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Avalanche Game 35 Plus/Minus: The One That (Really) Got Away



Avalanche lines Coyotes

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 Coyotes for the Colorado Avalanche.

+ The First Two Periods

While the Avalanche had a 4-0 lead at one point, they weren’t necessarily playing their best game. The first period was pretty sloppy, as they looked like a team that had just flown in on the day of the game. They had their turnovers, but even after turning the puck over, they defended the front of the net pretty well. In the second, they were better, up until that Crouse goal. It wasn’t perfect hockey, but it was enough to get by in a road game, which is all you really need coming off three mandatory days off.

– The Third Period

What the heck?

I didn’t know who Michael Kesselring was up until recently, and in the third period, the Avalanche made him look like a modern day Bobby Orr. He danced around the entire offensive zone with very little resistance, and when he missed his initial shot, Colorado just left him alone again.

On the Coyotes third goal, Johansen gets walked very easily by Sean Durzi, and then Jason Zucker is just out-working everyone else on the ice. Goal four, Makar just whiffed completely on his clearing attempt, which messed everything up. His second attempt was just a desperate whack, which went right to the Coyotes.

Colorado stopped pushing offensively and sat back, and the Coyotes made them pay for their mistakes. The Avalanche registered just four shots on net in the third period, and two came from Miles Wood on the same shift. Sitting back does no one any good.

– Cale Makar/Bowen Byram

Early in the game, the staff decided to switch things up a bit, moving Byram up with Makar and having Devon Toews drop down to play with Josh Manson. The result? The Byram/Makar pair was on the ice for the first three goals against, and after that, the pair was split up again. Makar was then on the ice for the fourth Coyotes goal.

Neither of these guys had good nights at all. When two of your top three defensemen have bad nights, it’s tough to win. When two of the three have brutal nights, it’s REALLY tough to win.

– Alexandar Georgiev

Georgiev was pissed after the overtime game-winning goal, and I sort of get why. For the last half of overtime, the Avalanche just gave the Coyotes chances with their terrible puck decisions, and he nearly got the game to a shootout. A bounce high up in the air, and a Coyotes player just allowed to stand right in the crease put an end to that.

The issue is that before overtime, Georgiev gave up four goals on the last eight shots he faced. Yes, the defense on the Avalanche was far from perfect on a lot of those goals (as discussed above), but at some point, don’t you need your goaltender to make a save?

Did you all see what Bruce Cassidy said after Vegas’ loss last night?

Seems like the Avalanche have been going through this since the first six games of the year.

– Valeri Nichushkin

Nichushkin has been a horse over the last two months or so, but on Wednesday, nothing was working. Lots of whiffs on passes, couldn’t get any of his shots off, and uncharacteristic plays in the defensive zone. He was the one who lost the puck to Kesselring prior to the second Coyotes goal. An off game, it happens.

– The Whole Overtime Strategy

I’ve made my opinion very clear how much I despise what 3-on-3 overtime has evolved into. The whole, let’s hold onto the puck and keep possession, and try to force the other team into a mistake. I get it, but the issue is not every team is going to just make a mistake. They might just sit back and play smart. The other issue is that at some point, you have to attack some tired players, and the Avalanche didn’t really do that at the start of overtime. They regrouped, and regrouped, and regrouped, but never really attacked. That doesn’t really get you anywhere.

– The Game Winning Goal

This goal will probably be the main highlight for the Turning Point, so I won’t spoil it too much, but a lot of the blame is going on Josh Manson. I don’t necessarily disagree, but he was clearly gassed. I’m not quite sure why Mikko Rantanen, the freshest guy on the ice, decided to pass it his way, when he could have either bought some time on his own, or sent it back to Georgiev for some help. The other two skaters had been on the ice for over a minute. Rantanen had been on for around 30 seconds. The whole thing could have been avoided, but that’s the case with a lot of goals.

– MacDermid Dilemma

This is one of those games where you sit and wonder what the point of dressing Kurtis MacDermid, or having him on the roster really does. When he’s in the lineup, he barely plays. In the third period, the team lost Ross Colton, and they weren’t using MacDermid, so they were down to just 10 forwards. No wonder exhaustion started to set in, especially in overtime.

At some point, the team is going to have to make a real decision. The Avalanche aren’t a super deep team like they were in 2021-22 that could handle a guy like this playing just a few minutes a night. They don’t have a ton of depth right now, and when you dress a guy like this and have to shorten your bench even more, it becomes even more obvious. I also don’t know what he’s deterring. For the second time in four games, MacKinnon took another big hit with MacDermid on the bench. Teams aren’t going to change the way they play just because he’s dressed.

– Losing Ross Colton

According to Bednar on Altitude Radio this morning, it doesn’t sound that bad, and there’s a chance he plays tomorrow, but center depth is already thin as is. The loss of Colton would be a tough one, given how little they’re getting out of Johansen right now.

+ This Moment

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