Game 3 Recap: Avalanche vs. Bruins
Good morning Avalanche fan base (p.s. I am assuming, now, that every single Avalanche fan reads our recaps. I think it’s a reasonable assumption).
Anyway, I’m at home fuckers! The bond markets are closed so I don’t have to work. Though, i’ve still been doing work because Asia apparently doesn’t understand Columbus Day – un-American fucks. But still, I am home on a Monday and it feels really fucking weird. I guess, if I was in my grandmother’s basement right now, I could pull off being an advanced stat person; so that’s something
DRINKING UPDATE: Tea. That’s right. Tea. I have restraint and I can fake at being an adult.
So, this game pitted the extremely good Bruins against the current worst team in the league. The Avalanche have yet to score, which is somewhat comical, but still they are the worst team. THE WORST. You can’t spell regression without the word Avalanche.
DRINKING UPDATE 2: That on my bar Ardbeg is looking at me funny.
TANGENT 1: Brad Stuart has about as much emotion in his face during interviews as a coma patient.
Duchene’s line started the game and off the breakout Tourigny almost god killed. Roy laughed…
The Avs had a good first shift off a nice pinch by Holden but on the counter attack the Bruins did a great job of spreading out the 3 on 2 across the entire width of the ice and get a good low shot of Berra. He kicked the rebound out and but Bruins put the puck wide.
With less than 18 minutes to go, Stuart made a very bad play by trying to chip the puck into the Bruins zone. The dump was blocked and sprung a 2 on 1 the other way. Berra made the first stop but a rebound kicked out. He kept his upright position and nicely stopped the rebound; well done by him.
The game was heavily back and forth (a rend for the game) for a few minutes. The Bruins’a ability to transition the puck out of their zone on the back check is remarkable. However, the Bruins were giving the Avs space in the neutral zone which allowed some better zone entry, finally.
At the 13 minute mark the Juleine was able to get a good 1st line matchup against the Avs 4th line, which was a fucking disaster. The Bruins moved it around and though none of the shots were too risky, it was still difficult to watch. The 4th line forwards got caught cheating and gave the Bruins way too much space. Thankfully the Holden-Wilson pairing was dominant; especially Wilson’s board work.
As the Avs were able to get a good change and Duchene’s line came out. The Bruins took a goalie interference penalty and the Avs were back on the power play.
TANGENT 2: WHAT IN THE MOTHER OF FUCK WAS THE COOPER MOUNTAIN COMMERCIAL??? God, all you people in Colorado must be high all the time.
PP1: The Duchene unit came out and moved the puck around well on the outside, but couldn’t generate a shot. Surprise, surprise. And then the Avs started making me swear; they were getting way too fancy again. And of course then the Avs get some good movement and Svedberg robs Landeskog from the slot; power play over.
And then Avs were going on the penalty kill after Cody took a stupid penalty.
PK1: Stuart actually made a good play and broke up the pass and made a second one later in the PK. Very late in the PK Lucic had a nice shot from the side slot towards a seemingly wide open net but Berra moved over quickly to get it.
The Avs then sprung a 3 on 1 with Barrie, Duchene, and Everberg but the puck just rolled on Barrie as he was trying to cross. Fuck (sorry, editor’s comment). Then Everberg stole the puck in the slot from Seidenberg but Svedberg stood tall and stopped it.
TANGENT 3: Grand Canyon University. Their mascot is the Crevices right? If it’s not, it should be.
At 4:30, McGinn dumped the puck and Duchene chased it down then shocked Chara by moving him off the puck. Impressive strength, but nothing came of it.
MacKinnon line came out and Briere and Tanguay fought really hard on the boards for a good 30-seconds. The Avs won the battle and MacKinnon was able to get a flubbed shot that was tipped out of play. Nice, strong shift though by two players who are apparently over the hill and weak.
The Bruins then carried the puck into the Avs zone and after a flurry by the Bruins where Stuart broke his stick; the Avs were called for Too Many Men on the Ice.
PK2: Well that was quick. Off the face off, Chara tied up Talbot and got called for interference. This should be entertaining. A little diving by Talbot, but that’s ok!
4 on 4: Roy put out MacKinnon and Tanguay vs. Eriksson and Bergeron. The Avs got pinned a bit and after a miscue between Barrie and MacKinnon, Eriksson found himself open in front but Johnson came back just in time to tied up his stick and save a very good scoring chance or maybe even a goal. Period over.
Period Summary: The first few minutes were rougher because the two teams were flying and the Bruins got the better of the chances. However, the remaining 15 minutes were much more even and the shots ended up even at 10 to 10, though I think the Bruins had more shots blocked. The Avs had some great chances but Svedberg came up huge.
Systems Update: Following the first few minutes, the Avs were able to find speed in the zone and Duchene was doing it best. The Avs found a good way of moving the puck and I think the Avs defensive system, as a whole, was stellar – just stellar. The forwards were coming back to break up chances which is important when the Avs offensive system encourages defensemen pinching.
