Colorado Avalanche: Game 6 Team and Player Analysis


The Colorado Avalanche played the Carolina Hurricanes last night, and came out with a goose egg for goals, but one point in the basket at least. The game started out slow, and continued that way with both teams going goalless through three periods. However 3-3 overtime proved exciting.

The game reached its conclusion in overtime when Victor Rask scored the game winner on a power move against Gabriel Landeskog (bad line change). Overall, the Colorado Avalanche played a pretty consistent game, and just came up short in OT on a bad line change with tired players.

Game Notes:

— The Colorado Avalanche went 0/4 on the power play, but 5/5 on the PK

— The Carolina Hurricanes mimicked the Avs special teams production with a perfect PK and scoreless PP

— 3-3 hockey proved exciting for the Avalanche

— Cam Ward played outstanding for the Hurricanes

— The three stars were: Cam Ward with the shutout, Semyon Varlamov with the almost shutout, and Victor Rask, the guy that squandered Varly’s shutout.

Both teams wore a certain desperation, but the Colorado Avalanche warded the Hurricane’s effort in commendable fashion. Unfortunately, they ran into a hot goaltender, and were unable to convert on a few high-quality scoring chances.

Colorado Avalanche Players — The Good, The Decent, and The Ugly*

*Disclaimer: Only players that especially stood out in some fantastic, mediocre, or dismal fashion will reach this list, all others are considered out-of-sight to some inexplicable degree. Furthermore, there is no “the bad” in this addition…

The Good:

Semyon Varlamov: Well yeah, he did his job and stopped all but one of the 19 shots he faced. To Varly’s credit, Landeskog is by no means a defenseman. Anyway, Varlamov was not tested to any strenuous measure, and he proved ready to make standout saves when needed.

Matt Duchene: Dutchy had a good night, even with a rotating left winger (Jarome Iginla stuck on RW), which has become somewhat of a reality for Duchene this season. Mikko Rantanen put in a few quality shifts with Duchene to start the game, feeding Dutch for 3 shots toward the net. Jack Skille and Rantanen rotated 1st line shifts throughout the night. Oh, and there was that shot that Cam Ward said “NO!” to.

Related: Matt Duchene: What Does He Need to Succeed?

Erik Johnson/Francois Beauchemin: This pairing continued to eat minutes and play well defensively. Both Beauchemin and Johnson topped 23 minutes in ice time.

Nathan MacKinnon: MacK had another good game, he only managed 2 shots on net, but he was setting teammates up well and was flying on the ice as usual. His strength is noticeable as well. Still, MacKinnon made a few errant passes in the offensive zone that led to lost possession. Unfortunately MacKinnon also got caught leaving the ice early for Carolina’s OT goal. His play so far at center this season is cause for future excitement nonetheless.

Brandom Gormley: Wonderful debut for this kid, he’s got a high hockey IQ with smart plays up the boards to clear the zone. He also plays with a noticeable gap control. He’s 6 foot 2 and 196 pounds, so he should fit within Patrick Roy’s mold. He’s a much better option than Brad Stuart or the world’s most famous anchor, Nate Guenin.

The Decent:

Nick Holden: He played the most minutes for the Colorado Avalanche last night, and he looked decent in the situations he was placed in. The minutes he received are surely not representative of his role and should scamper to the side of the highway when Barrie comes back from his suspension. Nonetheless, he provides a necessary top 4 stop-gap in the meantime.

Jack Skille: He continues to impress me, and surely could have ended up on the good list, but the list is already too long. So, I scrounged up a reason for him to be on this list. He needs to incorporate his puck possession skills more often because that is his standout feature on this Avs roster so far. He played a good game, and earned some top minutes with Duchene, look for more from him.

Related: Avalanche Week 2: Backup, Skille Set, and Doctor for 3 Stars

Jarome Iginla: Iggs gets a tough review because he botched a breakaway at the beginning of OT that should have seen him scream a wrist shot from the high slot rather than try and dance his way in for a finesse goal. Besides this somewhat harsh criticism, Iginla had a solid outing with 4 shots on net, which was tied for the Colorado Avalanche lead last night (Erik Johnson).

Nikita Zadorov: Zads barely makes this list because he could have easily been placed with Clint Eastwood’s Ugly band below. However, only one player will make that list, and he tried to bring Zadorov along for the ride. Zads provides much more inspiring minutes when paired with capable defenseman, simple.

The Ugly:

Nate Guenin: I was going to keep this short… I think he would be a fantastic AHL player, I really do. He might even help Chris Bigras on his way to becoming an elite NHL player. Or perhaps he’d be more suited to a mentoring job along the rhythm of Mason Geertsen — his play style is more to the tune of Guenin’s. One thing is for sure however, he has no business in the NHL, and it’s painfully obvious, move on.

A Few Notes from Patrick Roy’s Post-Game Presser*

*I was writing this article during some of his presser (and it was on mute sadly), so if there is anything glorious that I missed then fill in the blanks in the comment section please. 

Patrick Roy answered a couple questions regarding some of my interests above:

In regards to Holden’s ice time, with a dash of Gormley spice:

"“[Nick] Holden and [Brandon] Gormley played really well… they deserved their ice time."

Discussing Matt Duchene’s game, and his season moving forward:

"“[Matt Duchene] had some chances tonight, if he continue like this, I’m sure he’s going to be fine. He works hard out there and plays well in his own end. I’m sure the goals will come”"

The Colorado Avalanche players expressed positivity with their game, while yielding to the disappointment of loss that inevitably leaves behind a sting, a twinge to win the next one. Patrick Roy echoed this in his post game presser, acknowledging the effort while also conceding to the let-down of defeat.

How Did the Colorado Avalanche Play?

The Colorado Avalanche have to be pleased with their effort last night, they played a good game, battled hard, and limited their opposition. Unfortunately, they were unable to capitalize on any of their chances, with Matt Duchene’s attempt — that will be on highlight reels — and Jarome Iginla’s botched breakaway at the forefront.

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However Varlamov played well, and the team limited the Hurricanes to 19 shots, which is a grand improvement on the first 5 games in which the Colorado Avalanche were outshot in each.

Nonetheless, they were also facing an opponent whom they should beat if they truly want to make the playoffs, so an OT loss is certainly a disappointing result.

Luckily, the Avalanche have the chance to rebound rather quickly with a game scheduled for Saturday night.

What’s on Tap for the Colorado Avalanche?

The Colorado Avalanche hit the ice next against the Columbus Blue Jackets at the Pepsi Center. As of writing this, the Blue Jackets are 0-7 (they will face the Wild before the Avalanche), and just made a dramatic coaching change. Todd Richards was shown the door, and John Tortorella — named coach of Team USA at the World Cup of Hockey — was hired to grab the reigns of a team that has a lot of expectations.

So, nothing is certain in this game for the Colorado Avalanche, and the addition of Tortorella places the result of this game in the realm of ambiguity. Hopefully the Colorado Avalanche can pull a win out on home ice before they head to the road for a treacherous 11 out of their next 14 games.

What do you think Avs fans, how did the team look last night? Who were the players that stood out most to you? What will be the keys to Saturday night’s game? As always, your opinion is valued so voice it in the comments!

Next: 4 Keys to The Colorado Avalanche Homestand

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