If the Avs need to bottom out before rising once again then this was the nadir we’re looking for. Arizona dictated pace in the 1st period and shut down anything remotely dangerous for most of the game and that’s all she wrote. Losing 3-zip is always going to look bad but the way this game played out was concerning regardless of how the scoreboard ended up.
No real options for lineup changes on the back-to-back, even though there’s one open roster spot and Colin Wilson could be put on IR to create another. We did get some line changes for a bit but they didn’t work. The lines below lasted through the 1st period and that’s about it.
Jost – Mack – Compher
Burky – Kadri – Donskoi
Nieto – PEB – Calvert
Megna – Kamenev – Nuke
Sam – EJ
Cole – Makar
Big Z – Gravy
Scratch: Barbs, Wilson (LBI)
Injured: Mikko (LBI), Landy (LBI)
Today’s chart is pretty self-explanatory. After some back and forth and a couple penalties the Coyotes took over the 1st period while the Avs were busy turning the puck over every 5 seconds. Some, including Coach Bednar, look at the next 30 minutes and see a silver lining. The Avs battled back and started shooting and… No. Arizona sat back with what is basically an unassailable lead given how they clog the middle. True, there was more space and the Avs used some of it but there was little in the danger department. Don’t get me wrong, the Yotes won’t be happy with the 33-10 shot run the Avs went on from early in the 2nd to midway through the 3rd but the results speak for themselves.
Colorado won the shot battle at 5v5 +50/-41 even after getting smoked in the 1st. SOGs in all situations ended up much closer at 33-28. The telling marque is expected goals 5v5 where the Avs had a slim margin of +1.67/-1.51 (52.5%). To demonstrate, here is the Avs heat map of unblocked shots from last night:
As you can see there were a ton of shots from high in the zone and the staff seemed to be trying to do this by putting the center/F3 high in the zone much of the time and defensemen accounted for 40% of shot attempts. Not a fan.
The power play started out horrible but got a little better as the game progressed. Not better enough. The PK struggled going 1 for 2 technically but the 3rd Arizona goal was 2 seconds after a penalty expired so effectively it was 0/2 on the evening.
Top 6 forwards at 5v5 were Mack, Donskoi then a big gap down to Nieto, Compher, Kadri and Jost. In all situations it was Mack (22:14), Donskoi, Compher, Kadri, Burakovsky and Nieto (16:12). Nichushkin was low man 5v5 at 5:45 and Megna low overall at just over 7 minutes.
The defensive regime went Sam, Z, EJ, Makar, Cole then a big gap down to Graves. Overall it was Sam (23+), Big Z (21), EJ (19+), Makar (19), Cole, (16+) and Graves (13). Sam returned to top PP defensemen after Makar took over for a little while. Not sure what’s going on there, it’s sort of a platoon now.
– I doubt Mack’s 13-game point streak to open the season was affecting his play but it’s over now. After his explosion the other night vs the Stars he was fairly quiet. The troubling thing is only 0.09 xG on 8 shot attempts last night, 7 of those were high above the circles. That’s not his game. If he’s not playing close to the net then he needs to be.
– With a day off today and a practice in Phoenix tomorrow the Avs coaching staff have some thinking to do. With Mikko and Gabe out they’ve reverted to a more defensively focused style that’s pretty much killed their own offense. This is something we’ve seen from day 1 with Coach Bednar. His desired style of play suppresses offense, both the opponent’s and his own. There are benefits to that at times but now is not one of them. The one thing he still has with 2/3rds of the top line out is speed and they desperately need to use that to their advantage. They are not going to grind out goals consistently and the defense isn’t set up to play collapse-o-rama. They have to jack up the tempo rather than slowing it down, something I hope becomes obvious when they break down the film of this one.
Burgundy Narrative Metric
– “Best guys being your best guys” gets a (-) n-o no
– Quality vs Quantity gets a (-) mucho trabajo, poquito dinero
– Power Play Watchability gets a (-) please fix this
– The Dreaded Turtle gets a (+) no sir
– Starting Goalie Battle% gets a (+) Wouldn’t say Frank gave the team an excellent chance to win but he was adequate.
– Referee Oppression Index gets a (+) I’d prefer fewer power plays for the Avs but I guess they have to call those to keep their jobs.
Some free time in the desert then on to Dallas.
Thanks as always to the NHL and Natural Stat Trick for numbers and visuals