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Avs Game Analysis

Takeaways from Avs loss in St. Louis: Maybe a matchup vs. Wild is best option now



Keith Gillett/Icon Sportswire

LAS VEGAS – So, hear me out on this.

I came into this post ready to rip on the Avs for their “dogshit” performance – at least that’s how the captain, Gabe Landeskog – put it about the team’s first-period today in St. Louis. Hey, no argument from me there. I will do some ripping on the team a bit further down in this thing, but for now I’m of the mind that:

  • Maybe it’s OK that the Avs don’t win the West Division, and therefore become the No. 1 seed that for sure would play the St. Louis Blues in the first round of the playoffs. Maybe let the Vegas Golden Knights win the thing and have to play the Blues in the first round. Let the Avs play the Minnesota Wild in the first round instead.
  • I think the Avs absolutely would and will beat the Wild if they play them in the first round. I think I would rather play the Wild than the Blues right now.
  • Because, after today’s horror show, it’s clear that the Avs still have some serious matchup problems with the Blues, starting with: whoever is playing against Ryan O’Reilly. Honestly, No. 90, the former Av, absolutely outplayed everybody who even came near him in a visiting sweater the last two games. Remember just a few years ago when the supposed “smart” hockey analytics folks said ROR wasn’t a leader or a winner? They were stupid then and they’re even stupider now. Honestly, just quit covering hockey if you never got it, that ROR was going to be a winner in this league eventually.
  • I think this is probably just the period of the Avs’ season where there is a “lull” or some adversity or a combination of both, and it sucks that it’s happening right now, in the drive to show they’re the best team in the “West”, but:
  • It doesn’t matter who finishes first in the division after 56 games. What matters is who’s still standing after the first two rounds of the playoffs, when the top four teams will face each other.
  • Let the Vegas Golden Knights play the Blues in the first round. Let Vegas deal with O’Reilly over a potential seven games. Let Vegas play against a suddenly red-hot Jordan Binnington. Let Vegas play a Blues team that won a Stanley Cup not even two years ago. Let Vegas play a team that suddenly wants to add to more of a legacy created after that Cup win.
  • I’ll take my chances against a Wild team that – hats off to them for the season they’ve had – isn’t as good as their record. Not IMO anyway.
  • I’ll take my chances in the first round against the Wild, with a returning Mikko Rantanen and Philipp Grubauer and Joonas Donskoi.

But, about today:

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  • I just feel like Jared Bednar punted this game away before it even started. Why start Jonas Johansson today, when the guy you acquired at the trade deadline (Devan Dubnyk) was healthy and perfectly rested? Why did you get Dubnyk if you are going to bench him after one loss, in favor of a bench-warmer from the Buffalo Sabres who beat the awful Anaheim Ducks in a couple of games?
  • Was Bednar really that blinded to Johansson’s abilities, from a couple wins over the worst team in the West?
  • I’m not saying Dubnyk would have been the answer today, from what actually happened.
  • But I am saying that Bednar didn’t put his best team on the ice, in a supposedly big game with major division-winning implications. Bednar has always been consistent with saying he always put his “best team” on the ice, but that didn’t happen today, not with Johansson in net.
  • Johansson is a third-string goalie, who was tasked with beating the Blues on the road today. I would have much preferred putting Dubnyk in there. Yeah, he lost the last game, but so what? He made a lot of tough saves in that game too. Johansson looked as rusty as you’d expect him to look, after not having played in a few weeks, along with being a guy who hasn’t shown too much as an NHL goalie to this point anyway.
  • I also don’t like what’s going on with the lineup in front of the goalies right now either. Stop playing the aging Carl Soderberg in the top six. Stop with the Martin Kaut late-season experiment.
  • I get it that Kaut was an OK choice as a call-up from the Eagles, but he’s just not a top-9 player in this league yet, even as a fill-in. He just doesn’t have the confidence to play at this level yet. You can plainly see it.
  • Soderberg – I didn’t really get why the Avs got him back, and I certainly don’t anymore since they actually got him. So far, he’s looked too slow for this team now.
  • Patrik Nemeth: he looks as slow and turnover-prone now as when he last played here.
  • Nazem Kadri: 16 straight games now without a goal. It was glossed over before, by the play of others. But it’s hurting  the team now, now that the others aren’t compensating for him as much.

It was just a bad finish to that stay in St. Louis. We shouldn’t overreact too much. That said: this team that everybody thought was so awesome and so absolutely headed toward the Stanley Cup Finals is now only one point ahead of the Wild for second place in their division, with only one game in hand. There is a very real chance the Avs could start the playoffs on the ROAD against the Wild in the first round.

