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Avalanche Game 72 Plus/Minus: Nine Seconds, MacKinnon Ends Suspense



Avalanche Canadiens

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 Montreal Canadiens for the Colorado Avalanche.

Sean Walker and Jack Johnson

It’s been great for Walker so far, but Tuesday night was a bit of a rough showing for him and his defensive partner. His passes were just a little off, and while he was jumping into the play a ton, the plays just weren’t completely connecting. Defensively, that third pair was on the ice for a ton of chances against. 11, to be exact, which is half of the chances that the Canadiens generated at even strength.

The final nine minutes were some that Walker would probably want to forget, as he spent six minutes in the box. Not every game will be perfect, and he’s been a dynamite addition so far, so you just move on to the next game.

+ MacKinnon Ends The Suspense Early

The last few games, Avalanche fans have had to wait until the third period to see if Nathan MacKinnon would extend his point streak. Tuesday, he wasted no time, getting it done just 43 seconds into the game. Granted, that was one of the few times Avalanche fans were able to cheer on Tuesday, but it was nice to not have to worry about it.

– The Powerplay

They had their chances, at least in the first period, but not a great showing from the powerplay. It’s mostly the first unit that gets the ice-time, as they stayed out the ice for 3:20 of the first four minutes and weren’t able to shift the momentum back in Colorado’s favor.

During the second period powerplay, I heard some booing from fans when the Canadiens cleared the puck. That seems a little excessive to me for a team that just rattled off nine wins in a row, but it’s their money, so they can do what they want. It certainly wasn’t the most exciting game to come to.

– Energy Levels

Having less energy after a full day off doesn’t seem to add up, but the Avalanche didn’t look like a team that had a full tank of gas. Once that 30 minute mark of the game hit, it seemed like the chances for the home team started to fade, especially off the rush. Sunday was an emotional win against the Penguins, so it’s entirely possible they emptied the tank to get the two points then, but they didn’t look fully into it against the Canadiens.

– That Game-Tying Goal

The one thing the Avalanche haven’t been able to do of late is get a lead early and play with it. Well, they got the lead early against Montreal, but it lasted all of nine seconds. It was a pretty simple play, but Mittelstadt just got beat by Suzuki and lost positioning. I didn’t love the goal against Annunen, as he didn’t look set in his positioning, but that’s not the type of scoring chance you want to give up on the first shot.

+ The Penalty Kill

The Avalanche were forced to kill six minutes of penalties in the third period, and while it got a little hairy during the first penalty, they killed off the double minor penalty with relative ease. Since the trade deadline, the penalty kill has been perfect. Yakov Trenin, although not someone who has played center in the NHL with any sort of consistency, has proven to be a great face-off guy for the PK. Winning that first face-off and getting a clear makes a pretty big difference, because Colorado is so strong off the rush that they can deny entries.

The penalty kill, which dropped out of the top 10 for a little while, is back up to eighth place again. Having that dialed in heading into the playoffs would be a huge advantage for this team, because they can score at even strength.

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