CanesAvs111213

Game 18 By the Numbers: Avalanche at Hurricanes

There are a lot things to be happy about with last night's game. Not only did the Hurricanes win, but they got their first win against the Western Conference, handing the Colorado Avalanche only their third loss of the season. They also extended their point streak to four games and are starting to see some of their top forwards produce. The play of Justin Peters has also been very encouraging, as the goaltender has allowed only four goals over the last four games and came up big a few times last night. The Hurricanes aren't relying on Peters to steal these games for them but he has made a lot of timely saves and was a huge factor in them defeating the Avalanche in regulation last night. 

This was one of those games where the Hurricanes had some scary moments, but they did enough to win and showed that they can be competitive against good teams, something that was missing in late October. It all starts with a good game plan and the players executing it well.

Fenwick Chart from Extra Skater

Despite their records, the Hurricanes actually matchup well with Colorado at even strength and Carolina was able to control the play for the first 40 minutes of last night's game. They had a pretty big advantage in shots and were able to pin the Avs into their own zone for long periods of time. The Hurricanes were able to do this by taking advantage of the Avs weak point, that being their defense. Colorado has some amazing forward depth, but their defense corps is extremely vulnerable (Sarich & Benoit are their second pairing) and the Hurricanes wore them down by establishing a strong forecheck and forcing them to battle for loose pucks. This strategy hasn't always worked out for the Canes, mostly from poor execution, but it was effective against Colorado last night. The Avs strongest asset is their speed and Carolina was able to mitigate that by forcing them to play in their own end. Colorado eventually came alive after a couple of power plays in the third period, though and they gave the Canes a lot of trouble in the third period, despite coming up short in the end.

Scoring Chances

Period Total 5v5 PP 5v3 SH 3v5 4v4 EN
1 6 5 6 5 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
2 6 12 6 6 0 6 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
3 3 6 3 6 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Totals 15 23 15 17 0 6 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0

Being a strong transition team has its advantages, the greatest of which being the ability to create chances almost every time you have the puck. The Hurricanes know all about this from being division rivals with the Lightning and they saw a similar opponent in Colorado last night. There are long stretches where the Avalanche will get trapped in their own end but they have enough skilled & talented forwards to take advantage of any mistake their opponent might make. This is what they did against the Canes and while they only got one goal out of it, it could have easily been worse had it not been for Justin Peters.

Don't get me wrong, the Hurricanes played a very solid game when they had the puck and their forecheck looked better than it has ever had this year, but they are still a poor when being forced to play in transition and the Avs are the type of club who can expose that weakness.

Also of note is that the Avs created six scoring chances on the power play with under three minutes of power play time.

Hurricanes Individual Scoring Chances

Player Goals Shots Chances Attempts
Nathan Gerbe 0 5 3 6
Eric Staal 0 2 2 3
Drayson Bowman 0 2 2 2
Patrick Dwyer 1 2 2 6
Chris Terry 0 1 2 4
Ryan Murphy 0 4 1 9
Jordan Staal 1 1 1 2
Radek Dvorak 0 1 1 3
Alexander Semin 0 1 1 4
Andrej Sekera 0 2 0 4
Tuomo Ruutu 0 1 0 3
Jiri Tlusty 0 1 0 4
Riley Nash 0 0 0 0
Manny Malhotra 0 1 0 2
Justin Faulk 0 2 0 4
Jay Harrison 0 1 0 2
Ron Hainsey 0 1 0 2
Brett Bellemore 0 0 0 0

 

Hurricanes On-Ice Scoring Chances

# Player 5v5 PP SH
4 Andrej Sekera 17:35 7 10 0:32 0 0 0:40 0 2
7 Ryan Murphy 16:40 3 3 0:00 0 0 0:00 0 0
11 Jordan Staal 16:00 7 8 0:00 0 0 1:17 0 2
12 Eric Staal  17:18 4 3 0:32 0 0 0:00 0 0
14 Nathan Gerbe 14:24 6 7 0:00 0 0 0:55 0 4
15 Tuomo Ruutu 11:47 2 2 0:00 0 0 0:00 0 0
18 Radek Dvorak 10:00 3 4 0:00 0 0 0:28 0 0
19 Jiri Tlusty 16:41 3 3 0:00 0 0 0:00 0 0
20 Riley Nash 10:28 2 1 0:00 0 0 0:55 0 4
21 Drayson Bowman 13:12 3 3 0:00 0 0 0:00 0 0
22 Manny Malhotra 15:42 2 6 0:32 0 0 0:44 0 2
27 Justin Faulk 18:30 8 10 0:32 0 0 2:12 0 6
28 Alexander Semin 17:06 4 3 0:32 0 0 0:00 0 0
39 Patrick Dwyer 16:43 6 8 0:00 0 0 1:01 0 0
44 Jay Harrison 17:09 3 6 0:00 0 0 0:55 0 4
58 Chris Terry  10:49 3 3 0:00 0 0 0:00 0 0
65 Ron Hainsey 22:45 5 3 0:00 0 0 1:05 0 0
73 Brett Bellemore 21:11 4 3 0:00 0 0 0:28 0 0
35 Justin Peters  56:48 15 17 0:32 0 0 2:40 0 6

