Avalanche Swim with the Fishes, Lose 5-3 to Sharks - Colorado Avalanche Updates, News and Game Reviews at Avs Talk

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Avalanche Swim with the Fishes, Lose 5-3 to Sharks

If there's one lesson the Avalanche have yet to learn this year, it's how to clear the damn crease.

In tonight's 5-3 loss to the San Jose Sharks, 4 out of 5 goals can be attributed to an inability to clear the crease of the puck and/or opposing players.

Goal #1 - The Sharks came screaming across the blueline, moving the puck from one side of the ice to the other and Michalek roofed it with a great shot. Solid play by the Sharks and the Avs appeared unready for their speed.

Goal #2 - Ehrhoff broke in, Budaj made the save but the puck sat on the goal line and Setoguchi tapped it in unimpeded as Foote had put himself out of position trying to toss a big hit.

Goal #3 - Salei lays down on the ice - literally, he just laid down like it was nap time - and can't get back up in time to help out in front. Hannan was caught off to the side after a flop of his own trying to block the pass to make up for his giveaway. Setoguchi has an easy tap-in for his second of the game.

Goal #4 - Tucker lost his stick, Foote felt it was a good time to pass him the puck and things went downhill from there. Blake read the play, fed the puck to Cheechoo who fired it on net. Budaj made the save but the rebound hung around in the crease and as David Jones and John-Michael Liles couldn't clear the puck or Michalek from the crease, Michalek banged home his second goal of the game.

Goal #5 - Patrick Marleau fed Mike Grier who fired it on Budaj from the hash marks. Budaj made the save but the rebound again hung in a very bad area and Leopold had terrible positioning on Clowe who buried it past Budaj quite easily.

The Sharks are a hell of a team, but this was a poor defensive effort from the Avs in their own zone. It needs to change because I'm tired of bitching about it.

EDIT: Just reading through the game thread @ MHH and texacogirl notes:
"Since I’m the only one here who can see the post game, Lappy just called out the D for not playing the game they are supposed to. Lappy noted the D is not making the right plays and is backing off instead of jumping in. He even went as far as to say it is an issue of individual preparation. He looked kinda pissed."

Finally Laperriere had enough of saying "Everything is fine" and blew off some steam. Some truth steam.

TSN turning point
Goal #4 was the real killer of the night, not goal #5 IMHO. The Avs had come out firing and cut the lead to one early in the third but the Sharks were able to answer back within five minutes to keep the game two goals out of reach for the Avs. It was like watching Sisyphus trying to push a rock up a hill.

When a team gets a two goal cushion to start the game, they'll win 95% of the time, every time. 

Pinball machine
Though Budaj played a sharp game and made some excellent saves, he was not very Hoover-ish tonight. He left some juicy rebounds sitting in front and as much as the D need to clear those, he needs to work on gobbling up more shots.

Line switching
Tony Granato pulled a page from the Q-book as he shook up the lines late in the second and all throughout the third.

Let's just say the shift chart from DD for the third period should be interesting. 

David Jones was a -3 on the night and was planted on the bench for most of the third period.

Liles was the ice-time leader with 23:54.

Ryan Smyth fired off 6 shots and was working hard all game long, as per usual.

Patrick Marleau won only 33% of his draws tonight. His overall percentage is above 60% so tonight was a bit of an anomoly for him.

Joe Sakic went 11 for 16 for a 69% winning percentage. Heh.

There were only 5 total penalties in the game.

The Avs got off 36 shots to the Sharks 29. The difference? The Sharks cleared rebounds/bodies from the crease.

Next game
The Avs will roll into Chicago late tonight as they face the Blackhawks tomorrow at 8:30 ET. 

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Draft Dodger said...

"Let's just say the shift chart from DD for the third period should be interesting. "

yeah, it was a bit of a mess.

Svatos, for example, had shifts on 3 different lines.

Draft Dodger said...

the link for the above shift chart

Jibblescribbits said...

For the brief moment we saw it, I really liked the Hejduk-Sakic-Wolski line. It was quite the eye opener to see how much a difference a good RW can make on that line (and yes I'm starting to give up on Darcy Tucker)

Jibblescribbits said...

I'm glad you documented the 5 goals... wait that was my angle this morning, no I'm not.

Shane Giroux said...

Yeah, Tucker for Bruno looks worse and worse every day.

Why he stayed up on the top line for so long, I'm not sure.

Granted Jones and Svatos haven't been playing terribly well but why not try a game - not a shift - with Svatos on the wing with Wolski and Sakic.

Svatos is withering away on the third line and while he's no Hejduk, he does know how to bury goals when playing with teammates who generate chances.

Magnum said...

It is probably time to try Svatos on the Sakic line. If that doesn't work, it's either time for a trade or a call up. The Smyth line can't be relied on to do all the scoring every night, but that's how things have been. Also, it's time to take Jones out of the line-up in favor of someone else. Only 1 goal and a -8 in 10 games is about as bad as it gets.

