Avs Fall to the Flyers Despite Some Late Game Heroics

I CAN PULL ALL THE GOALIES? - Doug Pensinger

The Avalanche could not win their penultimate game before the Olympic break.

Good evening ladies and gentlemen, what do you desire? No seriously, I am taking a poll. Okay, I’m not serious, let’s get down to business.

If the Avs want to be a playoff team they’ll need to make a trade or two to put them over the edge. They could use a legitimate, experienced, cornerstone defenseman. I think they should trade whatever it takes to get him. So I propose a trade of a combination of Stastny, McGinn, or Parenteau and in fact, I suggest trading all three of them in a pacakge, for that one of kind defenseman that I think will make the difference: Chris Pronger. He’s 6’6, 220 pounds, Norris-winner, two time Olympic defenseman, and has scored 698 points in 1167 games. He’s having a bit of an off year this year, but I think if the Avs make this season-changing trade, they can make a serious run. Wait, fuck. I was supposed to recap the Flyers game, not spew meaningless and illogical drivel for the public to read because somehow I bribed Yahoo! to print my thoughts.

Wow. Sorry. Recap time. Avalanche vs. Flyer. Let’s go.

DRINKING UPDATE: I’m a little tired tonight so I think I’ll take the night off and do this one entirely sober.

Period 1: The puck was about to drop on this fantastic battle between the Flyers and the Avalanche and FUCK THAT:

DRINKING UPDATE 2: I still can’t believe that Stastny, McGinn and Parenteau for Jagr nonsense. I am getting into my Glenfarclas 12. Glenfarclas always surprises me in flavor. I think it should be sweet and it’s not.

Period 1 REDUX: Varly is starting and man, Varlamov would look SO MUCH better if he was Ondrej Pavelic. About a minute in the Stastny line, now with more MacKinnon, had a good shift and Landy gets his stick all chopp-ed.

The Avs Power Play had trouble getting into the zone and trouble really get set up. The Flyers were stacking the blue line extremely well. It made it difficult to skate with speed and since the Avs are not a dumping team, they will have to adjust later in the game. Right toward the end of the PP the Avs had a great chance off a long tip from McGinn but Mason was there to stop it.

TANGENT 1: Craig Berube looks like Barry Trotz’s younger thinner brother.

After about 5 minutes in, it is clear the Avs have their legs. Especially Barrie; he is playing the way he should – essentially a forward. He was aggressive and was leading rushes. No goalzes though. Not good. As I was typing this MacKinnon had an incredible shot that was kind of a breakaway? The puck bounced right to him off the glass in front of Mason. Mason made a great save though. Still 0-0.

TANGENT 2: Sriracha hot sauce from Trader Joes is nothing like real Sriracha. Why even try?

The middle 10 minutes was very smooth. A lot of skating and the Avs were getting great pressure. With 13 left Landeskog took a penalty but the Avs did a great job of it. With 7 minutes left, Hartnell took a dirty penalty. A kneeing call on MacKinnon that could have been terrible. MacKinnon was okay, but it was extremely scary for the Avs. The Avs had a few GREAT chances, one by McGinn especially. The Avs often use that neutral zone drop pass against Eastern teams. It’s odd to me but I only really see it against the East. I think, I repeat I think, it’s because Eastern teams pressure less on the PK and in order to get around the blue line clog, Roy has his team change up the angle with the drop pass.

Anyhoo, a holding penalty on PA ended the Power Play. The 4 on 4 was boring as the Avs were just wasting time until their PK started. There was weird shot from the Flyers on the goal line that deflected off the Avs defenseman and almost went in but Vezinarlamov was there to stop it.

O’Reilly had a great steal with 4 minutes left and gave Duchene a shitty feed (fucking slap fight piece of vengeful shit) but Duchene somehow got a shot off that almost trickled in.

Ugh. Bordy. Not good. With about 2 minutes left Bordy took and ugly penalty. It’s a tough call for Bordy, he did the right thing by finishing his check but Schenn’s back was to Bordy. It’s hard for Bordy because Schenn put himself in an awful spot almost to prevent a hit however Schenn wasn’t looking at all and that makes it dirty. Regardless, Bordy needs to hold up there and not do that. A 5 minute major and game misconduct. Not to be a homer but I don’t think it was that dirty, I think it LOOKS dirty from the camera angle but Schenn is pretty far away. Doesn’t matter, it’s not my call, the Avs need to keep the Flyers to no more than 1 goal on the power play.

