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Colorado Avalanche

Avalanche Game 67 Plus/Minus: New Guy Line, Mean Manson



Canucks Avalanche

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 Vancouver Canucks for the Colorado Avalanche.

+ Duhaime-Mittelstadt-Trenin

Who knew a random collection of new players would be the most dominant line for the Avalanche? Trenin and Duhaime were credited with 11 individual scoring chances between the two of them, and Mittelstadt looked fantastic. This line was dominant on the ice, which is remarkable when you consider that the two wingers are bottom six guys. Maybe that’s why they struggled to finish, but that’s a story for another day. Trenin looked like a load to handle in front of the net for the Canucks.

As a line, they controlled 80% of the shot attempts on the night, and were only on the ice for two shots on goal against. It’s pretty easy living when you spend all your time at the other end of the ice. The most impressive part of it all is a lot of their minutes came against Elias Pettersson. That can’t be a good look if you’re the Canucks.

– Drouin Injury

This team suddenly went from having a lot of forwards to dressing a defenseman as a winger on Wednesday night.

Jonathan Drouin rolled his ankle pretty badly in the game Tuesday against the Flames, but managed to stay in the game. Anyone who has ever rolled their ankle knows that you can probably tough it out for the rest of the night, but it might start to swell up the next day. I’m sure that’s what happened with Drouin, who took warmups and just wasn’t able to go. The concern is that it just keeps getting worse. There might not be a worse injury than an ankle sprain, because it takes forever to heal.

Without Drouin, Lehkonen and Parise, the Avalanche were missing some of their more skilled wingers, so it makes the win even more impressive.

For those wondering, my understanding is Nikolai Kovalenko hasn’t quite left for North America, but will soon. My guess is the Avalanche told him to gather his stuff and meet them when they return from this road trip.

+ Sticking With It

Vancouver was putting their body in front of pretty much everything on Wednesday night, but they weren’t exactly generating a ton of chances for themselves. That’s why it was key for the Avalanche to just stick with it.

The shot attempts on the night were heavily lopsided in favor of Colorado, even through two periods. It’s just that Vancouver was capitalizing on their chances and Colorado wasn’t. That obviously changed in the third, but good on the Avalanche for sticking to their game and not changing anything.

– Two Goals On Two Shots

I wouldn’t put the blame on Alexander Georgiev for either of the first two goals, just like I wouldn’t put the blame on Justus Annunen for the early goals the night before, but early goals like that are tough to overcome. Colorado is a fantastic team at coming from behind, but you don’t want to do it every night.

I think Georgiev would want the third one back if he could, based on his reaction. He settled down late, although he didn’t have much work to do in the last half of the game, and made a great save on Hoglander to keep the game tied in the third period, but three goals on less than 10 shots against is far from ideal.

I do believe Georgiev has been a lot better of late with a bit more rest, and they’ll need him to be ready on Saturday against Connor McDavid and company.

+ Josh Manson

Canucks fans wanted him ejected after his hit on J.T. Miller at the end of the first period, but I’m not sure that was an ejection-worthy hit. The refs called it an “illegal check to the head,” but it looked like just boarding to me. I think that’s why Zadorov lined up and fought him in the second period, although I’m not so sure I’d call that a fight. More of a wrestling match than anything. Manson has to play with an edge to be successful, and that means he’ll end up in the box occasionally.

After that, Manson was an absolute monster in both ends. He didn’t pick up an assist, but he played a major role in the game-tying goal in the third period.

Look at the numbers when Manson was on the ice. The team controlled 85% of the shot attempts, which is a wild number for a defenseman. Big night for him.

+ They Look Like The Avalanche

Colorado obviously made other moves at the deadline, but the simple change of taking Ryan Johansen out of the lineup and putting Casey Mittelstadt in has made a huge difference. Now the Avalanche can play the way they want because they no longer have someone playing down the middle who doesn’t fit their system at all. Mittelstadt is far from a burner, but you can see his skill on display every night. He had a few plays in the offensive zone on Wednesday that dazzled a fair bit, mostly because of his hands.

Three games and three wins since Colorado made their moves. It’s early, but this team looks a bit different since the deadline.

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