10 October 2011
I really really like this team (so far).
The Avs have come out of the gates flying. Yeah, they are 1-1, but I think they have played really played well so far, despite only scoring one goal on the season. But, in my biased opinion the Avs have also won at least 4 of the periods they played, and another was a toss up. The only period I feel the Avs have been handedly outplayed in was the third period against the Wings opening night.
Detroit Blog Winning It in Motown counted the scoring chances for the game, and seems to back up most of what I said. Although Detroit outchanced Colorado 7-4 in the second period (it felt 50/50 to me, but I didn't count so I'll concede the Avs were slightly outplayed in the second)
From my observations: I thought Stastny was a beast. He seemed to be all over the ice and I thought he was the best Avs player on the ice, IMO. (He started the game 4-0 in ES chances before slowly having Detroit get chances until he ended at 4-4. One of them being the EN GA). Of course Babcock changed his lines and put Zetterberg on Datsyuk's line 1/2 way through the game in order to counter Stastny. Don't believe me, check the Shift Charts. ) So in short, Stastny came out dominating and Babcock had to put two of the top 20 players on the planet on the same line against him, including a perpetual Selke candidate, in order to counter him.
In short, Stastny looked fantastic and would have scored had I not completely jinxed him. As soon as I said he looked great Stastny then put one across the goal line and not in.
One thing that surprised me about Hejda was how calm he was with the puck. He was so patient it was noticeable. In fact that seemed to be a reoccuring theme for the team on opening night. I thought EJ wasn't very good, and Jibblewife summed him up best "He looked Anxious"... Perfect description. Ryan O'Reilly, I thought, had a fantastic night.
(Here's the scoring chances total for the team:
Ryan O'Reilly had the best numerical night, a 7SF and 1 SA (this is all 5v5 or 4v5 and shots while on ice, not shots by the player). I thought this was justified, he looked terrific. Duchene and McClemet had the worst.
Avs players of the game: Varlamov, Stastny, O'Reilly
The Avs came out against the B's even better than they came out against the Wings. I don't have the possession numbers, but it wouldn't surprise me if the 1st period here was the best of the short season. It started with Ryan O'Byrne laying Zdeno Chara out. What a beautiful hit.
Great Googly-Moogly. I thought O'Byrne had a pretty solid night overall, to be honest.
Somehow the official scorers had Boston at 9 shots in the first period, but they must have been letting Jack Edwards count, because I don't think they had more than 2. The Avs were completely dominant.
The Stastny line was great again, and Kobasew looks to be a decent pickup so far. I'm still nervous about him, but I thought he's played well. David Jones seems to be a little better at holding onto the puck, which takes pressure off of Stastny. Stastny and Erik Johnson both hit the iron in the first period.
Varlamov has been very very good so far. Not much else to say.
The Duchene line was a lot better in this game than against the Wings. I thought they struggled on opening night a bit (and the possesion numbers back that up). Against the B's they had a better night and it paid off with a goal.
The 3rd and 4th lines were solid again.
Avs Players of the game: Varlamov, O'Byrne, Hejduk.
Some people might be concerned the Avs have only been able to put 1 goal on the board. I'm not that concerned. They have run into two goaltenders on solid nights, and have hit at least 3 posts in two games. Sometimes unlucky happens. The most important thing is that they have played two very good teams really well. If they can play that way all season the Avs will be back in the playoffs for sure.
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