Breaking Down: Avs/Sharks, Divisional Finals, Game #6

San Jose coach Pete DeBoer remarked after game 5 that the team that played better had won each game to that point. That might not have been the case Monday night, it was an incredibly even game with moves and countermoves determining momentum on practically a minute by minute basis. Mirroring the series as a whole, one team went ahead and the other responded. After a great chance for the Sharks at one end, rookie Cale Makar sailed a puck towards the net that Captain Gabe chopped home somehow and forced a game 7 coming up Wednesday night.

Projectile Lineup

Patrik Nemeth returned to the lineup for the first time since the Calgary series. Matt Calvert’s UBI was still bad enough to make him unavailable. Sven Andrighetto had the night off to accommodate the 11F/7D setup.

Scratch: Andrighetto, Calvert (UBI), Graves, Barberio, Kamenev, Greer, Toninato, O’Connor, Lindholm, Francouz
Injured: none

Team Stats

For most of the series and especially since about the 3rd period of game two, the Sharks have controlled shot volume while the Avs have dominated shot quality. Not this time. Other than shots on goal, which were even at 5v5 and an advantage for the Avs overall thanks to PP time, and plain old goals, San Jose had the upper hand in both quality and quantity. Most of that began after Tyson Jost scored the opening goal four minutes into the 2nd period and continued right up to Gabe’s game-winner. The Sharks had nothing to lose by pressing hard, at worst they go back home for a game 7 and at best they could have a little rest before the Conference Finals. They matched each of the first 3 Colorado goals but only one team gets to score in OT and that was their downfall.

Tale of the tape at 5v5 was a +50/-61 and shots in all situations favored the Avs 26-22. It’s getting hard to remember the Calgary series where the Avs alone put up shot totals that parallel what both teams did here. Quality was the real head-scratcher stat of the night with San Jose yarding the Avs in expected goals 3.13 to 1.94. Shot pace at 5v5 was similar to what we’ve seen all series at a steady 119 per hour.

Neither team scored on the power play, the Avs had 3 chances and the Sharks only one that lasted 34 seconds. The Avs developed one decent chance in their 4:34, I’m not sure why they even bother practicing the PP anymore. They would be more effective if the staff let them play pond hockey rather than bogging them down with their horrible system.

TOI

Top 6 forwards were Mack, Landy, Mikko (all played more than any of the defensemen) then a huge gap down to Carl, Willie and Nieto. Overall it was Mack (26:32, tops on team by 4 minutes), Mikko, Landy then a 6 minute gap to Wilson, Soderberg and Jost (15:44). Bourque was low man at less than 8 minutes, impressive in an 11F situation.

The defensive regime went Barrie, Big Z, EJ, Makar, Cole, Sam then a big gap down to Nemeth. In all situations it was Barrie (22+), Z (19), EJ (18+), Makar (18), Girard (17), Cole (16+), and Nemeth (10). It’s pretty ironic that Nemeth was inserted into the lineup after EJ/Cole played 8 minutes each on PK last game and they end up having a grand total of 34 seconds of penalty time to kill. This would have worked out better if Tim Peel was reffing this game too I guess.

Individual

– This is going to sound like I’m down on Mikko and I’m really not. After he got trucked by Brent Burns and seemingly re-aggravated the core injury that took him out for the stretch run he looked really bad. I applaud the effort and the compete level and all that but he honestly did more harm than good out there. There’s a fair chance the Avs don’t even need OT if the staff go a little conservative with his minutes in the 2nd half of the game. The top line was bad and on-ice for 3 out of 3 San Jose goals. If you put Mikko and Landy together you might get three-quarters of a healthy player. That can be both good and bad because even greatly diminished they’re still great players. They’re gonna need a boatload of magic injury spray on Wednesday.

– It took a while but Tyson Jost finally got another shot and is making the most of it. I can totally understand the staff being careful with heaping more responsibility on him because they’ve been doing that for two years and every time it’s been disappointing. Is he ready now? We all hope so and if this is what he really is then it solves a bunch of problems going forward. Really glad for him because he’s a good guy and has worked incredibly hard to earn back some trust.

– JT Compher sure reminded me of Chris Drury last night. Unbelievable game for our favorite ginger devil and not just because of the two goals and an assist.

– Derick Brassard finally showed up 10 weeks after the Avs traded for him at the deadline. There’s going to be a bunch of confirmation bias about his experience and whatnot propelling him when the Avs were in the toughest of situations but it’s all hogwash. He’s just a guy that had a good game, most likely because light use has left him in better condition physically than many others in the lineup, take it for what it is and be glad. At this time of year it’s nice to have a few guys that aren’t playing with two broken feet and a dislocated shoulder.

– After 5 games the Sharks were rolling with goals per expected goals ratio of about 1.09:1 or close to their season average. The Avs were similar to the Sharks in the regular season but in this series were only scoring 0.68 G/xG. Some of that is Martin Jones being much better than he’s been over the past season plus some puck luck and shot selection. Last night the tables were turned. The Avs were very weak in developing quality with an xGF of only 1.94 but they made a lot out of it by scoring 4 goals for a G/xG of 2.06 or 3 times their average in the series. Conversely, San Jose exploded with quality developing 3.13 xG and only netting 3 of course. That gave them a G/xG of 0.95, which is pretty sweet. I’d really love for this to be more than a one-game aberration and I think the Avs really need it to be if they are to advance from game 7.

Burgundy Narrative Metric

– “Best guys being your best guys” gets a (+) sort of
Quality vs Quantity gets a (-) not much of either
– Power Play Watchability gets a (-) Hey! Nothing changed. Again
The Dreaded Turtle gets a (-) shot board doesn’t lie but makes it look worse than it was
Starting Goalie Battle% gets a (+) again, not all on him but an .864 game is what it is
Referee Oppression Index gets a (+) After the Peel fiasco this was a breath of fresh air with both sides confident they knew what a penalty actually was.

Total: +2¾

Next up

Death or glory, Game 7 in San Jose on Wednesday.

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

earl06

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

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