Best EV Forwards: Alex Semin, Eric Staal & Riley Nash +1

Worst EV Forward: Manny Malhotra -4

Best EV Defenseman: Ron Hainsey +2

Worst EV Defenseman: Andrej Sekera -3

The numbers may indicate that the first line led the way for the Canes but this game was really all about Jordan Staal, Nathan Gerbe & Pat Dwyer. These three combined for two goals and five of the Hurricanes scoring chances, showing that they were the team's offensive catalyst. They have been very good at creating chances all season but haven't seen any reward for it until last night, so it was nice to see these three finally have a good game on the scoresheet. Unfortunately, they also took a lot of damage in their own end courtesy of Matt Duchene's line. That's what happens when you draw the tough matchups, I suppose.

The same can be said for the Faulk/Sekera defense pairing, who were on the ice for over half of Colorado's even strength scoring chances but did a lot of positive things too. Carolina's best defense pairing, however, was Ron Hainsey & Brett Bellemore. These two spent most of the night matched up against Paul Stastny's line and made sure absolutely no Colorado players got to rebounds or any loose pucks in front of Peters. Hainsey did an especially good job at this, as he was manning the front of the net all night and made a few good stick plays to deny Colorado chances. I also thought Eric Staal & Riley Nash did a very good job of playing in their own end and helping out their defense.

Colorado Individual Scoring Chances

Player Goals Shots Chances Attempts
Nathan MacKinnon 0 9 7 16
Matt Duchene 0 5 4 7
Ryan O'Reilly 0 4 4 6
John Mitchell 0 2 2 3
Maxime Talbot 0 3 2 4
Paul Stastny 1 2 2 2
Jan Hejda 0 1 1 4
PA Parenteau 0 1 1 4
Nick Holden 0 0 0 1
Nate Guenin 0 0 0 1
Erik Johnson 0 2 0 5
Jamie McGinn 0 1 0 5
Cory Sarich 0 1 0 4
Marc-Andre Cliché 0 0 0 1
Cody Mcleod 0 1 0 1
Patrick Bordeleau 0 0 0 0
Andre Benoit 0 1 0 1
Gabriel Landeskog 0 1 0 6

Colorado On-ice Scoring Chances

# Player 5v5 PP SH
2 Nick Holden 13:05 5 6 1:14 0 0 0:00 0 0
5 Nate Guenin 13:31 4 6 0:00 0 0 0:00 0 0
6 Erik Johnson  27:31 11 7 1:26 6 0 0:00 0 0
7 John MIchell 14:40 6 4 0:02 0 0 0:00 0 0
8 Jan Hejda  25:11 11 6 0:02 0 0 0:00 0 0
9 Matt Duchene 17:45 10 6 1:04 0 0 0:32 0 0
11 Jamie McGinn 16:00 3 2 1:04 0 0 0:00 0 0
15 PA Parenteau 17:38 10 6 1:14 0 0 0:32 0 0
16 Cory Sarich 17:23 1 3 0:00 0 0 0:00 0 0
24 Marc-Andre Cliché 7:31 0 2 0:02 0 0 0:00 0 0
25 Maxime Talbot 15:29 6 4 0:02 0 0 0:00 0 0
26 Paul Stastny 16:50 1 3 1:34 6 0 0:32 0 0
29 Nathan MacKinnon 16:16 4 5 1:34 6 0 0:00 0 0
55 Cody Mcleod 6:52 0 2 0:00 0 0 0:00 0 0
58 Patrick Bordeleau 6:56 0 2 0:00 0 0 0:00 0 0
61 Andre Benoit 17:02 2 2 1:24 6 0 0:00 0 0
90 Ryan O'Reilly 17:06 10 6 1:09 0 0 0:32 0 0
92 Gabriel Landeskog  18:11 1 3 1:29 6 0 0:32 0 0
1 Semyon Varlamov  55:58 17 15 2:40 0 0 0:00 0 0

