Breaking Down: Avs/Sharks, Divisional Finals, Game #2

The Avs don’t win in San Jose often, but when they do….

Game 2 was a mirror image of the opener in that one team had the upper hand in the first half and then momentum switched to the other for the last half. This time the Avs wound up on the good side and we return to Denver now with home ice in a 5-game battle.

Projectile Lineup

No lineup changes. There were a couple line/pair adjustments like Cole/EJ as a set duo and the 3HM was prevalent.

Scratch: Sven, Nemeth, Graves, Barberio, Cannata
Injured: Kamenev (shoulder)

Team Stats

San Jose came out hot and were up 1-0 before the Avs got a hold of the game. They battled back to even then the Sharks went on another run. Around halfway through the game something changed, just like in game one. This time the roles were reversed and the Avs took over. First there was a 10-1 run that got the tying goal then some back and forth where Colorado took the lead. From there it was a lot of back and forth for the rest of the game but Colorado developing more dangerous chances and building a 3-1 lead. A clenchy final few minutes got an ENG for Mack and a couple stat-padders for the Sharks but the good guys prevailed.

Tale of the tape was a +54/-57 and shots in all situations favored the Sharks 34-32. Scoring chances heavily favored the Avs +31/-20, high danger +15/-4 and expected goals were +2.61/-1.58. Game pace at 5v5 was a brisk 132 per hour.

Special teams weren’t a factor with the Avs going 0-2 on the PP and the Sharks going 1-3 with a goal in the final 11 seconds.


Top 6 forwards at 5v5 were Mack, Mikko, Landy then a gap down to Carl, Kerf and Wilson. In all situations it was Mack (23:15, led the team), Mikko, Landy then a huge gap to Wilson, Carl and Compher (14:36). Derick Brassard was low man at 7:44 and no special teams time, Gabe Bourque was the 12th forward at 5v5 with 6:46.

The defensive regime went Cole, Barrie, Big Z then a gap down to EJ, Sam and Makar. Overall it was Cole (23+), Barrie (23), Z (20), EJ (19+), Sam (15+) and Makar (15). The pairs were a little mixed at first but settled into Z/TB4 as the top pair, Cole/EJ as the shutdown pair and new “turn & burn” pair of Girard/Makar as the 3rd. That 3rd pair was a nice glimpse of the future, and it was glorious at times. Like this :


– As mentioned above, even though shot volume was similar for both teams the Avs yarded the Sharks in quality shots. See for yourself:

In the Calgary series, both teams were a little light on quality and the Avs were miles ahead in quantity. Here we have something totally different, both teams have similar quantity through 2 games but the Avs have a lot more quality. We can look at 5v5 save percentage as a discriminator, San Jose is at 11.5% and Colorado only 7.7%, but I like goals per expected goal (G/xG) even better. Here we have the Sharks at 1.51 and the Avs at 0.79 for the series. The San Jose staff should find this somewhat troubling since neither are all that sustainable. Both teams were around 1.1 G/xG in the regular season and as the series progresses the chances are both numbers gravitate towards that, which would be strongly in the Avs favor. Bottom line so far, the Avs are underproductive in results vs process and San Jose has been the opposite.

– Tyson Barrie had a whale of a game and scored his first playoff goal if you can believe it. He’s at 8 points in 7 games so far this playoff season which is better than expected but not surprising. What is surprising is how he and Zadorov have handled being the top pair again. I think they did an admirable job last year vs Nashville but ultimately were a little too inexperienced to handle the role. Right now that experience seems to be paying off in this year’s playoff run.

– A couple of roleplayers made some key plays last night, Matts Calvert & Nieto. That line along with JT Compher got absolutely buried in game one and they came back strong as the Avs top shot share trio at 72% in nearly 9 minutes together. Calvert’s strong play which Nieto finished off for the 3rd goal was important insurance at the time but Calvert’s play at the Avs blueline, getting destroyed by Brent Burns just after he passed to Mack for the breakaway game-winner, was hero level. Yes Mr MSHM narrative-driver, the Avs do have depth.

– Fun fact: Philipp Grubauer got his 2nd NHL assist (and 1st in the playoffs) last night on Mack’s GWG so he was getting it done at both ends of the ice.

– I need to vent a little about NBC’s announcing trio. Pierre is what he is, usually annoying and definitely so here. Brendan Burke is bland but acceptable as a PxP guy, we were supposed to get Chris Cuthbert and I’m wondering what happened there. Joe Micheletti is atrocious, as anyone associated with the Rangers would be. All 3 guys have a narrative about the Sharks that makes it very difficult to watch the game and not be affected by the bias. We get it, they’re old and big and famous and everything else. Just call the game as you see it so people that aren’t San Jose fans have a chance to enjoy the telecast.

Burgundy Narrative Metric

– “Best guys being your best guys” gets a (+) damned if it didn’t work again
Quality vs Quantity gets a (+) plenty of both
– Power Play Watchability gets a (+) I didn’t hate it I guess
The Dreaded Turtle gets a (+) That might be what a 2nd round turtle looks like, not sure
Starting Goalie Battle% gets a (+) better game for Grubi than the opener
Referee Oppression Index gets a (+) I love that the Sharks and their fans are all snapper about icing being waved off on the Avs 2nd goal. Coach Bednar had a good take about the Compher/Karlsson call in game 1 being very similar and this evened it out. Glad they’re focusing on that instead of the Avs play which is what really won the game.

Total: +3¾

Next up

A 2nd round game at the Pepsi Center on Tuesday night, it’s been a while since the last one….

Thanks as always to the NHL and Natural Stat Trick for numbers and visuals


Scoring LW, punchy climber for the Ardennes classics, spirit guide

%d bloggers like this: