The Colorado Avalanche dropped a 6-3 decision in Pittsburgh tonight in a game that was eerily familiar to last week’s game in Colorado.
The Colorado Avalanche’s winning streaks ended tonight. Colorado had won six in a row on the road, hadn’t lost in regulation in 11 games, and had points in the last 11 games.
This game was a weird replay of the game on November 28. The score is 6-3, and there was a hat trick. Unfortunately, both hat tricks belonged to Penguins players. Also unfortunately, the team earning the hat trick won tonight whereas they’d lost the previous game.
So much went right for the Pens and wrong for the Avs, though Colorado fought hard. Let’s look at the keys to the game and then some specific observations.
There were a total of 77 shots in the game 32 for Pittsburgh and a whopping 45 for Colorado. So, yeah, defense wasn’t quite what it could be. In fact, it looked like this:
As you can see, there were attempts all over the place on both sides.
That said, for all the offensive hockey happening tonight, Colorado Avalanche defensemen weren’t bad. They all had positive CorsiFor percentages.
Let’s be honest. Goalie Semyon Varlamov sometimes wins games for the Colorado Avalanche. And he sometimes loses games for the Avs. This was the latter situation. He let in six goals on 32 shots, including a start of three goals on nine shots. He finished with a .813 save percentage.
And at least a couple of those goals he should want back.
I think it’s safe to say Philipp Grubauer will be getting the start in Florida.
Top Line En Fuego
Not tonight it wasn’t. In fact, I joked in my pregame post that the Nova Scotia rivals, Nathan MacKinnon and Sidney Crosby, would be pretty quiet tonight after the buildup I gave them. For the most part, they were as neither got a point.
Indeed, for the Avs, all the scoring came from secondary players. Mikko Rantanen and Gabriel Landeskog go assists on Tyson Barrie‘s power play goal, but that was as good as it got for the En Fuego line.
Coach jared Bednar seems to have demoted Alexander Kerfoot, and it’s not doing anyone any favors. He’s been on the fourth line for the last two games. Tonight he played with Vladislav Kamenev and Gabriel Bourque, while in Detroit Sven Andrighetto was in for Kamenev. Kerfoot is too smart a player to be with rookies/role players. He’s not going to do anything on a fourth line like that.
Matthew Nieto has found his stride the last couple games. tonight he scored a short-handed goal to tie the game:
What is J.T. Compher? Man, when the Colorado Avalanche got him as part of the Ryan O’Reilly trade, I thought he was a bit of padding — like the free samples they give you at some stores. I didn’t realize he’d become a meat-and-potatoes player. He is a difference-maker on the ice.
I’ve lost my patience with Patrik Nemeth again. He may be all charming as Nemo on social media, but he’s frustrating as all get-out as an Avs defenseman. Whenever he’s on the ice I’m just waiting for whatever caveman play he’s going to make. For the love of hockey, put Mark Barberio back in — at least he has flashes of brilliance.
The Colorado Avalanche had a day off yesterday with no practice. I’m guessing after tonight’s showing they shouldn’t expect another day off tomorrow in Florida. They’ll face the Panthers on Thursday.