The Avs defeated a fairly light representation of what the New Jersey Devils NHL team looks like on Sunday afternoon. This was the 4th shutout they’ve been involved in over the last 5 games, 2 wins/2 losses, and I’m not sure what that says.
Andrew Agozzino got the afternoon off as the staff went with an 11F/7D lineup with Ryan Graves as the extra D. Grubi was back in net after Varly took the Ducks game.
Scratch: Agozzino, Barberio (LBI), Landeskog (UBI), Nieto (LBI)
Injured: Kamenev (shoulder)
A drab, uneventful 1st period gave way to action in the 2nd with the Avs going on a quick run leading to a Tyson Barrie goal then later another quick run leading to a Tyson Barrie goal. The Devils pushed back a bit after that with their best stretch of the game, an 8-0 run but no scoring. After Mack got mouthy with the ref the Avs killed off 2 minutes and then took control until about halfway through the 3rd with a 19-4 run. The usual score effect theatre closed out the game and Mack got an empty-netter for fun to make it 3-0.
Tale of the tape at 5v5 was +50/-34 and shots in all situations favored Colorado 34-22. Shot pace at 5v5 was an ambling 111 per hour thanks mainly to the sludgy 1st period.
Neither the power play or the penalty kill factored into the scoring with the PP 0-3 and the PK a perfect 4-4.
Top 6 forwards at 5v5 were Mack, Mikko, Kerfoot, Brassard, Soderberg and Jost. In all situations it was Mack (22:02), Mikko, Compher, Soderberg, Brassard and Kerf (16:20). Gabe Bourque was low man at 5v5 with 7:47 but ended up over 12 minutes due to PK time. Sven was the only player under 10 minutes overall at 9:42 but assisted on 2 goals so good for him. Remember only 11 forwards dressed here.
The Defensive regime went Girard, Barrie, Cole, Z, EJ, Nemeth, Graves. Overall it was Barrie (19), Cole (18+), EJ (18), Sam (16+), Nemeth (16), Z (15+) and Graves (11+). Graves played mostly PK in the first 2 periods then got regular deployment in the 3rd. EJ, Sam and Big Z got light use in the 3rd with only 5 shifts each.
– The Avs seem to be gradually shifting the workload towards Philip Grubauer. Since the deadline he’s only started 4 out of the 10 games but he did get 3 of the last 4. They’ve only played one division game in that stretch, against Dallas which Varly started, and only 3 against playoff teams, which Varly started 2 out of 3, so it’s not like they’re giving Grubi the toughies. Yet. It’s going to be interesting to see who the staff pick this week with 4 straight division games.
Both guys have lost to Anaheim, Grubi thanks to no goal support and Varly thanks to 4 hideous defensive breakdowns in front of him. In the other games, Grubauer had shutouts vs the hapless Sabres and Devils and lost to Carolina 3-0. Varly beat Vancouver in a shootout then detroit in regulation, lost to the Sharks and Stars and got a regulation tie vs Florida. The numbers:
Grubi – 4 goals against on 98 shots, 95.9%
Varly – 20 goals against on 198 shots, 89.9%
The competition level definitely has some real effects. Varly has been facing 30% more shots per hour and over 50% more high-danger shots per hour than Grubi has lately. That said, Grubi seems to be handling what opponents throw at him better with a goals saved above average per hour of 0.95 compared to Varly’s -0.64. The Avs may as well find out whether Grubauer can be a starter or not, 4 games against teams adjacent to them in the standings late in the season is a fine test. He should get 3 of those if they really want to know.
Burgundy Narrative Metric
– “Best guys being your best guys” gets a (+) sure
– Quality vs Quantity gets a (-) not much quality, not much needed either
– Power Play Watchability gets a (-) ineffective but didn’t matter
– The Dreaded Turtle gets a (+) small one at the end like you’d expect
– Starting Goalie Battle% gets a (+) Grubi with his 3rd shutout in last 5 starts
– Referee Oppression Index gets a (+) Probably could have managed this a little better but kept the game moving along.
The Avs are back out on the road this week in what should have been a couple of highly meaningful matchups in Minnesota and Dallas.
Thanks as always to the NHL and Natural Stat Trick for numbers and visuals