The Avs staved off execution for another night with a 3-1 win against a fairly disinterested Minnesota team. Their playoff chances increased slightly but their spot in the standings didn’t change. Still two teams to pass and 9 games to get it done.
Same lineup as against the Devils, 11F/7D you betcha. Captain Gabe started skating with the team before the trip but still isn’t on track to play again in the regular season. AJ Greer was called up from the Eagles to not play and sent back down after the game. Genius use of one of their 4 AHL callups, they now have one left.
Scratch: Agozzino, Landeskog (shoulder), Nieto (LBI), Barberio (LBI)
Injured: Kamenev (shoulder)
The book on the Wilds is that they come out hot and then gradually relax. They forgot the hot part last night as the Avs took control right away and never looked back. Tyson Barrie scored again in the first after a dominant 7-0 shot run on one shift. Mikko Rantanen continues to get tooled on by the refs perhaps because of his diving reputation. Despite taking constant abuse he was called for a fairly soft hold early in the 2nd which Minnesota converted to make it 1-1. Tyson Jost put the good guys ahead for good on a breakaway from an outstanding stretch pass by Colin Wilson. From there it was back and forth the rest of the night until Ian Cole sealed it with an ENG from his own goal line. On to the next challenge.
Tale of the tape at 5v5 was +57/-44 but shots in all situations were close at only 38-37. Both teams blocked a ton of shots with Minnesota stopping 16 at 5v5 and 18 overall. Shot pace at 5v5 was a lively 127 per hour.
The power play was unsuccessful in 3 tries and the PK stopped 2 of 3.
Top 6 forwards were Mack, Mikko, Wilson, Soderberg, Compher and Kerfoot. In all situations it was Mack (23:37), Mikko, Carl, Compher, Wilson and Brassard (16:36). Andrighetto was low man at 7:29 but Bourque took the honors at 5v5 at 6:48. Coach Bednar has some sly new strategy where he never puts the same 3 guys out twice or something like that. That ended up giving the Avs a Too Many Men penalty late in the 2nd and they were close several other times.
The defensive regime went EJ, Sam, Barrie, Big Z, Nemeth, Cole, Graves. Overall it was EJ (23+), Barrie (20), Sam (18+), Z (16), Nemeth (15+), Cole (15) and Graves (7). Shoutout to Ian Cole who got an assist and an ENG in his 2nd game without the full cage. Ryan Graves was low man on the team at 6:46.
I really question whether the front office and the coaching staff are on the same page. AJ Greer was called up, Coach Bednar did not want to use him, and then he was sent back after the game. If there were unlimited callups this wouldn’t be as much of an issue but they get 4 after the deadline and now they’ve burned through 3. Dries was sent back/called up right at the deadline but ultimately wasn’t useful and now is with the Eagles permanently. Agozzino was called up and played for 4 games but we haven’t seen him since the recent loss to Anaheim. Net effect is 3 callups used for 8 player-games total. What are we doing here?
I realize the gravity of the situation but the staff are down to using 9 forwards and 6 defensemen in full-time roles. I hope they appreciate the irony of the reasons why. They don’t have more than 15 players they trust because they spent the last 73 games not preparing anyone else to be trustworthy in situations like this. There’s no guarantee they would have made more trustworthy players by doing so but they didn’t even try. They blew a two month plus chunk of the season losing 2 out of every 3 games and didn’t manage to expand the talent pool on the NHL roster one bit. Whether they make the playoffs or not, that aspect of this season will be a big failure.
Burgundy Narrative Metric
– “Best guys being your best guys” gets a (+) good mix of everyone though
– Quality vs Quantity gets a (-) lots of perimeter shots, no quality to speak of
– Power Play Watchability gets a (-) still can’t enter the zone or shoot
– The Dreaded Turtle gets a (-) typical final 10 turtle
– Starting Goalie Battle% gets a (+) nice job again by Groob
– Referee Oppression Index gets a (+) Wasn’t a fan of this crew’s consistency and didn’t manage the 2nd half of the game well. We did confirm, however, for the 1000th time that goalie interference is random and undefined.
On to Dallas for the next biggest game of the season on Thursday
Thanks as always to the NHL and Natural Stat Trick for numbers and visuals