The Avs were also making quick choices by moving the puck into open spaces instead of turning it over. For example, when Holden was pressured in his own slot on the forecheck, he would get it out and dump it into the neutral zone off the boards. This is very smart play and something I think Roy has been encouraging. Instead of turning it over in a dangerous area, you are creating a different, more even battle in the neutral zone.
The 4 on 4 on was fairly meaningless but as the Avs penalty expired and they got a 2 second power play. Everberg was fed in the slot but Svedberg stopped it again.
At the 18-minute mark, MacKinnon turned on his speed and found away through the neutral but Svedberg stopped a tough wide-angle shot.
At the 16-minute mark, something unexpected happened. To quote Randy in today’s Game Day Thread, “What’s a goal?” Well Randy, a goal is when the puck goes in the net and the Avs finally did just that. After a good forecheck by the Duchene and Iginla and after a Bruins icing, Barrie pinched down low in the right corner (as Roy wants) and the puck came to McGinn who cut in the into the right side slot and put the puck by Svedberg. 1-0 Avs.
2 minutes later Tanguay was given a great long distance pas to Tanguay who found himself entering the zone alone. He could have shot but the shot was too far away so he lost it instead; too much hesitation, but oh well. Because the of the turnover, the Avs tried to switch D parings but did it too slowly and got called on another Too Many Men on the Ice penalty.
PK2: Cliche started the PK with some nice body position on the Bruins and cleared the puck on the Bruins. Ooooooh. The Bruins then got called for icing and that was a clooooose call. I thought the Bruins beat Stuart to the puck. The Avs then pulled a Bruins and won the face off on the PK and Holden ripped a wrist shot high. His shot is rounding itself into some nice form. However, the Bruins were able to tie it up at the end of the PK. The Bruins got the puck in front and had everyone and their grandmother in front but eventually Ericsson found the puck and slide it by Berra. 1-1.
The game became a whole lot more physical with Landy’s line getting all kinds of hits. Duchene’s line followed suit with a 2 on 1. Duchene streaked down the right side and went for the gap in Svedberg armpit (7 hole) but Svedberg was able to close it down just in time. At this point, I am okay with the shot.
At 8:58, McLeod and McQuaid had a McFight. I think McQuaid McWon. Honestly, this as a good trade off for the Avs.
The Bruins then had two good, hard shifts in the Avs zone, which basically was caused by the Avs not clearing. Everberg then came out of the zone and got a backhand, drove the net, and eventually drew a roughing penalty. Good for him.
PP 3(kinda): The Avs moved the puck on the perimeter, but this Duchene unit is just not moving the way it should. The Duchene-O’Reilly dominance from last year just isn’t there yet. Not sure why, but MacKinnon’s unit came out and there was 1:10 remaining. MacKinnon’s line had some chances and the Avs began to swarm at the end and even after the penalty was over they were getting chances, but Svedberg was up to the task.
The Bruins countered off an empty corner feed from Talbot to the slot. The Bruins turned on the Bruins cycle and though Berra only had to make a save on the last shot, the Bruins we dominating possession.
Duchene’s unit hopped on the ice and forced a great chance. The Avs actually had a 3 on 2 with both Jonson and Holden in on it – Interesting. The Duchene line continued with McGinn in full McDonalds free coupon-mode but Svedberg stopped all of McGinn rebound attempts. Period over.
Period Summary: The Avs played a much better period. The Bruins are a good defensive team and should make most offenses struggle. Clearly scoring a goal was huge but the team played well in all. There were a bunch of miscues which I think come from lack of confidence in their game right now after the Wild games.
Systems Update: The Avs were able to get their breakouts going but a lot of the period was transition play. I consider the Avs to be on the best transition teams (along with Chicago and Montreal) though this year has been a struggle in the season’s nascence. Regardless, they can play this game and some players still look rusty; that should change over the month. I really liked what I saw from the defense. I know Stuart is the new whipping boy, but I see a lot of promise in his ability. He still needs to learn the system; I see him falling back in zone-mode once in a while and that will take weeks to fix. Aside from that, Johnson, Holden, and Barrie have been great.
DRINKING UPDATE 3: The Ardbeg is still looking at me funny. I am not sure how I feel about this nor what I should do about it.
Duchene had a nice rush down the right side and Seidenberg dove to get the puck away. Very close to that new rule being called; Duchene agrees with me, therefore I am right. O’Reilly’s line followed with a very nice shift but Johnson’s point shot was smothered by Svedberg.
MacKinnon’s line came out next and after a great Holden pinch, Briere was fed down low by Tanguay and rifled it just high.
Bruins had a huge shift to follow but Berra was there the same way Svedberg had been. The play continued to go back and forth with very little neutral zone play. The Avs were getting beaten by the Bruins dump and chase entry which it looks like Julien adjusted between periods to fight Roy’s soft trap, where is tries to force the Bruins down the wall.
