AVALANCHE WRAP: A look back at last night, a look at what’s ahead
For me, the best new component to the Avalanche’s game since the trade deadline has been the penalty kill. There’s just no question it’s better now, and the numbers are showing it. In the bottom five for much of the season, the Avs now rank 16th in the league, at 79.3%.
The additions of Artturi Lehkonen, Nico Sturm and Andrew Cogliano have really made a difference – in addition to Jared Bednar going to more of a diamond formation instead of a four-square box. I just have noticed teams having less time to make decisions with the puck, and when Avs personnel are getting the puck, they’re clearing it down the river more effectively.
For me, this is the most encouraging thing for the Avs moving into the playoffs. If they can have a dominant PK, I like their chances much more.
- I’m hearing there’s a good chance newly-signed, former Minnesota captain Ben Meyers plays tomorrow night against Carolina.
- This can give another forward a night off, which might be a good thing. Any time Jared Bednar can rest some key guys down the stretch – I think that’s a good thing.
- I’ve tried to reach the agent for Avs goalie Darcy Kuemper, but got ghosted. I wanted to ask if any talks toward an extension are happening. It seems like we could be right back to doing the free-agent game of suspense again this summer with the team’s top goalie. The Avs have lost two goalies to unrestricted free agency in the last three years – Semyon Varlamov and Phillip Grubauer.
- Another thing that’s been better since the new guys got here: faceoffs: Avs went 33-for-55 in the dot last night (63%), its best percentage of any game this season.
- Pavel Francouz on the win: “You play the game to win and if you’re winning almost every game, it’s a lot of fun. So, nothing beats the feeling after a whistle when you get the win and you can just enjoy it for a little bit with your friends, so I think that’s why it’s so much fun right now.”
- No Avs practice today, so no updates on anything Gabe Landeskog-related. The team maintains it its hope he’ll get a game or two in before the playoffs.