Best EV Forwards: Matt Duchene, PA Parenteau & Ryan O'Reilly

Worst EV Forwards: Gabriel Landeskog, Marc-Andre Cliche, Paul Stastny, Cody McLeod & Patrick Bordeleau -2

Best EV Defenseman: Jan Hejda +5

Worst EV Defensemen: Cory Sarich & Nate Guenin -2

This was one of those odd games where the shot numbers do not correlate with scoring chances, the biggest descrepancy being the play of the Avs first line. Going from a possession standpoint, Landeskog, Stastny & McGinn had a fantastic night but they generated only two scoring chances, one of them being Stastny's power play goal. I think this goes hand-in-hand with Carolina playing a strong game in their own zone and keeping the Avalanche from getting to any rebounds. Hainsey & Bellemore spent a lot of time against this line and did a pretty good job of keeping most of the chances to the outside. It wasn't a surprise to see Nathan MacKinnon promoted to this line late in the game, especially after he had seven total scoring chances through two periods.

Unfortunately, they didn't do the same with Matt Duchene's line, who had a bad night by shot attempts but made the most of their time with the puck by creating 11 scoring chances. Duchene & O'Reilly are both lethal when playing in transition, so it's not a surprise to see that they burned the Hurricanes a few times, even if they gave up a lot in their own end. I was hoping that Carolina could match up against them well with Jordan Staal's line & the Sekera/Faulk pairing, but the Avs appeared to get the better of this matchup going by chances. That said, Carolina got the last laugh with the win and Jordan's line producing two goals against this forward unit

One thing that helped that was Carolina catching the Avalance with a couple of bad matchups. I mentioned earlier that their defense depth isn't great and it showed on both Carolina goals as the Guenin/Holden pairing got exposed. Patrick Roy rid his first defense pairing of Erik Johnson & Jan Hejda for almost half of the game and while they played great, the rest of their defense corps struggled and the Hurricanes were able to take advantage of this.

Head-to-Head at Five-on-Five

Carolina won their matchups against the Stastny line and Colorado's second defense pairing but struggled when playing against the Duchene & Michell lines and the Johnson/Hejda pairing. Although, Jordan's line coming up negative against Duchene was more of a case of them trading chances than anything else, because that line produced about half of Carolina's even strength offense. It was also the fourth line which struggled against Michell rather than the entire team, which is still a little concerning but not as bad as it initially appears.

5v5 Zone Entries

Hurricanes

 

Player # of entries Shots generated Carry-ins Shots generated Dump-ins Shots generated Failed Entries
Sekera 3 0 0 0 3 0 0
Murphy 8 8 3 3 5 5 0
J. Staal 2 1 0 0 2 1 0
E. Staal 5 3 4 3 1 0 0
Gerbe 7 5 4 3 3 2 0
Ruutu 1 2 1 2 0 0 2
Dvorak 2 2 1 0 1 2 1
Tlusty 2 0 1 0 1 0 0
Nash 4 2 3 2 1 0 1
Bowman 4 4 1 3 3 1 1
Malhotra 3 3 2 2 1 1 0
Faulk 1 0 0 0 1 0 0
Semin 3 3 3 3 0 0 0
Dwyer 4 4 3 4 1 0 0
Harrison 0 0 0 0 0 0 1
Terry 4 3 1 1 3 2 0
Hainsey 2 0 0 0 2 0 0
Bellemore 1 0 0 0 1 0 0
Team 56 40 27 26 29 14 6

Carolina had a ton of success when they carried the puck in, but their strategy seemed to be to get the puck deep and try to outwork Colorado's defense. They had some modest success with this, but most of their offense came when they were able to gain the line with control. Both Staal lines were able to do this often and Murphy also contributed by jumping into the play a few times. It's interesting to see that Jordan's wingers were the ones leading the zone entries on his line, though because it has been the opposite of that for most of the season.

