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Colorado Avalanche

Avalanche Game 36 Plus/Minus: Low Event Hockey, Beastly Manson

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Avalanche Blues

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 Blues for the Colorado Avalanche.

– Generating Offense

If you watched the first period, and saw the Avalanche generate almost no offense at even strength (FIVE shot attempts total in 14 minutes), I really don’t blame you if you decided there were other things you wanted to do with your Friday night.

It did get better after that. Not a whole lot better, but better, particularly in the third. Overall, it wasn’t pretty though. 34 shot attempts  almost 47 minutes is unpleasant. There’s one reason they were able to survive, though…

+ Better Team Defense

Was it perfect? Definitely not, especially in the first. It felt like in the first period they were battling, but still a little too loose defensively. That tightened up in the second period and in the third. It’s easy to tell when the team has bought in on a night because you have people selling out to block shots, and you saw that in the back half of the game.

For as little as the Avalanche created offensively, they didn’t give up much defensively. The Blues only registered 40 shot attempts at even strength. A very low event game, but sometimes, you have to win games like that. Not perfect, but an improvement.

+ Josh Manson

I still don’t quite know what Manson did that was worthy of a penalty early in the game, but it got him going the rest of the night. He had a goal that was unfortunately disallowed, and after it was disallowed, he took his anger out on Brandon Saad. He stuck with the veteran winger as he tried to cut around him and just plastered him into the boards. A perfect hit (and defensive play). With the net empty, he was a bit of a beast, even knocking the puck out of mid-air to get it out of danger. Big game from him.

+ Alexandar Georgiev

That’s how you bounce back.

Played as well as he has since his hot start. Looked confident, especially with his glove, and tracked the puck well. Can’t exactly blame him on the only goal against, and stopped everything else he saw. Big saves throughout the night, with a few more mini-breakaways in there.

Now the question will be if he can find any sort of consistency. The .965 games are nice, but can’t be dipping into the .870-880 games. There’s got to be a happy medium, which has not been the case far too often this season.

– MacDermid

If not for the goaltender interference, we might be talking about the nice play he made to chip it back down low to Olofsson before he could get it to Josh Manson. Instead, the goal was wiped off the board because MacDermid went a little too hard to the net. In fact, he almost ended up in the net. Right intent, poor execution. Played just four minutes on the night, and the Avalanche technically didn’t register a shot on goal with him on the ice. His one shift in the third period lasted just four seconds.

– Sam Malinski

Definitely felt like Malinski was pushed around a bit in that game. At one point, Sammy Blais took a run at him in the neutral zone and got him pretty good. Malinski has taken some hits this year, but gets right back up, and that’s a credit to him, but his lack of size along the boards was evident at times in this one. No Avalanche skater was on the ice for more St. Louis shots on net then Malinski.

After the game, he was sent down. Generally, I think the Avalanche have to be very happy with what they’ve seen, but it’s an asset management thing. Caleb Jones has to go through waivers, and Malinski doesn’t, so it’s just easier to send him down.

+ Sam Girard’s Return is Near

Malinski’s demotion almost certainly means Girard will play next game. I’m interested to see how they set up the blueline now, because Manson’s game has really elevated since Girard took his leave. Having another defenseman around that can eat up a lot of ice time is a good thing for this team.

– That MacKinnon Giveaway

think I know what Nathan MacKinnon was trying to do on the play. If you watch it, it looks like he’s expected Jonathan Drouin to support him a little higher up, so he dropped it to where he thought he would go.

Drouin didn’t go there.

Not a great giveaway at all, but the team managed to survive on a night where the big guns not only didn’t score, but were responsible for the goal against.

+ Ryan Johansen

Credit where credit is due, Johansen chips in with two points on a night where they were desperate for any scoring. It’s the two ways he can definitely contribute to this team, but the first one certainly hasn’t been visible enough of late. One, going to the front of the net, and two, winning face-offs. He didn’t have a very good face-off game otherwise, but that one mattered.

– Everything About That Penalty Shot

I’ll be honest, I’m still confused how that play, of all plays, ended up a penalty shot. I don’t think Maceachern threw his stick. On the replay, it looked like the force of Makar’s skating combined with the stick hitting it caused him to just drop it. To actually see that call get made is maybe the biggest surprise, because you could probably go another year and not see it again in the NHL.

And then you have Cale Makar’s attempt. It didn’t look like there was much to it. I’m not even sure Binnington had to move his glove at all, which I guess is good positioning by him, but thought there might be a little more to it than what we got.

The whole buzz of a penalty shot was killed because Altitude cut to a commercial, and then cut right back and all of the sudden Makar had a penalty shot out of nowhere. Just strange stuff all around.

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