The Avs busted out a sloppy win over their new rivals from Calgary in a rematch of last Spring’s Round One clash. After a dominant first period, the Avs had to withstand a big push from the Flames in the second and score effect theatre in the third to cap the win. Plenty to be happy about and plenty of room for improvement.
Ian Cole is out after off-season hip surgery for another month or two. Colin Wilson came back from shoulder/hip issues in pre-season but isn’t really ready for NHL speed. Not officially injured but not healthy enough yet.
Landy – Mack – Mikko
Jost – Kadri – Burakovsky
Nieto – Compher – Donskoi
Calvert – Bellemare – Nichushkin
Sam – EJ
Big Z – Makar
Graves – Timmins
Scratch: Kamenev, Barberio, Wilson
The first 40 minutes were so chopped with special teams play we never had a chance to see what the guys look like 5v5. There was a nice run at the end of P1 and the Flames output is largely from one really bad shift in the 2nd and a score effect barrage in the 3rd. In a perfect world Colorado would have stood up better in P2 but throw that in the needs work bin along with special teams play.
Calgary out-attempted the Avs to the tune of +40/-47 which sounds worse than it is. They ended up edging the Flames 1.70 to 1.64 in expected goals so this was fairly low-quality for both sides. In all situations shots on goal favored the Avs 32-30. Game pace at 5v5 was ok at 124 per hour but that’s a little slow for the way these two teams operate.
Special teams fared poorly. Yes the PP scored twice but got progressively worse at applying real pressure over the evening. The two goals came on just 1.11 xGF so this was shooting percentage driven. The PK was fine tactically for the most part but two preventable mistakes ended up in the back of the net. The PK can be fixed but the power play is another story.
Top 6 forwards at 5v5 were Landy, Mack, Burakovsky, Mikko, Jost and Kadri. In all situations it was Landy (20:16), Mack, Mikko, Kadri, Compher and Burky. Nichushkin was low man 5v5 at 7:40 and Jost brought up the rear overall at 11:30, he was also the only F with no special teams minutes. Hmmm.
The defensive regime went EJ, Sam, Makar, Big Z then a huge gap down to Graves and Timmins. In all situations it was EJ (23), Makar (22+), Sam (21+), Z (19+ but he had 9 PIMs), Graves (14) and Timmy at 9:59 which was the low mark for the team.
– It appears that Mikko missed nothing by skipping training camp because he was awesome last night, two goals including the eventual game-winner. Mack and Landy chipped in with an assist each and the 3HM is on pace for 328 points this year. POW!
– Joonas Donskoi netted 2 as well, or maybe 3 if you consider the Flames first goal. I liked his game a lot and JB gave him a mention in the post-game presser. I have a feeling he’s been placed with Compher and Nieto to add some skill and experience but it’s going to be tough to keep him away from the Kadri line for long.
– Sam Girard was probably the Avs best defenseman overall and set up the first goal of the season with a nice shot from the point. Despite being paired with Cale Makar during pre-season he was back with EJ and taking the tough tasks. Interesting to note that Girard/Makar together got 2:24 and were +0/-7 CF and +0/-0.34 xGF. Sam and Timmy had a couple decent shifts together, let’s watch for more of that.
– The staff still don’t seem to know what to do with Tyson Jost. He was the only forward without any special teams time, which is concerning. He played a lot 5v5 however and was the Corsi star of the team at +12/-7. I like his role on the Kadri line but a top 6 forward that doesn’t get PP minutes is weird.
Burgundy Narrative Metric
– “Best guys being your best guys” gets a (+) yessir, welcome back Mikko
– Quality vs Quantity gets a (+) Quantity ok, quality gets a thumbs down
– Power Play Watchability gets a (+) this is a pretty weak plus but I’m a hard grader
– The Dreaded Turtle gets a (-) hello darkness my old friend
– Starting Goalie Battle% gets a (+) Grubi looked decent for his first real game in 5 months. He was at the mercy of his defense for a couple for sure.
– Referee Oppression Index gets a (+) I thought the game was managed ok given the amount of gritty putzes on the Flames. The Zadorov/Lucic deal was idiotic. Wasn’t a boarding penalty until Looch tried to fight him and Z wanted no part of that idiot to boot. These post facto calls when someone goes apeshit after a clean hit are for the birds.
Early evening game vs the stupid Minnesota Wild on Saturday
Thanks as always to the NHL and Natural Stat Trick for numbers and visuals