Avalanche

Player # of entries Shots generated Carry-ins Shots generated Dump-ins Shots generated Failed Entries
Holden 1 0 0 0 1 0 0
Guenin 1 0 0 0 1 0 0
Johnson 2 1 1 1 1 0 0
Mitchell 6 1 5 1 1 0 0
Hejda 1 4 0 0 1 4 1
Duchene 7 6 5 6 2 0 2
McGinn 6 1 1 0 5 1 0
Parenteau 6 4 2 2 4 2 0
Sarich 2 0 0 0 2 0 0
Cliché 1 0 0 0 1 0 1
Talbot 7 2 4 1 3 1 1
Stastny 3 1 3 1 0 0 0
MacKinnon 9 6 6 5 3 1 0
McLeod 2 1 0 0 2 1 0
Bordeleau 0 0 0 0 0 0 1
Benoit 1 0 0 0 1 0 0
O'Reilly 3 4 2 3 1 1 1
Landeskog 6 3 4 3 2 0 1
Team 64 34 33 23 31 11 8

Colorado is a team built on speed and transitional play, thus you'll see them carry the puck in a lot and they did just that last night. Their third line actually led the way with 15 controlled zone entries, six of them coming from the young star Nathan MacKinnon. Although, it wouldn't surprise me if Roy encourages all of his forwards to do this because Talbot & Mitchell had nine combined controlled entries and neither of them strike me as skilled puck-handlers. The Hurricanes did a good job of limiting Stastny's line by forcing McGinn to dump the puck in quite a bit, though. 

5v5 Zone Exits

Hurricanes

 

# Player Pos. Touches Carry Pass Other Turnover Icing
4 Andrej Sekera D 15 2 0 1 2 1
7 Ryan Murphy D 21 4 5 1 1 1
11 Jordan Staal C 9 3 1 0 0 0
12 Eric Staal C 10 2 2 0 1 0
14 Nathan Gerbe C 6 5 0 0 0 0
15 Tuomo Ruutu R 4 1 2 0 1 0
18 Radek Dvorak R 5 0 0 0 1 1
19 Jiri Tlusty C 8 1 1 0 3 0
20 Riley Nash C 5 0 1 0 0 0
21 Drayson Bowman L 8 2 1 0 0 0
22 Manny Malhotra C 4 0 0 1 0 0
27 Justin Faulk D 19 0 3 2 0 1
28 Alexander Semin R 9 1 1 0 1 0
39 Patrick Dwyer R 9 0 0 0 2 0
44 Jay Harrison D 11 0 1 0 1 0
58 Chris Terry L 2 0 2 0 0 0
65 Ron Hainsey D 26 0 2 1 1 1
73 Brett Bellemore D 22 0 2 0 2 1
  Forwards   79 15 11 1 9 1
  Defense   114 6 13 5 7 5
  Overall   193 21 24 6 16 6

If there is one complaint I have with Carolina's play in their own end last night, it was that their defense looked really sloppy with their breakout attempts. They looked like they were in survival mode for most of the third period and had to ice the puck or simply clear it to the neutral zone many times. That isn't the worst thing in the world, but everyone except Murphy & Faulk had a really tough time when it came to advancing the play on their own. Although, they sort of made up for this by using their forwards to exit the zone instead, most of whom were very efficient when it came to getting the puck out.

Avalanche

 

# Player Pos. Touches Carry Pass Other Turnover Icing
2 Nick Holden D 9 0 0 0 0 0
5 Nate Guenin D 13 1 1 0 1 2
6 Erik Johnson D 40 2 13 1 2 2
7 John MIchell C 4 2 0 0 0 0
8 Jan Hejda D 26 1 2 0 4 0
9 Matt Duchene C 9 1 4 1 0 0
11 Jamie McGinn L 9 2 1 0 1 1
15 PA Parenteau R 9 1 2 0 1 2
16 Cory Sarich D 28 2 2 0 3 2
24 Marc-Andre Cliché R 3 0 0 1 1 0
25 Maxime Talbot C 3 0 0 0 0 0
26 Paul Stastny C 10 0 1 0 0 0
29 Nathan MacKinnon C 11 4 3 0 1 0
55 Cody Mcleod L 2 0 0 0 0 0
58 Patrick Bordeleau L 4 0 1 0 0 0
61 Andre Benoit D 19 1 5 0 1 0
90 Ryan O'Reilly C 13 0 3 0 2 1
92 Gabriel Landeskog L 14 5 2 0 1 0
  Forwards   135 7 23 1 11 6
  Defense   91 15 17 2 7 4
  Overall   226 22 40 3 18 10

I've been tracking zone exits for a little under two years now and there are only a few players who had as good of a game as Erik Johnson did last night. He was given a heavy workload and was incredibly efficient at finding the open guy in the neutral zone and making good plays out of his own end. His 13 successful breakout passes matches what the total for Carolina's defense corps, so that alone should tell you how good he played. The rest of Colorado's defense corps, however, wasn't so good. Andre Benoit was the only other blue-liner who successfully advanced the puck on 20% of his attempts and their third pair combined for only two zone exits. Jan Hejda also brought down their first pairing a little by turning the puck over four times. 

 

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