The Brazil, 7-1. For the 3rd time this season the Avs were involved in a Brazil game. Twice they’ve been on the good side, last night and a while ago vs LA, and once they were the receivers vs Tampa. We’ll see if this is truly turning the corner but regardless some frustrations were let out. Add to this the ongoing theme that nothing in the Central Division is set in stone and any team can turn bad/good at the drop of a hat.
No changes and why would you. Colin Wilson skated with the team in a NC jersey on Tuesday but wasn’t available. Can’t imagine any changes for the Chicago game either. Varly started but the b2b this weekend looms, looks like Grubi will have to play in one of those.
Scratch: Bourque, Barberio
Injured: Wilson (???), Cole (face), Kamenev (shoulder)
In case you didn’t notice last night, Tim Peel was reffing so it was weird. Both teams were a little tentative starting out, Winnipeg grabbed a little momentum with some strong shifts and a 9-2 run then the Avs took over for the rest of the 1st period. A 15-2 run straddled 1st inters and led to the first goal of the game by Big Carl. The 2nd and 3rd periods were marred by lots of overmanagement by the officials which turned out to be in the Avs favor. Mikko Rantanen scored what turned out to be the winning goal halfway through the game and the Jets basically collapsed after that. They are not playing well at all right now. The rest of the game boiled down to 5 goals for the Avs in the 3rd period, completing the Brazil, and finding out that a referee’s “intent to blow” is totally made up and they’ve been jiving everybody for years.
Tale of the tape at 5v5 was +57/-41 but heavily score affected. Shots on goal in all situations were 46-27 Avs. Game pace at 5v5 was a hilarious 140 per hour. The first period was probably a better indicator and that was even faster at 145 per 60 minutes.
The PP looked great at first but then went back to the same old units and was totally ineffective again. It went 1-for-6 but that’s sort of misleading since the had one within seconds of expiration. The PK killed all 4 chances but a goal was counted anyway for reasons that were totally made up on the spot.
Top 6 forwards at 5v5 were Mack, Kerf, Sven, Calvert, Soderberg and Nieto. In all situations it was Mack, Carl, Sven, Landy, Kerf and Calvert. AJ Greer was low man at 7:08.
The defensive regime went Sam, EJ, Graves, Nemeth, Barrie, Z at 5v5. Overall it was Sam (22+), EJ (19), Barrie (18), Nemeth (17+), Graves (17) and Z (15) thanks to some box time after a fight or two.
– The top line all chipped in with goals last night, none came while playing together at 5v5. Spreading out the talent the way that Coach Bednar has in the past 2 games has had some really nice effects. Splitting the sophomores up has been crucial. Jost has thrived next to Landy, who wouldn’t? Kerf hasn’t found the same success with Mack yet but it hasn’t mattered. Compher probably isn’t happy about playing on the 4th but the staff have been good about getting him spot shifts and I think 10-12 minutes is about where you want to see his 5v5 TOI.
– AJ Greer became the latest in a line of guys scoring their first NHL goal over the past week or so, along with Dom Toninato and Andrew Agozzino. It was long overdue but I’m happy for the guy, it’s sure to be a big weight lifted off his shoulders. The roughing penalty he took was poorly timed with a fresh 2-0 lead but in the grand scheme of things didn’t matter and became a case of a young player discovering where the line is. He’s got to live right on that line to stay in the lineup.
– Talking about the goalie in a 7-1 win seems tangential but Varly had another fantastic game. Since Valentine’s Day he’s let in an average of one goal per game and rolled along with a .968 save percentage. Yes, he’s playing better but the team in front is so much better than it was over the preceding 2 months.
– The Avalanche are one game over .500 and in a playoff spot. That tells you all you need to know about how awful the western conference is. No one in the Central Division is playing well right now outside of the Blues and Chicago (sort of). Minnesota threw in the towel yesterday by selling Charlie Coyle, they seem to be done for the year after one win in ten games. The Jets are in freefall. Nashville and Dallas have been mediocre. Who knows what the Avs are. The scary thing now is the trade deadline looming on Monday and contemplating the damage from buying rather than selling.
Burgundy Narrative Metric
– “Best guys being your best guys” gets a (+) yes, they were!
– Quality vs Quantity gets a (+) plenty of both
– Power Play Watchability gets a (-) you see what works, don’t go back to what doesn’t
– The Dreaded Turtle gets a (-) nope
– Starting Goalie Battle% gets a (+) Varly’s on fire
– Referee Oppression Index gets a (+) The league can justify allowing a goal after/during a whistle all they want but they just opened the door for a lot of challenges every time an inadvertent whistle happens. Not good. Aside from that Tim Peel did his usual inconsistent and bad job.
Off to Chicago to get a look at the Hawks non-existant defense tomorrow.
Thanks as always to the NHL and Natural Stat Trick for numbers and visuals