Game 14 Recap:
Why hello there. Fancy seeing you around these parts, especially on Election Day. I suppose you have come to hear about the Avs game that was played tonight. You are in luck!
This recap however will have a theme. As the Avs are getting near a quarter of the season, their play has not gone according to plan. However, I want to use this recap to view the Avs from a specific systems point of view. The Avs system lives and dies on speed through the neutral zone. They will never be the grinding down-low cycle team like Anaheim, San Jose or LA. They use speed. That speed comes, predominantly, from their breakout.
The Avs breakout is a traditional speed break out. The point is to move the puck into the neutral zone with speed and create either space into the zone alone with possession, find a passing lane out wide to bring it in with possession, or move the puck into the corner and use that speed to get their first to maintain possession. The Avs had glimpses of getting back to that breakout but it has never been consistent. It has been replaced with a chip off the glass/shot around the boards into the neutral zone play. There are times where you MUST use the chip of the glass/wrap around the board (based on positioning or forecheck) and other times when you don’t – when you should find speed. I plan on monitoring this tonight and recapping the totals to see how the Avs play. I believe the outcome of the game and the Avs’ play will be tied very closely with their breakouts.
The first Avs breakout was a set up speed breakout where the pass went by Mitchell, but onto Miller for a faceoff. The Avs managed to lose the faceoff and it was sent back into the Avs zone. Varly played it up the board to Everberg who instead of chipping it out, passed to Mitchell in the center slot. Mitchel bounced it off the boards, around the Vancouver defenseman to Tanguay who skated it into the zone with some speed. Tanguay stopped short at the top of the far circle and passed to Mitchell, at the edge of the blue line, who beat his man into the zone. Mitchell took two steps into the high slot and used the Vancouver defenseman as a screen as he fired a nasty wrist shot over Millers glove. 1-0 Avs.
The Avs next shift saw the O’Reilly unit come out. After two attempts to chip the puck out, Vancouver was able to bring it back in and get two nice shots.
After a nice break out from the Avs, the puck was bouncing at the Vancouver blue line and caught up in the Vancouver defensemen’s jersey. Cliché decided to whack at the puck and hit the defenseman in the face. Easy call for high sticking.
PP1: the Avs did a great job limiting Vancouver’s chances. They had their sticks in every lane and jumped on the loose pucks. With under a minute left in the power play Vancouver finally found some room and started firing hard low shots on Varly who had to kick out rebounds. They Avs had most of the them covered but one was able to find the Vancouver stick, but one of the Sedins (fuck if I know which one) put it wide. PK over.
After a few attempts to get the puck out, the Avs finally took some time and got the puck into the zone. Miller almost gave the puck away to Tanguay and the Avs were able to get possession. Tanguay fed Barrie at the point who ripped a one timer. The puck ended up in the near corner to Everberg when Bieksa clipped him up high. The Fans booed. I booed. Then a penalty was called. And Everberg was bleeding alloverberg. 4 minute PP upcoming.
PP1: The Avs first unit came out and looked awful. The second unit came out and still looked bad. The Avs couldn’t seem to figure out the Vancouver PK. The Duchene unit finally got some zonetime but looked terrible. Just terrible. Something looked really off. Really fucking off.
With less than 7 minutes left, Johnson did an amazing job of breaking out by passing to Duchene instead of chipping it out. It led to a great chance. Landeskog stole the pass as Vancouver was trying to break out, fed Duchene who fed MacKinnon who ripped a shot but Miler was there.
With 3:45 left, Vancouver was finding their cycle game, but the wrap around squirted to the far wall to Iginla. Iginla saw himself being chases down and passed across the neutral zone to McGinn who skated it into the zone with speed. He pushed the Vancouver defenseman back and dropped it to O’Reilly. O’Reilly took a quick shot clearly looking for a rebound. The Avs managed to gain possession and O’Reilly fed Johnson at the point. Johnson passed it around the board, behind the net to Iginla who skated on the puck, passed quickly to the slot where McGinn had just snuck in and he put it past Miller. 2-0 Avs.
With under a minute left, Vancouver managed to force the puck into the zone. The Avs had to attempt o chip the puck out but Vancouver kept it. They had a great opportunity that Varly was able to get and then Varly had to stretch he left leg to rob Vrbata again. Period Over.
Good period for the Avs. Let’s take a look at the breakout totals. DISLCAMER: breakouts are subjective. I usually consider a breakout starting when the Avs gain possession in their own zone. Bounces when the opposing team is coming in or weird deflections that give the Avs possession high in the zone I exclude.
Speed Breakouts: 15
Necessary COG/WAB: 9. 1 (Stuart), 1 (O’Reilly), 1 (Guenin), 1 (Stuart), 1 (Barrie), 1 (Holden), 1 (Johnson), (Johnson), 1 (Hejda)
Unnecessary COG/WAB: 4. 1 (Stuart), 1 (Barrie), 1 (Stuart), 1 (MacKinnon)
Analysis. It sure looked like the Avs had more offense due to their breakouts. I will say that a lot of those necessary COGs/WAGs worked in the Avs favor (not always the case) and a lot of them were absolutely necessary. The unnecessary ones all (and I repeat ALL) led to Vancouver gaining possession again. 3 times in the Avs zone, once in the neutral zone.
After the Canucks had some pressure, the Avs were strong defensively and they sprung MacKinnon. He had a broken 2 on 2 and tried to shoot a low shot off Millers pad that he hoped Duchene could get to, but Miller smartly pushed it wide.