I also attribute this loss alot more to Peter Budaj than the defense. Don't get me wrong, it wasn't a memorable game for the Avs blue line, but Budaj needs to stop some of those. That first goal was sad, and if his rebound control was better alot of the crap he lets in wouldn't go in. If some other starter was in net last night, do they let in the same 5 goals on 29 shots that Budaj did? I kinda doubt it.

Mike at MHH said...

I didn't see the first two goals, so I can't intelligently comment on those, but some of you guys really need to remove your heads from your asses when it comes to talking about 'rebound control'. There isn't a goalie in the league, no IN THE HISTORY OF THE GAME, who can magically make pucks stick to their leg pads. Period, the end. You can't "Hoover" pucks when the shots are low, along the ice and labeled for one post or the other. You make the save and try to put it in one corner or the other. The problem last night, and so far for the Avs this season, is that Budaj is facing shots from prime scoring real-estate down the middle of the slot, he makes the first, and sometimes second, save and when his defensemen are falling all over the place to avoid actually playing defense, he's going to give up second and third chances JUST LIKE EVERY OTHER GOALIE IN THE LEAGUE! I put maybe one of the goals on him last night for legit rebound issue.

Also, when a goalie makes a save on a high-percentage shot (like Boots was doing all night last night), he shouldn't be expected to rob, the sure goal, make a perfect deposit with his rebound control, and remove all scoring chances from the realm of possibility. At some point the other five guys on the ice have to do SOMETHING to help the team win and that didn't happen last night, or in the last two or three games.

Also, FYI if a goalie makes a pad or blocker save and the rebound stops about two to three feet in front of him, that IS rebound control. He didn't kick it out to the high slot or one of the face-off circles where his defensemen would have to scramble over or radically change direction. He put it at his D's feet and they didn't do dick with it.

Shane Giroux said...

Sorry, jib ;)

Mike, why don't you tell us how you really feel? ;)

My comments on rebound control - which I'm not sure was part of your anger - is regarding shots he takes to the body but still pop out.

He's been hit and miss in games where he'll sometimes snag a shot that hits him in the chest, and other times it will pop out. I may not be a goaltender but I've seen ones on tv. And the good ones don't let those escape from their clutches.

This loss is not at all on Budaj IMO but I felt remiss if I didn't note he left a few sitting there that I don't think he should have. Not on the goals that went in, but on other plays.

I'll try and clarify better next time ;)

Shane Giroux said...

"That first goal was sad"

That first goal was a brilliant shot. It's one of the best spots to beat a buttefly goaltender b/c there's no way they can get their blocker/shoulder that high once they've dropped down.

Jibblescribbits said...

Agree with Shane, disagree with Magnum. A rocket in the top corner over the stick-side shoulder within an inch of the top post, and within 2 of the side post will be given up by every goalie in the league.

(The Sharks broadcast had a great replay in intermission that showed the shot from behind Michalek)

For What it's worth, both sharks announcers made a point to say there was nothing Budaj could have done.

Jibblescribbits said...

I have no idea why, but when I comment i can't get it to link back to my blog with the new embedded comments...

Magnum said...

That shot was no rocket. Obviously he aimed for the right spot, but the facts are the facts- it was an unscreened slap shot from the top of the circle. Even the Sharks announcer sounds surprised to be announcing the goal.


Jibblescribbits said...

That shot was no rocket. Obviously he aimed for the right spot, but the facts are the facts- it was an unscreened slap shot from the top of the circle. Even the Sharks announcer sounds surprised to be announcing the goal.

Funny, less than 10 seconds later their exact word describing the shot was "rocket by Michalek" and "No one was stopping that one" (I live in SJ and have SJ the broadcast saved on my TiVo.)

Also you just say it wasn't a rocket, yet you say it was a slap-shot. How many slap-shots aren't rockets?

Shane Giroux said...

Thanks for the link, Magnum. I wish those highlights showed the reverse angle shot. It gives a great view of how well placed that shot was.

I've been contemplating today whether people are being too defensive of Budaj but in this case, there was next to nothing he could do to stop that shot.

Mike at MHH said...

My anger wasn't directed at anyone in particular, Shane. Maybe it's all the election coverage and pundits who are self-proclaimed experts, but I have a low tolerance for rhetoric lately, and I feel the 'rebound control' line is something that AD and others have spoon fed some of the message board trolls.

Did Budaj have problems in the game? You betcha. Did those problems lose them the game? No chance in hell. Could the absence of those problems won the game for the Avs? Unlikely, since the Avs only played about 57.6% of the game last night (where the usual suspects like Smyth, Wolski, Liles, and the Duke accounted for the majority of that percentage), while the entire Sharks roster played a full 60 minutes.

Shane Giroux said...

Is there some sort of election afoot? I know there's been a super dysfunctional, long-running soap opera playing on many news channels lately...

Yeah, the DP's comments seemed to hang the goals more at Budaj than the D which is very much wrong.

When you've got a respected guy like Lappy lashing out at the D, it's pretty safe that's where the problem lies.

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