Colorado Avalanche Defeat Buffalo Sabres: 5 Takeaways


1. The unique lines got results

Patrick Roy drastically jostled his line combinations, and at the end of the day, the new units were able to produce. The Avalanche have been looking for positive results, and tonight the bottom line is, they were able to score five goals and get a win.

Do I think playing Max Talbot with Nathan MacKinnon and Matt Duchene is a long term solution? Not really. After a night like tonight thought, you can’t argue with Patrick Roy for stirring the pot. His concoction smelled a bit funny when he cooked it up this afternoon, but I didn’t mind the taste of the offensive outburst that was on the table when all was said and done.

The Dennis Everberg scratch isn’t my favorite thing that Roy has ever done. That being said, Everberg hasn’t exactly been lighting things up of late. I’ll take Mitchell over Everberg any day. Cody McLeod earned his spot in the lineup with a nice shorthanded goal, and it was good to see Bordy back on the ice as well. Long term, I think Mac, Bordy, and Cliche is a bit redundant, and would prefer the Swedish kid with unruly hair over any of those three.

2. Tonight was a surface level win

The Avalanche win should be taken with a grain of salt. The Avalanche were outshot 29-23 by the worst possession team in the NHL. The Sabres season Corsi for percentage at 5-on-5 is 37%. However, they were able to out-Corsi the Avalanche 38-36 tonight. It wasn’t really tilted by score effects either. The Sabres outshot the Avs in every single period.

So, while the new lines “worked” when you look at the final score, I’m not entirely convinced at how seamlessly they were really working.

3. That being said, a win is a win. Tonight ended a drought of 6 losses in 7 games.

Like I said above, the formula wasn’t perfect. However, Nathan MacKinnon was able to make a nice play to set up Erik Johnson for the first goal of the game. That play doesn’t happen without the efforts of Talbot earlier on in the shift.

Alex Tanguay, Jarome Iginla, and John Mitchell were really clicking, especially in the third period.

From a playmaking standpoint, the guys were able to make plays on offense tonight. This team has been starving for guys to make plays. I don’t know if the line shuffle contributed, or if the guys were just due and had one of those nights. The Avalanche were opportunistic tonight, which got them a nice road victory. Buffalo had won 7 of their last 10 entering tonight’s game, so despite their poor overall record, they weren’t exactly a pushover.

4. Calvin Pickard finally gets some offensive support.

I lamented after the Penguins game, that poor Pickard deserves better from his team. Well, tonight he got it. The Avs plastered a big old five-spot on the scoreboard, and that was plenty for Picks.

Tonight, I lament the fact that Pickard was denied his first career NHL shutout on a goal late in the third period. If the formula repeats itself, we should be seeing a Pickard shutout in Detroit!

5. Who will pick higher in the draft?

The Avalanche currently hold a 2-point edge in the standings over the Sabres, and also have a game in hand. This means Buffalo is currently in line for better ping-pong ball odds come next summer.

The Avalanche certainly appear to be the more talented team on paper, so it would be a travesty for them to finish below Buffalo in the standings. That being said, I think the Western Conference is the tougher of the two top to bottom. The Avalanche haven’t been playing all that great, and haven’t been consistent at all this season. The Sabres have been on a bit of a hot streak themselves.

I still think Buffalo ends up with the better chance for the number one overall pick. As an Avs fan, it’s disappointing that this is even a relevant conversation.

Bonus Takaway!

It was fun to say “Balls” again every time Benoit’s name was mentioned. Benoit Balls! Shoutout to the Archer fans who get the reference.