The Flyers had chances but the Avs were able to prevent anything major. The period ends 0-0, but still there is 3 minutes left on the Power Play.

SYSTEMS UPDATE: It’s hard to judge the Avs systems this period with so many penalties. The Avs had their legs for sure but really never could settle into their plan. The Flyers however use a very effective Dump and Chase. They seem to have a good mix of how aggressive to chase it and when to spin that into a low cycle and when to turn that into flowing possession and utilize their defense. I think if they embrace that style they can do well.

Period 2:

The Power Play re-begins for the Flyers. Varly made a great save and Simmons took a penalty for hooking. That was lucky and killed 2 minutes of the Power Play, more importantly. I also like the ref laughing at whatever Simmons was saying in his defense. This was extremely helpful for the Avs.

On the 4 on 4 MacKinnon and PA had some great movement and a feed to Johnson was stopped by a great, great save by Mason. Just wow. He robbed Johnson. 4 on 4 over, Power Play ends with nothing for the Flyers. Good job at that point for the Avs.

So, Roy made a line change midway through the 1st and carried it over. Parenteau went up to Duchene’s line and McGinn dropped down.

The Avs got called on ANOTHER penalty for hooking by Mitchell. This was not good. I think a lot of fans could sense that the Flyers were due on the their PP. And we were not wrong.

Streit had a great shot from the point that seemed to deflect. Varly was moving to his left and the puck went right. Tough for Varly but the Avs cannot take penalties. Like ever. No I mean, seriously, stop it guys. 1-0 Flyers.

With under 10 left, Duchene’s line had some good pressure and led to a Landeksog shot from a Duchene feed that Mason flashed some of that ole leather they talk about so much ‘round these parts. No goal though. GRRRRRRRRRRRRRR.

TANGENT 3: Holden wants a fight. You can see it. He’s so baby faced though, can they fight with rattles?

Varly has had to make some good saves as the period went on, not jaw dropping but good. This is the type of game the Avs need to be able to win. Even with scoring being absent, Varly is doing his job. Also of note, MacKinnon is trying to do a little too much in this humble author’s opinion. Things are so easy for him he is trying to dance around player everywhere. Listen, bro, do that in the offensive zone, not in front of Varly. Okayz? Okay.

With under 2 minutes left, the Avs drew a penalty off a dirty-ish hit by the Philly defenseman, Adam Hall. Mitchell did not look good. The Avs announcers thought it was similar to Bordy’s. It looked close but it was very different. Still a good chance for the Avs to tie it up.

They didn’t. The Avs had some good chances but couldn’t put anything in. Not a bad period for the Avs, but this is a huge 3rd. They need to get back n this.

SYSTEMS UPDATE: This is the first game I have seen where the Avs had their speed and had their game, but another system gave them issues. The Flyers play a difficult neutral zone clog. It’s not designed to slow the other team down, but it is entirely designed to cause turnovers. The Avs are not a dumping team so it is hard to deal with it. Roy will need to adjust. The Flyers however are still doing their effective Dump and Chase. It’s working pretty well. They also have a varying forecheck where sometimes they shoot 2 players on the puck and sometimes 1 hangs back. It’s hard, I think, to maintain but when it works, it looks very good.

Period 3:

Landy tried to kill Grossman. No one died. I anticipate the Avs starting to use a more aggressive forecheck.

Um what? What the fuck? Why did the whistle just blow? Sorry that was a real time comment. I don’t get it. Like at all. Oh okay tv we’re moving on I guess.

After that Duchene had a great shift. He walked around half the Flyers but his final shot went high. Oh well, keep shooting Duchene you will score.

On the next shift Mitchell just pissed me off. McGinn did a great job to get the puck on the forecheck but he needed to get fancy, try to nutmeg a guy, and lost the puck. He’s a great 4th line maybe 3rd line center, but his need to be too fancy can be a negative.

Stastny got double shifted with the 4ht line of McLeod and Cliché and even with those wingers Stastny can do all kinds of cool shit. Cliché had a great chance but Mason got over to save it.

With under 8 minutes left, Holden made a huge mistake. The Flyer dumped and went to chase (surprise surprise) and Holden held up to maintain control, but the Flyers forecheck was too strong and the Flyers took the puck, passed out in front beat Varly. 2-0 Flyers. Holden’s play is common against mediocre or even good Dump and Chase teams. Against a great Dump and Chase? No, not so much. That’s a mistake a veteran does not make, they know better.

