Avalanche Observations: Valeri Nichushkin’s Dominance, Cale Makar’s Numbers, and More

While playing, the avalanche they look like a team that feels free on the ice, especially in a 7-0 loss in Game 2 that saw them skate circles around an elite tampa bay club. Colorado also looks like a team that refocuses immediately after wins. That’s part of the reason the team is 14-2 this postseason: Coach Jared Bednar’s club has stayed committed no matter what happened in the previous game.

Meanwhile, Tampa has back-to-back championships for a reason. So the Avalanche know their focus can’t waver just because they have a 2-0 series lead.

star defense Cala Makar he embodied that mindset in his postgame television interview with ESPN’s Emily Kaplan on Saturday. When asked if Colorado would take any time to celebrate, she replied simply, “No.”

There is still a lot of hockey to play and still a lot to analyze. With that in mind, here are 15 observations heading into Game 3:

1. darcy kumper he faced just 16 shots in his shutout. According to NHL Statistically, that’s tied for the second-fewest shots faced in a Stanley Cup shutout since 1955-56, the first year included in the department’s tracked data. Patrick Roy is the only goalkeeper to make fewer saves in a Cup shutout: he stopped 15 pucks for the Canadians in 1985-86.

“This was probably one of our best games in the entire playoffs,” the netminder said. “We made some good adjustments since the last game and we were really able to play the way we wanted to. The guys were amazing tonight.”


Darcy Kuemper (Isaiah J. Downing/USA Today)

“We did a very, very good control,” erik johnson said. “We played as a five-man connected unit all over the ice.”

two. Colorado suffered another injury on Saturday when Andre Burakovsky took a Victor Hedman pass your hand Bednar said the winger is still being evaluated and will join the team Monday in Tampa.

nazem kadriwho underwent thumb surgery after Game 3 of the Edmonton series, traveled with the team on Sunday. Bednar said that he is hopeful of playing in the series, although he is not sure if he will be in the next two games.

“He’s starting to shoot pucks now and handle the puck more, catch it and release it, like pass and shoot,” Bednar said. “So we are hopeful that we will see it at some point.”

3. Burakovsky’s injury comes at an unfortunate time for the winger. He played excellently in the first two games of the Stanley Cup Final.

“I thought it was exceptional,” Bednar said of the minutes he played in Game 2. “When the play was there, he made it, and if not, he made the safe play and tried to get the puck in a position where we could get it back. and keep possession.

The coach recognized that Burakovsky is a player with ups and downs. But when he’s on fire, his ability to skate and shoot makes him hard to contain.

“He’s a guy who has hot streaks and he can be very dangerous offensively when he does,” Bednar said. “I know he wants to win and he’s playing hard and doing everything he can.”

Four. According to StatMuse, darren helm he leads the NHL in hits in these playoffs with 84. He had 12 in Game 2 to go along with a goal.

“He’s so motivated,” Makar said after the match. “He has been so good to us all season. Especially these playoffs now, playing a key role for us.”

Bednar said recently that Helm, while solid in the regular season, has found a new level in the playoffs. He has been a relentless presence in the last six and, with Kadri out of him, he has continued his strong play in the back row.

5. the athleticby Michael Russian wrote about Valeri Nichushkin after Game 2, and a dive into his underlying numbers makes his performance even more impressive. Tampa Bay didn’t record a single five-on-five try with him on the ice, and Colorado had 13 in that span, according to Natural Stats Trick. The Avalanche had 100 percent of the expected five-on-five goal quota with him on the ice, outscoring the Lightning 7-0 and outscoring Tampa 4-0.

6. How about this stat? With Makar and Hedman on the ice at the same time, Colorado had six shot attempts and Tampa had zero, according to Natural Stat Trick. And with Makar and Nikita Kucherov on the ice at the same time, the Avalanche had three shot attempts and Tampa had zero.

7. The big win gave Colorado a chance to give Makar some rest. He played 21:58, which is down from the 27:51 he was averaging since the start of Round 2. Bowen–Byrammeanwhile, he played a team record of 22:18.

8. alex newhook he picked up his first two points in the Stanley Cup Final. Although he is only 21 years old, he says he is not taking this opportunity for granted.

“I feel very lucky to be on a team, to be part of a team in this position in my first full year,” he said. “You never know if you will come back. So everyone is trying to stay focused, and we still have a lot of work to do.”

9. Bednar didn’t seem to like the Palate of Ondrej check out Makar in the third period, because he put the top power-play unit on the ice with a 6-0 lead. Makar ended the men’s time lead with a count.

10 Check out the heat map of the game:

eleven Mikko Rantanen he had another great game, recording three assists and showing off his dynamic ability to create plays. It’s worth rewatching this feed from Makar on the power play:

And check out his pass to Nichushkin in the second:

Rantanen now leads all Avalanche forwards with 22 points. Only Makar (24) has more.

“I thought I had been playing really well the last two games, but it’s far from over and individually it’s important to reset after every game and not think about the last game,” Rantanen said. “That’s the mentality we have (as a) team.”

12 Nathan Mackinnon he hasn’t put up crazy numbers on the scoresheet, but he’s continued to have a strong postseason and has two assists in the Cup final. He’s skating hard and creating chances, and Colorado had more than 80 percent of the expected goal quota with him. on the ice in Game 2. He also had a couple of near misses, including this pass to gabriel landeskog:

13 Jack Johnson said Saturday that he graduated from the University of Michigan this spring with a degree in general studies. The 35-year-old found ways to cut down on course work during his hockey career and said stats were the hardest course of his.

“What took me? 18 years old?” Johnson joked. “Most people are doctors at that point.”

14 If you are interested in how the tradition of singing “All The Small Things” began: Arena DJ Craig Turney He played the song once in the 2019-20 season and noted that fans picked it up and continued singing after he cut the music off, so he started playing it whenever the Avalanche had the lead in the third period. The crowd sang it last night:

fifteen. When asked if the Avalanche needs to guard against overconfidence, Erik Johnson had a good answer.

“We know they’re going to be a much better team at home than they were on the road, so we’re hoping to have their best games here in 3 and 4, so nothing changes from our point of view,” Johnson said. “What are we (over) confident about? We haven’t won anything yet.”

(Top photo of Valeri Nichushkin behind the Lightning Network: Isaiah J. Downing/USA Today)

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