These two games may well prove to be the strangest two of the season to write about. The Colorado Avalanche completely dominated the Arizona Coyotes across six periods of hockey, and the end result? The Yotes took three points home with them; the Avs recorded two.
Play those games 100 times and the Avs win them both in regulation 98 times out of 100. The two they do not both happened this weekend.
Arizona tallied a total of four goals across the two games. Those came from the stick of Samuel Girard, the stick of Devon Toews, the pants of Toews and the skate of Tyson Jost.
Jared Bednar’s team is in desperate need of puck luck right now, while the Coyotes seemingly have it in abundance.
How the Avs dominated the stat sheet
If you want an impression of these two games, the best place to find that from is the stat sheet. Ignore the score line and take a look at these.
- Across two full games, plus overtime in the second, Arizona put a total of 28 shots on goal
- Colorado registered 81 shots on goal over the same time period
- The Avs had 67 total shot attempts (including misses and blocks) on Monday night
- If you thought that was a lot, they had 84 on Wednesday!
- Nathan MacKinnon was on the ice for 43 of those 84; they have certainly missed his presence
- Specifically 5-on-5 on Wednesday, Arizona had just nine shots on goal
That paints the picture of what happened over these two games, and as already mentioned, if you play those games back, Colorado scores more than four total goals, and they win both games in regulation.
The @Avalanche held ARI to 14 shots for 2nd straight game
28 combined shots is 2nd fewest allowed by COL/QUE in consecutive games (25, Nov. 24-27, 2001 vs EDM/FLA)
Was 14th consecutive game that COL has allowed fewer than 30 shots, tying the franchise record set in 2000-01
— Brendan McNicholas (@bmcnich) March 11, 2021
Game one takeaways
The first game came on Monday night and resulted in a 3–2 success for the Coyotes.
The first point of note here is that the team missed MacKinnon and Cale Makar. It was one of those games where the team was frustrated, and needed a spark or bit of quality to bring them to life. Others can do this, but in terms of the most likely to do this, MacKinnon and Makar rank No. 1 and 2 on this team.
The team needed a push right at the end of the game to get back into things, and the feeling I got was that they were a little too tired to do it. Those playing more minutes than usual, Girard and Toews on the back end alongside Nazem Kadri, Valeri Nichushkin and others in attack, seemed to have little left to give.
This is not a complaint about these players at all; they can only do so much, and while MacKinnon can carry this team on his back when needed, these players cannot. Injuries have forced the Avs to play a number of individuals far more than they should, and that means they have nothing left in the tank when a final push is required.
I did not think the Avalanche lacked anything on Monday night, but felt they looked like a very tired team at the end of the game, a slight worry considering we are not even halfway through the season yet.
NHL Video Highlight – Derick Brassard scores a power-play goal against the Colorado Avalanche to make it 1-0. pic.twitter.com/0pC61IvTRg
— Coyotes Game Bot (@CoyotesGameBot) March 9, 2021
Game two takeaways
The second game on Wednesday resulted in a 2–1 overtime win for Colorado.
As far as the stats go, this was an even more dominating performance by the Avs and one they eventually took two points from. It was great to see No. 29 back on the ice, and he put up a dominating performance, driving a lot of the offensive play and double shifting at times, leading all forwards with 24:44 of ice time and 10 shots.
MacKinnon’s shot total of 10 was only four less than the entire Arizona team, which tells its own story.
One area of concern right now has to be the power play. On Wednesday, Bednar’s team had 9:55 of power play time, putting 17 pucks to the net, but just six of those got through to register as shots. They failed to get a goal, and from almost 10 minutes of power play time for a team with this many weapons (even minus Makar), that is simply not good enough.
— Colorado Avalanche (@Avalanche) March 11, 2021
Shooting in general has been a problem for the past few games, and reared its ugly head again here. Of the 84 pucks on net by the Avalanche, 20 were blocked, meaning that 64 of those got through. 46 of these hit the net, so the Avs missed the net a total of 18 times from 64 attempts.
However, the big area of concern will no doubt involve the figure of 46 shots on target. If you are getting this many pucks on goal and only scoring two goals from them, you have a problem, albeit a short-term one.
It is worth pointing out here that multiple players in Colorado have 30-goal seasons behind them. MacKinnon and Andre Burakovsky are known for having incredible shots, Brandon Saad and Gabriel Landeskog are known for picking up tips, rebounds and generally dirty goals. That is without mentioning Kadri and Mikko Rantanen. This is a temporary blip, not a shooting issue with the team.
Girard is the best defenseman this team has right now, and ended the game logging 29:33 of ice time. He is being pushed to the limit during this period by Bednar.
A special mention for Jacob MacDonald
There has been a lot of praise for Jacob MacDonald during his step up to the NHL. He is seen as a risk and reward guy, who will make mistakes and be found out defensively from time to time, but also has the ability to make offensive plays.
He is deserving of a special mention here because over the past two games, his underlying numbers have been outstanding.
Jacob MacDonald finished that period with 7 minutes of ice time. He's on pace for his biggest game this season.#Avs
— Scott MacDonald (@0ffScottFree) March 11, 2021
Monday night, the Avs gave up just two shots on goal when MacDonald was on the ice; on Wednesday it was even better, as they gave up just one when MacDonald was out there. To top things off on Wednesday, the team had 14 shots on goal while he was on the ice, four of those coming from MacDonald himself.
With each game played, it seems MacDonald is moving his game forward and working hard on his defensive play to limit the number of shots he gives up.