in the West but roaring downhill like an… Avalanche. Last night was another exposition of lack of discipline which Minnesota gladly accepted to the tune of 5-2.
Ryan Graves was called up to replace Anton Lindholm on the roster and Mark Barberio in the lineup. That was the only skater change from Monday’s loss vs the Preds. Grubi got his first start since being annihilated in Winnipeg a couple weeks ago.
Scratch: Toninato, Barberio, EJ (concussion)
Injured: Kamenev (shoulder)
The Avs had a couple of nice runs in the 1st, a 5-shotter early that resulted in a 1-0 lead, which they promptly gave back as usual, and a 6-shotter that got them a power play that they converted, which they also gave back. P2 started with a nice run but no glory then the Wilds took over for a while and scored on their first of two 5v3’s of the night. Another fruitless shot run turned into a good shift for Minny and a 4-2 deficit going to the 3rd. Everything got shut down in the final period and energy was lacking. The second 5v3 of the night sealed the deal.
Lots of quantity but little quality as usual for the Avs. Tale of the tape was +53/-42 but scoring chances were pretty even on the night and Minny outshot the Avs 28-22 in all situations. Game pace was a solid 122 shots per hour at 5v5.
The power play converted 1 of 2 chances, not bad. The PK stopped all 4 at 4v5 but two 3v5 goals gave them a final mark of 4-6.
The MacKinnon and Soderberg lines were the top 6 at 5v5 as has been the case lately. In all situations it was much the same with Calvert slotting in for Wilson thanks to PK time. Bourque and Dries didn’t crack 7 minutes at 5v5 and Dries was low man over all at 8:27. The top line was oddly well under 20 minutes on the night.
The defensive regime went Z, Barrie, Girard, then a big gap to Cole, Graves and Nemeth. In all situations it went Z (26), Barrie (23), Girard (18), Cole (18), Graves (16) and Nemeth (16).
– The top line had it goin’ on for a while early but ended up having little effect in the end. Mikko and Mack had assists for what it’s worth. Mikko enters the break 2nd in NHL scoring with 74 points, 4 back of the leader. Mack is tied for 5th at 71. Gabe has 29 goals, t5th, Mack has 27, t9th. Mikko is 3rd in assists with 51, Mack tied for 5th with 44.
– I keep getting the feeling that Ryan Graves is auditioning for Patrik Nemeth’s job. He played 16 minutes last night including 3 on the PK and had 6 booming shot attempts, 2 on goal. The situation here is that with one more game he becomes waiver eligible again so if the Avs do call him up it’s either for the duration of the year or they aren’t worried if he gets claimed. Despite his faults I think the staff dig his play and want to use him, at least ahead of Barberio for sure. The easy solution is to waive Barbs but that still doesn’t give Graves a spot in the lineup if everyone is healthy, if he indeed has not passed Nemeth on the depth chart. Something to watch on the other side of the break.
– Grubi had a decent bounceback game after a few weeks off but lo and behold it’s another 5 goals against. I wouldn’t put more than one of them on him directly but the job still didn’t get done.
– The Avs defensive zone coverage has been a catastrophe for months now and a big part of why everyone thinks the goalies are terrible. The players either can’t or won’t execute the system that the staff seems to think is the way to go. Every single game I see opponents not covered or outnumbering defenders in dangerous areas and it’s mind-boggling. I don’t know who’s being stubborn here, either staff or players, but they have to come to an understanding about what’s possible as far as coverages go on a consistent basis. Just saying that guys need to be more committed or need to give more effort is anti-productive. Build some fail-safe into the way they play for a while and go from there. The staff don’t have to force the players into a situation where they’re set up to fail every single game.
Burgundy Narrative Metric
– “Best guys being your best guys” gets a (-) decent but not enough
– Quality vs Quantity gets a (-) quality no
– Power Play Watchability gets a (+) looked ok actually
– The Dreaded Turtle gets a (+) yet another opponent turtle
– Starting Goalie Battle% gets a (+) Not great but not Grubi’s fault either
– Referee Oppression Index gets a (-) Very inconsistent and frustrating game from this crew. Avs sure didn’t help but this was a poorly managed game.
A long break then who knows what we’ll see vs Vancouver on 2/2
Thanks as always to the NHL and Natural Stat Trick for numbers and visuals