As with every game, you take the good with the bad, so time to take a look at the pluses and the minuses in the game against the Sabres for the Avalanche. Once again, not much positive to take from this game.
– The Stars
The last two games, the stars on the Avalanche have not played very well. They’re far from alone, but it’s no surprise the team has been shutout when their stars have a tough night.
Even before his injury, nothing was working for Makar. Every time he got the puck in the offensive zone, it seemed like it would just roll off his stick. He got set up in the first period, only for it to trickle off his blade. MacKinnon struggled to get any space through the neutral zone, and his linemates were having issues completing any passes. Rantanen was probably the best of the three, but even he wasn’t great, and took a penalty early in the game.
It’s unfortunate that the team is already this dependent on their stars so early in the season, but the new guys have struggled at even strength, so a lot is falling on them.
+ Makar Isn’t Seriously Injured…That We Know Of
Would it surprise me if Cale Makar ended up needed some time off, even though he came back to the game? Not at all. I didn’t think ligaments could bend that way and still be okay, but he somehow managed to return to the game. He reportedly kept going back and forth from the dressing room to the bench in the third period, so I’m not sure they’re out of the woods yet as far as some sort of injury goes.
That being said, it would appear as though he avoided something major, which is the important thing. You never know, he could go in for an MRI today and find out something is torn, but for now, looks like the Avalanche avoided disaster.
– The Powerplay
As Jared Bednar has said, your powerplay is usually a reflection of your 5v5 play, and the Avalanche were generating next to nothing at even strength. It’s no surprise that for the second consecutive game, the powerplay was not good. It wasn’t for lack of opportunities, as Colorado got six powerplays. They just did nothing with them.
+ First Period Jonathan Drouin
I loved Drouin in the first period. He had a couple of nice plays on the forecheck, including forcing Owen Power into a really bad position, which caused him to turn the puck over to Ryan Johansen in front of the net. It looked like the move into the top six was going to be great for him…
– Drouin The Rest Of The Game
…Then the rest of the game happened. He couldn’t complete a pass, and when he got his opportunity on the top powerplay unit, it went very poorly. He sat still along the boards, and tried to force difficult passes, which ultimately did not work. That was a big chance for him to step up, and it didn’t happen.
– The Third Line
The Avalanche moved Tatar back to the third line, and it was a mess. That line has looked to be significantly better with Drouin on it, so Bednar and company are going to have to figure out what they want to do here. Tatar is struggling to create on his own, and while Colton had a great look very early in the game, they were quiet the rest of the afternoon. It’s still relatively early in the season, but the Avalanche really need to start getting some goal production out of these guys.
– Seeing EJ in Another Uniform
I think it was time to move on from Erik Johnson, especially when you look at the contract he got, but it’s still weird seeing him in another uniform.
– Josh Manson’s Decision Making
Manson has been very up and down this year, and his decision on the first goal of the game yesterday really changed the momentum of the game.
Yes, the Avalanche had enough numbers back to where it shouldn’t have been all that dangerous, but it’s a rush that never should have happened. Colorado actually was playing well to start the game, and were controlling the majority of the chances. After this goal, the game went south real quickly.