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Game Review

Avs outscore Flyers. That’s the good news from a sloppy game



Matt Slocum/AP

Yeah, the Avalanche really need a top-2 goalie back in the lineup, pronto. In four games on this Eastern road trip, the Avs have allowed 20 goals, which sources tell me is an average of five against per game. When you’re playing a terrible team like the Philadelphia Flyers, you can get away with that. Not against good teams, they won’t.

Then again, the Avs are playing with AHL-caliber goalies right now, so you can’t get overly picky with a 7-5 win like tonight.

Hey, credit to the kid, Justus Annunen, for getting the win in his first NHL start. He even got an assist in the game, on a ridiculous Cale Makar goal in the first period. But, yeah, the Avs have problems between the pipes right now. The good news? I expect Darcy Kuemper and Pavel Francouz to be the 1-2 goalies for the team again no later than the weekend.

Annunen allowed five goals on 32 shots for the win, with the Avs getting 50 shots on net on the porous Flyers defense. If the Flyers thought they might get a lift from making a coaching change earlier in the day, it was of the dead-cat-bounce variety. Philly is just a terrible team right now, and the Avs did what they had to do to get two points. But there was a lot of self-criticism afterward.

“We’re giving up more right now than we want, to be honest,” said Erik Johnson, who scored a goal and was good overall. “We just can’t outscore everyone. Can’t play like that the rest of the year. We need to clean it up.”

Actually, I thought the Avs’ top four guys on defense were real good, including Johnson, Makar, Devon Toews and Sam Girard. It’s just…well, the goaltending isn’t good right now. But I think that will change soon. It better, for the Avs’ sake.

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“We’ll take the two points, but there’s certainly areas of our game where we need to be better,” Avs coach Jared Bednar said.


  • It’s nice to see Tyson Jost scoring some goals again. I liked the way he played tonight.
  • Makar said it’s “little things that keep popping up” with his injuries. But he also indicated that he’s got a more lingering injury of some kind.
  • Nathan MacKinnon put eight shots on net in the game. But none went in. He’s still stuck at one goal on the season.
  • 23 minutes for Devon Toews, two assists. The guy was just an absolute steal of a trade acquisition by Joe Sakic.
  • Darcy Kuemper took shots today at the morning skate. I think there’s a chance he’ll play Wednesday against the Rangers. Well, I mean, of course, there’s a chance. But I think there’s a pretty good chance, is what I meant to say.
  • Another game, another goal for Alex Newhook. You can really see the confidence building in the kid.

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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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Ryan Krueger

McKinnon will get goals if he goes to the net instead of shooting through traffic from the blue line

Yan Girard

In the past, Mackinnon had a lot success shooting the puck through traffic from the blue line. It’s what Makar makes in this moment and he gets success. I don’t think that Mackinnon must play in the same way than Brendan Gallagher of Montreal Canadiens 🙂
Often, Landeskok is ahead of the goal to hide the view of the opponent goalie, bother and deflect the puck. I believe that it’s still a good strategy to continue to make this.

Last edited 9 months ago by Alexander A

Can’t do much when you get double-teamed pretty much every time you touch the puck.

Brandon Roy

Toews was traded for 2 picks and not a FA signing just FYI dater.

Yan Girard

Glad for Annunen that recorded his first win in NHL career. Finally, the best goalie of the Avs was in the AHL. Annunen controls well the rebounds, good positioning, lateral movements very quickly, very compact in his net, good reading game, uses well his large size, he is calm in his net, he is in control and in more he generates of the offensive (he collected an assist). He allowed 5 goals but I don’t think that it’s representative of his performance. Seriously, I believe that Annunen has a great potential. In the way that he keeps the goals, it… Read more »

Last edited 9 months ago by Alexander A
Nick Chapman

As a former goalie coach, I will push back a little on this. I agree that Annunen has excellent potential, especially with his size. That said, his two glaring weaknesses are his depth control, specifically on his T-pushes, which are WAY too deep, and his overall reading of the play. His anticipation is below average for his level, but there’s plenty of time to improve these things. Depth control and anticipation are teachable. You can’t teach his size. In the Price and Fleury subject, Annunen is much more similar to Price than Fleury, albeit nowhere near the fluidity of Price.… Read more »

Yan Girard

I know that Annunen doesn’t achieve his peak again. But, only watching the game against Flyers, he is more technically sound than Kuemper, Francouz and JoJo. You don’t see Kuemper to let continually open net after a save or a deflected puck? We don’t see this situation with Annunen. Annunen covers well the net in the different situations. A mentor doesn’t need to have the same style. I am convinced that Fleury would be a better mentor than Price for Annunen. Price doesn’t have the experience of mentor and I am not sure that he would accept to make that… Read more »

Nick Chapman

Annunen is more technically sound than Kuemper and Jojo. He is NOT more technical than Francouz. Francouz is super-human when it comes to the techniques. If you watch training camps, you will see Parkkila making the other goaltenders watch Francouz for the drills….especially T-pushes and jam plays. The only thing holding Pavel Francouz back from being elite is his small size, and his tendency to focus soo hard on being technically perfect that he sometimes forgets to just stop the puck. This is why he gets beat by long shots on occasion. As far as the Fleury and Price discussion,… Read more »

Yan Girard

The training camp is one thing and the games it’s another thing. Francouz presents lacks in his movements during the games. He is less in control and I believe that it’s why he is more prone to injuries.