The following shift saw Vancouver rushing the puck and Stuart managed to get hurt. He did not look good. The Avs ended up having to take a penalty after Vancouver was buzzing.
PK2: Vancouver had some very nice zone time which saw amazing movement. Stuart returned to the ice and shows that he hates the Canucks. Holy fuck. PK over.
Following the PK, Vancouver still managed to have possession and were rifling shots at Varly. A lot of them seems to be going high which is interesting. That is not usually the book on the Varly.
On the following shift, Horvat took a shot with about 67 people in front of him but Varly somehow stopped it. The Canucks kept buzzing but to be fair, though the shot totals were rising and the Avs were chasing, they seemed to be keeping the Canucks to the outside. They did a great job prevent any passed into the crease and force the Canucks to fire from the blue line or take sharp angle shots where Varly already had the angle. Probably not the best plan for an entire game, but it seems to weather the current Canucks storm.
Holden then took an interference call. He went for a an open ice hit and Kassian ducked him but clipped his knee. It was difficult to see if he stuck out his knee. He did not, only his ass; but Kassian looks hurt. Clearly interference (or kneeing?), so the Avs PK is back out.
PK3: Guenin broke up a nice chance with a great slide. McLeod then had a great forecheck and took valuable time off the clock. The Avs PK was strong and aggressive and gave Vancouver no time.
As the penalty was expiring, Duchene found the puck at his own blue line an streaked down the near side. Bieksa played the angle perfectly. Duchene could not go around him so he deked back inside of Bieksa and slid a pass to nifty pass to Landeksog who was in close on Miller but could not get it high enough to beat him. However, Hamuis had to take a slashing penalty that may actually have saved the goal.
PP3: The MacKinnon unit was out first and had some beautiful movement but Barrie’s chances were all blocked. The Duchene unit could not get set up and the power play was over.
O’Reilly line came out after a few uneventful shifts and saw some nice chances, including Iginla getting robbed down low. Duchene’s line followed suit and MacKinnon used his speed to steal the puck in the neutral zone, streak in on Miller but Miller made the glove save. The line then created immense pressure and Landeskog found himself in the high slot. His shot was stopped but dropped to Duchene he was also stopped and the MacKinnon could not pull the rebound around to his stick.
Evidently there was penalty.
PP4: It looked even worse and to be fair they really didn’t look like they had any idea how to beat the Vancouver PK, which wasn’t even very aggressive.
After Duchene’s line took over after the PK, Guenin made the correct pinch but got caught up with the Vancouver forward. Guenin pinch however was incredibly weak and Matthais was sprung on a break away. He cut in and deked to his backhand, but Varly stayed low and with him to smother the backhand.
About 3 minutes remaining, Mitchell’s line had a good chance, but Mitchell could not find a lane. Vancouver then took the puck in and the Sedin line went to work. One of the Sedins fed the other one in tight and the shot wrung off the post but punched right back to Varly who closed his legs quickly to stop it; having no idea where it was.
Kassian trying to thug it up with Barrie. Idiot.
On the following faceoff the Avs had a stupid attempted clear but it came to Johnson who skated out on a 2 on 1.
However, the next shift saw Vancouver get one back. The Canucks swarmed the final minute and took full control of the Mitchel line out with Guenin. The Avs looked absolutely awful on defense. The Sedins did their magic and eventually one of them was able top put the rebound past Varly with 4 seconds left. 2-1 Vancouver.
Speed Breakouts: 4
Necessary COG/WAB: 3. 1 (Stuart), 1 (Hejda, MacKinnon, Johnson), 1 (Stuart)
Unnecessary COG/WAB: 5. 1 (Johnson), 1 (Talbot), 1 (Johnson), 1 (McGinn), 1 (Hejda)
Analysis. That was simple. The Avs did not have any real chances for breakout. Nothing, really. Only 4 good ones and 8 attempted clears. In fact, that is a sign that the Avs never had any possession. Shitty period for breakouts.
After a nice shift by the Iginla line, the Canucks came back and got a lucky goal. The puck was shot from the point and went off Guenin and fluttered past Varly. 2-2.
The Mitchell line had good pressure but the Avs then imploded defensively. O’Reilly lost his man in front and the Canuck were able to put the puck past Varly. 3-2 Canucks. Gross.
The Avs then decided to started really skating and tuning on a different kind of forecheck.
With less than 11 minutes left, Nick Bonino found the puck at the bottom of the circles and fired a perfect shot over Varly’s shoulder. 4-2 Canucks.
The Sedin line then came out and drew a call on MacKinnon for hooking. This was not looking good, especially with Stuart out of the 3rd.
PK4: The Avs’ PK was again just good.
7 minutes left and it was time for the Avs to get it in gear but the exact opposite thing happened. Barrie’s long stretch pass failed, was stolen by Matthias and Matthais beat Varly far side. 5-2 Canucks.
There was little else to say about this. Roy needs to fix this shit, immediately. Something is definitely wrong. Regardless, game over.
Speed Breakouts: 8
Necessary COG/WAB: 1 (Guenin), MacKinnon), (Holden)
Unnecessary COG/WAB: 1 (Guenin), 1 (Guenin), 1 (Guenin)
Analysis. I think that about says it. The Avs had more speed breakouts in the 1st period than they did in the next 2 combined. That’s just not good and when they decide to try, they can break out fine. The breakouts led to chances and the breakouts came from better defensive play.
None. I refuse. Perhaps if they show up next game, I will give do them.