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Avalanche Game 46 Plus/Minus: Drouin, Rantanen Struggle; What Is Offsides?



Avalanche Bruins

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 Boston Bruins for the Colorado Avalanche.

– Jonathan Drouin

During this hot streak, Drouin has been remarkably consistent with his effort and his ability to create chances. On Thursday night, the issue wasn’t effort, but more than he didn’t have his hands at all. On the broadcast, they kept talking about how Drouin was “flying” out on the ice, and he was moving just fine, but he was a bit of a turnover machine, and struggled to catch some passes.

Perhaps part of this is fatigue, as I thought the energy level for most of the top guys looked pretty low. He’s been playing a ton of minutes lately, not something he’s done in recent years, but Thursday was definitely an off-night for him.

– Mikko Rantanen

After every game, win or lose, I look at my mentions on social media and there are a lot of complaints about Rantanen. People feel that while he’s racking up points pretty much every night, he’s not as impactful as he could be. I don’t necessarily disagree, but I also think some of these veterans have learned that during the regular season, you don’t need to empty the tank.

On Thursday, Rantanen just wasn’t at his best. Not even close. No shots on goal, and clearly out-performed on the other end of the ice by David Pastrnak. It’s highly likely that Rantanen gets at least what Pastrnak is making when it comes time to sign an extension, and the numbers show he’s probably earned it, but with that will come even higher expectations every night.

+ Wood/Colton/O’Connor

Something about this trio just works together, and they were far and away the best line for the Avalanche on Thursday. It’s pretty simple stuff. Get the puck in deep, battle to get it back, and crash the net.

The Avalanche have a good first line, and with these guys, it appears they have a pretty dependable third line. It’s just about figuring out what’s going to happen in between the first and third lines prior to the trade deadline.

– The Offsides Review

If you’re like me, you looked at that offsides review and thought that goal wasn’t going to count. However, it was kind of an in a gray area because he tapped the puck to himself. The question then becomes – what is possession?

Here’s the explanation from the NHL.

Video review confirmed Pavel Zacha had possession and control of the puck as he entered the attacking zone prior to Jake DeBrusk’s goal. Rule 83.1 states in part, “a player actually controlling the puck who shall cross the line ahead of the puck shall not be considered ‘off-side,’ provided he had possession and control of the puck prior to his skates crossing the leading edge of the blue line.”

That tap between his legs is the only touch he had right around the blueline. Is that enough to be considered possession? I guess so, according to the NHL.

This play happened a while before the puck actually went in the net, so the Avalanche had plenty of chances to stop the goal from even happening, but offsides reviews just always seem to come with controversy. This one ended up being the game-winning goal, so definitely played a big part in the game.

– Josh Manson

Manson has been living on the edge of late when it comes to taking penalties. The refs have been letting a lot of things go with him in the corners, particularly with the cross-checks, but on Thursday, he got busted twice and the last one was a real killer. I’m not so sure the Avalanche were going to come back in that game either way, but as soon as the Bruins extended their lead to two, it was over.

– Jack Johnson

I really don’t think Johnson is in any danger of losing that sixth spot on the Avalanche blueline, but I also think he’s 37 and doesn’t really need to be playing every night. To date, he and Devon Toews are the only two defensemen to dress in every game. He left the Toronto game with a lower-body injury, and I thought he looked a little slow on both Tuesday and Thursday. You have Caleb Jones for something like this, and I think it makes sense to use him.

– First Period

Spotting a team like the Boston Bruins three goals in the first period is not a recipe for success, and it burned the Avalanche on Thursday. It was clear Boston came out with a gameplan to crash the net on the backdoor. I couldn’t even tell you how many times they tried to find the crashing winger at the back post in the first 20 minutes. Colorado caught on and found their legs in the second period, but they weren’t playing the Ottawa Senators this time. A period like that can be the difference against a good team.

– Alexandar Georgiev

This one isn’t all on Georgiev. While the first period was bad, the first five minutes were brutal, and the Avalanche hung him out to dry. Turning the puck over directly to David Pastrnak in the slot is a nightmare scenario less than a minute into the game, and that’s what they did.

Still, we sit here a day later and see another sub .900 performance from him, and another night where four goals get past him. When the Avalanche pushed in the second period, Jeremy Swayman stopped 17 of 18 shots to slow them down. Georgiev made some big saves once the Bruins got to three goals, but it has to be getting a little tiresome for the players knowing that they need at least four goals to win on most nights.

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