Yan Girard

I think that it’s normal that in some situations Annunen was too depth (ex. : breakway in overtime against Tkatchuk). A young goalie can have a tendency to go back a little too fast because he is impressed to play NHL and he doesn’t have again all the confidence. For my part, these are minor adjustments which are done quickly after some games. Also, we can think that Annunen wasn’t at his better either as it was his first start in NHL and that he was nervous. He seems to be a goalie very in control of his movements and… Read more »

Last edited 9 months ago by Alexander A
Nick Chapman

Yes I agree with this. Like I said, Annunen’s issues are all teachable. He has great potential.


Thanks for your take.

Like Yan, I liked Annunen’s look in goal, in spite of getting lit-up for 5. He seemed unaccustomed to the NHL speed, but didn’t look rattled.

Great night for the kid to get some experience along with the win (and assist!).


I agree. Newhook is starting to look like he’s finding his game.


I am going to their next game at MSG on Wednesday night. I am really curious to see them play a team that is some 7 pts ahead of us in the standings and more importantly, is sitting at a remarkable 16-4-3 while having scored fewer goals than we have conceded this season. I think the Rangers will be a real good test for them. Just like most Avs fans, I have been quite concerned by some of the personnel changes that happened this summer and really how the season has gone so far. I get that the Avs’ have… Read more »

Matt Briggle

It is really good seeing Newhook and Jost putting up some points, those are two guys this team really needs to get to that elusive “next level”. LOC just can’t be stopped at this point, can you even hope to contain him? I thought Annunen played really good tonight. Would you like him to have come up with one or two saves on those goals? Yes. I don’t think any of them were “soft” goals either. For his first NHL start I thought he settled down and played really well after the first period. No, I don’t think he is… Read more »


That is indeed hopeful. I think in addition to our general defensive woes, we really need our younger players to step up and develop into more elite or at least important role players.


-Toews, Makar and Girard were excellent, the rest of the D not so much.

-Not only is Cale Makar defensively responsible, he’s an offensive machine. He had 12 scoring chances for and only 3 against for a SCF% of 80. Out-effing-standing.

-Short-handed goals are awesome!

-Philly figured how to contain Mack. He did not spend much time in the O zone without 2 Flyers harassing him. It’s frustrating to watch, much less experience.

-Annunen is not ready for the Show.

-We can’t win a cup by allowing 5 goals per game.

Last edited 9 months ago by dk
Yan Girard

If Annunen isn’t ready for the Show, I know some others goalies that aren’t ready for the Show either. 🙁


Like Yoyo? I agree.

Yan Girard

Like Yoyo and like others 🙂


I don’t blame Annunen for all of the goals. The team defense and possibly the defensive scheme has been weak and porous in many games recently. My grandson’s bantam team plays better team defense than the AVs have recently. Watching the Avalanche bounce around like pingpong balls in the D zone last night was not fun.

Yan Girard

I always liked to play pingpong 🙂


5 goals allowed, but it was not because of bad goal tending. 3-4 of those are the fault of the defensive zone breakdowns, turnovers, and the inability to clear the zone, not on the rookie.

Yan Girard

I agree perfectly.

Karl Keen

If Carter Hart had started that game, would we have lost? He is third I believe in save percentage. Some of Jones’ allowed goals were laughable.


Good question. Jones was scouted ”shoot high” and everything above his shoulders went in.

But glad Annunen got the win and some important experience. He never faced a 90 mph one-timer from Giroux before that’s for sure. Maybe he’ll catch the next one.

Bob Neal

I guess I’m the only one that was worried whether the Av’s were going to win a game against a team that just fired their coach and has lost 8 straight going into the third period up 5-3? I also heard EJ postgame say that they need to start playing better defense. AD quoted EJ but the text doesn’t specifically include in the quote what needed to be “cleaned up”. Again, the goalie gets tagged for letting in a bunch of goals when the defense in front of him is off trying to score goals, win Norris trophies, leaving him… Read more »

Yan Girard

I agree with you. However, since the start of season, the goalies didn’t make the job. I know that the team didn’t play your best. But it’s normal in a game that there are scoring chances (ex. ; break away). At this moment, the goalies must make the important saves. Many people forget that the forwards are part of the defense. The goalie is part of the defense also. Then, the defense, these are the forwards, defensemen and goalie.

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