Let’s just go with some stream-of-conscious analysis as it comes here, on tonight’s game, instead of a “game story.”
But for those who don’t know the final score still: Pittsburgh 4, Colorado Avalanche 3 (OT).
- Is the glass half full or half empty on this one? Probably a bit more of the latter, truthfully. Yeah, the Avs did something they had yet to do all season tonight – score a goal with the extra skater on in place of the goalie – and that got them a point in the standings tonight. Matt Calvert’s tip of Cale Makar’s shot sent Avs fans – who seemed in the minority at the Pepsi Center tonight, more on that later – throwing hands in exultation.
- And then the Avs went back to the same brand of seemingly jittery, jumpy and, ultimately, failed hockey that has characterized so many of their third period/clutch situations at home of late.
- Jared McCann puts one through the 5-hole of Pavel Francouz at 3:19 of OT to end it. Avs now 1-3-1 in the last five at home, with all four losses coming after they either held a lead in the third or had a tie game in the third.
- What was Jared Bednar like after the game? Well, conflicted, it seemed. He praised his team for a lot of their play, especially in the first period good parts of the third (Colorado outshot Pittsburgh 15-10 in the period) but said the second period wasn’t good enough and, for too much of the game, the “rush coverage” of the defense wasn’t good enough. The Evgeni Malkin goal, with 4:17 left in regulation that broke a 2-2 tie, was Exhibit A. Just a little too much soft play defensively, too big a gap between the forwards and defense and, ultimately, no bail-out from the goalie.
- Pavel Francouz is now 0-2-1 in his last three starts, and I thought he was pretty shaky tonight overall. Shaky meaning: You felt nervous with him in there in the clutch situations, just on this night anyway. The goaltending overall of late just hasn’t quite been good enough and even Bednar would say “I’m sure Frankie would say he’d want one of those goals back.”
- Francouz said, “That was a good point, but I thought we deserved more today.”
- Of the Malkin shot that beat him, Francouz said, “(Malkin) kind of hid it behind the pulling forward, so it was tough to pick it up.”
- Erik Johnson wasn’t having much of the “Glass Half Full” thing either. “It’s becoming a problem, so we gotta fix it. Soon. That’d be a good idea.”
- Bednar had what I thought was an interesting take on his team right now: He wishes it would talk more, on the ice. “Good teams are vocal teams,” he said.
- He wants more D-men telling each other “I got it, I got him”, etc. etc. And the forwards too, I guess.
- It does seem like the team looks nervous in these clutch situations. Everybody is kind of sitting there on the bench, thinking to themselves too much, it seems. Nobody seems to be having much fun out there in these late-game situations.
- That said, they did come up with a huge, last-minute goal that got them something in the standings.
- That also said, you just can’t keep blowing third-period leads. These are a lot of points they are leaving on the table right now.
- Boy, Colorado sure did prove its desirability as a place to live again tonight. All those Pittsburgh transplants in the stands – they were, frankly, louder than Avs fans tonight. I don’t know if it made any difference at all in the outcome, but there was a lot of black and gold in the stands. Why do so many Avs fans seemingly not want to come to the game and so many transplants do? It sure didn’t feel like the Avs had any kind of a home-ice advantage tonight. I’m not dumping on Avs fans here, but just sayin.
- EJ was a minus-3 tonight. He’s been in a bit of a tough stretch lately it seems.
- Some Avs forwards seemed a bit too invisible offensively tonight. Guys like J.T. Compher and Matt Nieto. And Mikko Rantanen. And Nazem Kadri.
- Cale Makar on the night: “Third Period. I mean, you give any team in this league just one opportunity, they are going to take advantage of it. It’s unfortunate for us they did tonight. I mean it’s just a learning curve for us. We can’t give that up in the third period and for us, it’s definitely not a confidence builder when we drop games like that.”
- Matt Murray on that fluky goal he allowed to Gabe Landeskog late in the second period: ““That’s a tough read. I can’t really expect that kind of bounce and I’m just trying to get out and play, settle it down so our D can make a play and it bounces sideways on me. I just brushed it off as quickly as I could.”
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