After a nice entry by Everberg into the zone, Landy did a great job to circle the puck back to the blue line and pass to Barrie who fired a wrist shot that was apparently tipped by O’Reilly, then off of Svedberg, then off of Everberg’s leg. ALL THE BERGS!!!!! The Refs went to Toronto to review. And they reviewed. And the reviewed. And they reviewed. Annnnnnndddd……………………………………………No goal. There will be discussion about that; though Jack Edwards, me, and everyone else think it was a good goal, Toronto made their call because they could not overrule the call on the ice of no-goal. That is the rule and we have to understand that. Still 1-1.
The 4th line followed the no-goal call with a perfect 4th lines shift. They gained possession in their own zone, took the puck into the Bruins zone, fought on the boards and eventually Hejda was able to get a long shot on Svedberg.
Both teams began to look dangerous, as the speed of the game did not change. It went up and down with each goalie needing to stop pretty tough shots.
The Duchene line came out and created a turnover in the neutral zone but the defense had a miscommunication where two guys were trying to get the puck and the Bruins had a 2 on 1. Bergeron laid a perfect pass over Johnsnon and Berra came up huge. Just huge. He almost exploded from side to side quicker than even he realized.
With less than 7 minutes left, the Bruins began to turn on their forecheck again. The Avs had a bunch of giveaways that were caused less their bad plays and more due to the waves of forecheck the Bruins can run. The Avs were lucky survive this but Berra was in great position.
TANGENT 5 or something: Mt heart hurts. And its game 3 of the regular season. Fuck.
2 minutes left. The Bruins were still pressuring. Duchene’s line came out and skated the puck in the Bruins zone. 1:30 left and the O’Reilly line came out and had some good pressure but Svedberg had all the stops. 45 seconds left and Roy sent out the MacKinnon line. After a nice dump in, Briere and Tanguay manhandled the Bruins defense. The line started swarming and MacKinnon found himself in front of Svedberg. He had an amazing deke but Svedberg stopped him with his right leg as he was sprawling. The puck came back to the defense and around eventually to the near corner where MacKinnon and Briere did a spectacular job keeping the play alive against he Bruins vicious defense.
We were sure the game was going to overtime with 8 seconds left but MacKinnon never gave up and managed to fight for the puck in the near corner. He got it to Hejda at the point and Hejda’s shot with under a second left hit Svedberg but Briere was right in front for the rebound, pull the puck to his right, and put it past Svedberg with .4 seconds left; this was a literal buzzer-beater. It was reviewed but confirmed and Briere got his 300th career goal good for him. 2-1 Avs.
Face off and game over. Yays were had.
DRINKING UPDATE 4: Ardbeg is delicious.
Game Summary: Overall I think the Avs played a very good game. The Bruins were incredibly hungry and had a lot of pressure. The Bruins used their counter attack and rather impressive forecheck very well. The Avs, however, responded by finding ways to gain speed in the neutral zone and finding ways of gaining zone entry. The Avs board work was also much better. They lost some battles to the Bruins, but they showed they can play a board/grinding game for a repetitive shifts if need be. The win is nice, of course, but I think the most important part is that the Avs didn’t get flustered when they couldn’t score in the first or got robbed. They didn’t get flustered when the Bruins counter-pressured. This should relieve a lot of stress on Duchene, MacKinnon, and Landeskog for tomorrow night.
TANGENT 6: I am now watching the Sabres/Ducks game. This may be the worst combination of jerseys I have ever seen. It looks like a visual tire fire that would make Salvador Dali uneasy. It hurts my eyes.
Systems Summary: Offensively, I thought the Avs were okay. They managed to find speed in the 2nd and 3rd and used that to get a few very good chances. Defensively, I was very happy. They were bringing back the center extremely well to break up plays and you could see that it’s hard to do that when the Avs crash the net. As well, the defense was using their stick positioning in some of the best ways I have seen in years. They broke up so many plays that could have resulted in better chances. This is something Roy has previously said he likes and we were able to see the fruits of that labor.
One thing of note was face-offs. The Bruins led the game 32 to 29, but that is very good number against one of the best faceoff teams year after year. Face-offs will be huge for the Avs and I saw at least 10 different occasions where the team that won the faceoff changed the tide of the shift. MacKinnon was 8 for 14 from the dot, which is very good for him.
Third Whore: Everberg. I thought he played a great game and showed he is not only ready for the NHL but he is ready to play a McGinn like role. His goal scoring may not be as high, but he can compliment a top-6 line when needed, which is great to have. Too bad his goal was called back.
Second Whore: Avs defensemen. All 6 (or 5) of them. Having lost Wilson after the 1st was tough, but they played well. They made mistakes, of course, but they played extremely well.
First Whore: Berra. He looked amazing. His movement is beyond surprising based on his massive frame and he made multiple game saving saves. How’s all that crow tasting naysayers?
Honorable Whore: Svedberg. Boston has a very nice backup for Rask. He looked great. Hopefully, they can use him more during the year and have Rask better rested for the playoffs.
Tomorrow night against the Maple Leafs at 730pm (in the only timezone that matters) in the battle of the whiny team that didn’t get any luck last year versus the team that MUST regress because they got all the luck last year. In anticipation of that:
The Avs have a better 3rd line that you do. They should dominate your third line.