On the next shift, MacKinnon had a wide open net but the puck bounced over his stick. Tough break. And on the very next shift Stastny had a wide open net the puck fly high.

With under 10 minutes the Flyers are pushing a lot more than I expected. Credit to them, they don’t sit back. MacKinnon had a break with a great pass to Johnson but the Flyers backchecking was superb and smothered EJ’s stick.

Stastny’s line with a little bit of Talbot thrown in had another great shift but again Mason was there, again. GRRRRRRRRRR

With 5 minutes left the now MacKinnon/Mitchell line? had a good shift. But again, Mason was there. Well then Roy did something crazy.

Roy pulled his goalie with 4 minutes left. He’s honestly just trolling the world at this point. The Avs could not score and Varly went back in. with 3:32 left.

And there we go. Roy pulled Varly with 3 minutes left and MacKinnon scored from a VERY sharp angle with 2:50 left. I mean, really Roy? Stop it. STOP FUCKING TROLLING THE WORLD. AND ME. STOP TROLLING SCOTT. I AM TRYING TO FUCKING RECAP THIS SHIT. 2-1 Flyers.

Seriously though, the dude gets hockey. He does things that may be abnormal because he’s going on pure hockey coaching instinct. Good for him. It might burn the Avs once or twice, but he shows his team, as a coach, he only wants to win. Do you see Dallas Eakins do this stuff? No. Do you see any new coach do this? No. I still say this, right now, and you can all quote me. Roy is, and will be, a Hall of Fame coach. He thinks above and beyond everyone else. He is absolutely fantastic. He is just amazing. Hold on, I’ll be in my bunk.

Well with 2:20 left, Roy pulled Varly again and Landy gave a gorgeous pass to PA across the crease, but Mason got over. Just wow Mason. The Avs had a great chance after that but Mason stopped it, again. After that the Avs got really really unlucky when the puck hit the netting. Mason is also very very hurt. It’s stupid for him to play if he’s hurt. He could ruin the Flyers playoffs chances by injuring a groin here. Not my call though. There was 1:27 left.

The Avs had a great shift but couldn’t score.

With 34 second left the Flyers iced it and the Avs had their chance to score. Well it didn’t work. The Flyers managed to ice the puck but Simmons caught up and was able to negate the icing, pass to Giroux and he scored. 3-1 Flyers.

Game over.

Summary: In general, there will be a sense of frustration, but there shouldn’t be. The Avs did not play their best game. They need this Olympic break I think. However, they played pretty well. The Flyers are hot right now and they played really well, a credit to them. Their system was tough for the Avs because it negated the Avs’ speed and tonight the Avs could not get around it. Tough loss but no reason to declare the sky is falling. The Avs are in the best position anyone could hope fore heading into break and if they manage to beat the Islanders Saturday night, they will have gone 2 and 2 on the road trip. Please no negativity tomorrow okay? It’s not worth it. This team is good.

Three Avalanche Whores:

3: Duchene: Again created space and time and was a threat all night. He needs this break to relax, play Olympic hockey, score goals and come dominate the last 24 games.

2: Varly: Great when he needed to be and kept the Avs in it.

1: MacKinnon: Spectacular again. He’s getting almost too confident but he just does not stop. He was the most dominant forward I thought and was rewarded with a goal.

As an aside: Mason was great. The Flyers do not collapse down low as much as I thought they would tonight and Mason had to be huge. The Avs could have tied this game many, many times but Mason was there. Hopefully he’s okay because when he’s on, he’s on.

The final game before the Olympic break is against the Islanders Saturday. Then we get to cheer on the USA (FYI FUCK ALL YOU NON-AMERICANS FOR THE NEXT TWO WEEKS) as Stastny takes them to Gold, Duchene scores a billion goals, Varly gets a shutout every game except the two 1-0 losses against the US, and Landeskog dominates. Okay? Ok.

Good game Flyers, you played really well. Not please make sure you make the Playoffs and the red wings don’t okay? Okay because fuck the red wings.

Also, sorry MMH faithful. I lost my first game tonight. I am now 5-1-0. I will get better after the break. I need the rest too. I did not get invited to the USA Blogging Recap Team but this is my first year in the league so, I hope, like MacKinnon in 2018, I will be a lock.

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