“You can’t continually learn the same lesson…”
That quote from Jared Bednar’s post-game presser elegantly sums up the Avs season. They played an ok game against a bad team and made a few back-breaking mistakes that lost it in the end. There’s plenty to delve into with the pattern continuing as it has for most of the season. What everyone wants is answers and the staff doesn’t have any.
Other than Varly swapping back in for Grubi the lineup remained unchanged.
Scratch: Graves, Barberio (LBI), Landeskog (UBI), Nieto (LBI)
Injured: Kamenev (shoulder)
The Avs had a languid start then an amazing 120′ diagonal stretch pass from the goal line by Sam Girard set up a zone entry by JT Compher and a blast from the weak side by MacKinnon. A couple of lazy shifts followed as Anaheim went on a 12-2 run then the Avs got control back and drew a call. Mikko put in a highlight-reel backhand for a 2-0 lead going to intermission. The 2nd began with Colorado going on a 12-2 run of their own and then everything fell apart. A series of defensive zone mistakes gave the Ducks a pair of goals 1:15 apart then another later in the period. The Avs looked done at that point. Hang on, Sven Andrighetto tied it midway through the 3rd and we were in business again. After some back and forth Mikko got careless with his stick and the Avs PK flailed as usual, giving up the winning goal with a minute to go. Add an ENG and that’s all she wrote.
Tale of the tape was a +53/-48 at 5v5 and shots in all situations favored the Avs 44-37. Colorado dominated high-danger chances 14-5. Game pace was a solid 123 shots per hour.
The power play got the goal from the 1st unit but most of the shot generation was courtesy of the 2nd. Final tally was 1-for-3. The PK had 2 chances, the first they managed to limit damage in a clumsy and ineffective way. The second was awful and lost the game.
Top 6 forwards at 5v5 were Mack, Brass, Mikko, Kerf, Compher, Calvert. In all situations it was Mack (22:32), Brass, Compher, Carl, Mikko and Kerfoot (16:18). Bourque was low man at 6:40, played less than 5 minutes at 5v5 and had one even strength shift in the 2nd half.
The defensive regime went EJ, Barrie, Sam, Z, Cole, Nemeth. Overall it was EJ (23), Barrie (22), Sam (20+), Cole (17+), Z (17+) and Nemeth (14+).
– The Avs fall to 3-5-1 since the deadline with their single regulation win coming against a team that didn’t even show up. They’ve been outscored 27-19 and been shut out twice. Arizona is 5 points ahead in the final wild card spot and they play Edmonton tonight. Minnesota is between them and they play the hapless Rangers this evening. This isn’t as close as it looks. Colorado would have to go 8-2-1 to pass Arizona if the dogs only manage a .500 record the rest of the way. A lot of fans look at last night as the final straw but in reality this has been over for a while now.
– The breakdowns that led to the first four Anaheim goals are part of a pattern that has been embedded with the Avs defensive coverages all year. On the first one there was a moment’s confusion and hesitation between Barrie and Cole on a coverage pass off that allowed Corey Perry the space needed to score. The second goal was poor (and lazy) transition coverage by the Soderberg line. The 3rd goal happened when Tyson Barrie left EJ all alone to cover a 2v1 in front of the net. The 4th was poor awareness by the PK in general and Zadorov in particular. These are not the kind of mistakes that a team 71 games into a season should be making. Defensive lapses happen all the time but these are fundamental errors that by now should have been corrected by the staff. A team can get by with maybe one of these per game but four is unacceptable. Varly and Grubi have gotten the blame piled on them all year for the Avs issues, the situations above tell a different story.
Burgundy Narrative Metric
– “Best guys being your best guys” gets a (-) they were good early I guess
– Quality vs Quantity gets a (+) decent quantity and a fair amount of quality too
– Power Play Watchability gets a (+) 1st unit was ugly, 2nd looked good
– The Dreaded Turtle gets a (-) the 2nd period turtle was instrumental in the loss
– Starting Goalie Battle% gets a (+) Varly makes one mistake and gets crucified. The defense makes 20 and it’s still on him. Story of the season.
– Referee Oppression Index gets a (+) Didn’t even notice them.
Sunday afternoon vs Jersey
Thanks as always to the NHL and Natural Stat Trick for numbers and visuals