Game Thread

Game 53: Continue beating bad teams in Colorado

After barely squeaking out a win in Toronto, the Rangers are in Denver tonight to take on the Colorado Avalanche. The Avs sit in last place in the Central Division after making the playoffs last season. This isn’t that surprising, as most #fancystats folks predicted a monumental fall from grace, which was followed up by multiple humorous attempts to grab their first round pick.

Despite being a bottom feeder, the Avs have a scary amount of high-end offensive talent that can make you pay if you’re lazy. The issue with the Avs is with their defense and depth. Outside of that offensive talent, they don’t have much depth in their forward ranks. Their defense is questionable at best. Semyon Varlamov prevents a lot of goals though.

What have they done lately?

The Avs have lost three in a row and sporting are a 4-4-2 record in their last ten games. Both Dallas and Minnesota have passed the Avs in the standings as well. The reason why the Avs are a bottom feeder is also the same reason why their fall comes as no surprise: They are not a good puck possession team that relied heavily on goaltending and an unrepeatable SH% last year.

nyr col ff
Rangers are the top line, Avs the bottom.

The Avs have never sniffed 50% possession, and it shows, big time. It’s not like they’ve been hitting a string of bad luck either. Their PDO is just fine, right around 100 with the Rangers.

nyr col pdo
Rangers are the top line again, Avs the bottom.

Their PDO has fallen about two points in the last week or so, so that’s worth investigating to see if it’s goaltending related or shooting related. If it’s Varlamov, then we’d expect to see a drop in SV%, which we don’t:

nyr col sv
Rangers are actually the bottom line here, reflecting Talbot in place of Hank.

There’s a little drop, but nothing monumental. The drop for the Rangers, though, is expected. It’s the difference between Henrik Lundqvist and any other goaltender not named Henrik Lundqvist. As for the Avs’ shooting:

nyr col sh
The Rangers are the blue line that peaked at 12%.

That’s where the sharp drop is. The team was around 10% for a while, well above league average. They’ve come crashing back down to Earth at around 6% at even strength (usually PP SH% raises overall SH%). That sharp drop explains the drop in PDO, and when you couple that with poor possession, you have a team that is flawed.

Avs Systems

Patrick Roy has his boys running a very aggressive style of play. On the forecheck it is a straight 2-1-2 without sitting on leads. In the defensive zone, the Avs play straight man-on-man, so expect a lot of pressure and rushed/hurried decisions. On special teams, the Avs run a 1-3-1 power play and a hybrid penalty kill with very active defensemen.

Avs Lines

Gabriel Landeskog-Ryan O’Reilly-Nathan MacKinnon
Alex Tanguay-Matt Duschene-Jarome Iginla
Cody McLead-John Mitchell-Dennis Everberg
Max Talbot-Marc-Andre Cliche-Danny Briere

Jan Hejda-Ty Barrie
Brad Stuart-Zach Redmond
Nate Guenin-Nick Holden

PP1: Iginla-MacKinnon-ROR-Landeskog-Barrie
PP2: Tanguay-Duschene-Briere-Holden-Redmond

PK: ROR, Tanguay, Talbot, Cliche, Duschene, Mitchell, Everberg, McLeod, Holden, Hejda, Guenin, Redmond, Stuart

Semyon Varlamov gets the start.

Rangers Lines

Rick Nash-Derek Stepan-Martin St. Louis
Chris Kreider-Derick Brassard-Mats Zuccarello
Carl Hagelin-Kevin Hayes-J.T. Miller
Tanner Glass-Dominic Moore-Lee Stempniak

Ryan McDonagh-Dan Girardi
Marc Staal-Kevin Klein
Matt Hunwick-Dan Boyle

PP1: McDonagh, Stepan, Nash, Brassard, Zuccarello
PP2: Boyle, Girardi, Kreider, Hayes, MSL

PK: Stepan, Nash, Girardi, Staal, Moore, Fast, Hunwick, Boyle, Hagelin, Klein, McDonagh, MSL

Cam Talbot is in net.

Scratches/Injuries: Henrik Lundqvist (throat), Jesper Fast (leg), John Moore (healthy)

Be sure to check out our ticket link if you’re looking for tickets to the game. Game time is 9pm on MSG.

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  • This could be a sneaky game, and if we play like we did the other night, we may be in for a long evening!!!!!!!!!!

  • Wait, didn’t the PP lines change for us? Boyle and MSL to the second with Zucc and McD coming up?

    They better be ready. Avs won 4-3 last time. Granted, it was mid November, right before they really started heating up, but still.

    Also, that 4th line of theirs is hilarious.

    Max Talbot-Marc-Andre Cliche-Danny Briere

    Two ex-Metro players, and a guy named Marc-Andre Cliche. Awesome.

  • Dan Boyle with his 8th. marker of the year. His 8 goals in 36 games as a Ranger should make Ranger fans forget all about Stralman’s pittance 2 goals in his last 100 playing for New York. I sooner have a player on my team who can put the puck in the net, then a player with concrete hands, a soft shot but good looking fancystats.

      • Stralman didn’t produce squat in New York and check out the highlight reel tonight against St Louis. Anton was a human pilon.

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