Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Avalanche v. Canadiens - Scoring Chances #7

This particular recap was a bit of a struggle. For some reason the application created by Vic Ferrari didn't work properly on this game and so I decided to create the charts manually. It was actually a very good exercise for me as now my thanks directed in Vic's general direction are much more sincere. Thank you so much Vic for, basically, making this project manageable. For Olivier's sake, I hope the problem isn't with reading the gamesheets from Montreal.

As for the game itself, I thought that this game was interesting mostly for the officiating. On Montreal's second goal it looked an awful lot like the puck hit the netting and yet play was allowed to continue. On top of that, Max Pacioretty blatantly slashed Kyle Quincey's stick out of his hands while he was trying to cover a passing lane. The Avalanche were understandably upset at this turn of events. Later in the game it seemed that the refs were trying to make up for this oversight by not calling any penalties against the Avalanche and then making an absolutely terrible call against the Canadiens with about 2:30 left to play. Fortunately for the Habs, Darcy Tucker decided he'd even things up by slashing someone in the chest. Tucker's whole game was terrible. On top of that stupid and unnecessary penalty he was also -6 on scoring chances and played two largely ineffective minutes on the power play. But I digress. Anyway, once the Canadiens pulled their goaltender they opted to play with two extra attackers instead of just one. You'd think that the refs would call a penalty but the game actually finished with an extended 7 on 5 attack. Just a brutally officiated game.

For the Avalanche, the most notable change to the lineup was the insertion of Ryan Wilson for J-M Liles on defence. Wilson filled in admirably at EV which is about all you can ask for from a depth defender. However, the Avalanche power play was, for the first time this season, abysmal. In about six minutes of power play time they weren't able to generate even one scoring chance. It will be interesting to follow this over the next several games and when Liles returns. If he really makes that much difference to the Avalanche on the power play, he's a much more valuable defender than I had at first imagined. The Avalanche actually broke even at EV but got mauled on special teams, the opposite of their winning formula to this point in the season. If the power play can't keep clicking, the Avalanche will likely have trouble playing .500 hockey for the rest of the year.

T.J. Hensick is having trouble getting into the lineup because Joe Sacco thinks that it's valuable to dress David Koci. Foolishness. As foolish as Paul Mara forgetting that the game is about scoring the most goals and not punching the most people in the head. The winning goal came off a sequence in which Mara apparently decided the opposite was true. Nonetheless, congratulations to Ryan O'Reilly for his first career NHL goal.

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