Did anyone see that as a possibility a week or two ago?

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Adrian Dater - Kiss and Larry Bird fan. Writer with @Gambling and @Bookies, Avs Insider with 104.3 The Fan. Denver Post, SI, Bleacher Report alum, author of seven books.

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Matt Briggle

First off, this was a stinker of a game all up and down the line up. I don’t think JoJo was solely at fault for any of the goals and really got hung out to dry on a couple of them. Yes, it would have been nice if he had made another save or two, but there were multiple breakdowns on each of the goals. He did have some stellar saves mixed in there that will be completely forgotten in the analysis of this game. As for why he started, I’m guessing that given what happened in the playoffs last… Read more »

Richard Trujillo

If the Avs don’t win the Cup this year one can only look at Sakic as the reason they came up short. He has done a phenomenal job getting the team to this point. But we knew goaltending was the teams biggest weakness BEFORE we even got to the offseason. And that was with a healthy lineup. His failure to address that situation probably prevented him from addressing their 2nd biggest issue. That lack of depth to overcome injuries that happen to every team. I really think Grubauer has looked better than he actually is this year. The Avs were… Read more »


Agree wholeheartedly on Bednar punting the game with JJ in goal. I’ve said it before – Nemeth and Soderberg were questionable acquisitions and they look out of place in any Avs lineup. They both appear to have training wheels on their skates. I’m not as harsh on Kaut as he has size and can skate better than the two aforementioned fossils. A real stinker, yes. But the real season hasn’t even started yet.

[…] Adrian Dater has his takeaways from Avalanche’s loss in St. Louis.  Maybe a matchup against the Wild is the best option now. (Colorado Hockey Now) […]


Darn, I hate to agree with you Dater, but these are really good takaways. I do think that Sakic and Bednar lost some logic and went into panic mode when they acquired JJ, Soda and Nemeth. They don’t fit with the new fast-paced play of the team. Hopefully the injury bug will take a break from attacking the AVs until after the playoffs–please hockey gods. In the long run it may be better to be a little humble and hungry as we enter the playoffs.

Joshua Canfield

I have to reluctantly agree as well. I was disappointed to see Johansson in net when Dubynk was rested. Aside from their blowout against Minnesota recently, that was probably some of the worst hockey this club has played all season. While I “like” Nemeth & Soderberg, I don’t believe they were good acquisitions. Maybe Soderberg, in playing a 4th line role. Not Nemeth though. A good friend of mine who I talk hockey with sent me the link when the Avs picked up Nemeth with a message that said, “Ohh good, more turnovers will help”. With all that said, I’m… Read more »

Nathan Edwards

Well It’s always painful to have a few losses in a row especially after such a torrid win streak. It’s creating adversity on the flip side, and that is exactly how 4 7 game series always pan out. They need to work some kinks out and figure out how to come back when trailing in a game in my opinion. They seem to be the last 2 games in St. Louis like a deer lost in head lights after being down in the game. Why would you say Sakic didn’t address the goaltending situation?? DAH I do agree that the… Read more »


Let’s not jump to conclusions here. This was the first time we had consecutive losses since…err..February. Having said that, the real challenges with the NHL this year and our division in particular is that we don’t really know how we all stack up against each other. The Avs went on a dominant run there for a while that seemed to confirm preseason speculation that the Avs are the consensus candidate for the Cup. Then again, while we get to play a powerhouse like the Golden Knights, what does it really mean to dominate a division with the likes of the… Read more »

Karl Keen

I think we have to be concerned with our state-of-play. I understand it is just two losses after an amazing streak, but the Blues show us that in the playoffs, the teams that grind are going to win 7 game series. Tampa didn’t win its cup until it bolstered its 3rd and 4th lines with grinders. I agree that playing MN in the first round may be better, but it is a dangerous game to choose your opponent, not too mention that the Wild play Vegas better than the Blues and would be more likely to upset Vegas. Vegas can… Read more »


Based on strength of remaining schedule the Avs should be able to secure the division, unless they revert to playing down to the level of their competition again.

Avs only have 2 games against playoff teams (2-Vegas)
Minny has 7 (2-Vegas and 5-STL), STL has 7 (5-Minny and 2-Vegas)
and Vegas has 6 (2-COL, 2-Minny, 2-STL)

Hopefully the Avs can get some points bottom feeding off the Sharks and Kings

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