Welcome back to another edition of Avalanche Film Room! Last time we went into the video room and talked about the progression Jean-Luc Foudy has made in the AHL this season as he continues developing into a player who may someday help the Avalanche.

Today, however, we’re going to dig into the final shift of last night’s 3-2 overtime victory by the Colorado Avalanche over the Carolina Hurricanes. It was a raucous night at the bar with the Lacroix Hockey fundraiser going on (be sure to check out the interviews with the various players on YouTube!) so I had some struggles focusing on the details of the game.

After getting home and rewatching the game, however, I was struck by what a great overtime J.T. Compher put together for the Avalanche.

It began with him winning the opening faceoff of overtime. This always matters as possession in 3v3 is extremely important, but the Avs actually began the extra session on the penalty kill. With just about 10 seconds remaining on Alex Newhook’s high-sticking penalty near the end of the third period, the faceoff win meant the Avs killed the rest of the penalty with an easy dump of the puck to the other end of the ice. That was a good start, but the real goods from Compher came later.

After a stoppage and each team getting some kind of look on offense, J.T. Compher hopped on the ice with Logan O’Connor and Cale Makar. Here is Compher’s full shift without any editing.

A few things here. Logan O’Connor had been on the ice a bit already, as had Makar. What we don’t see in this clip is Makar going off for a change and Devon Toews hopping onto the ice. This happens in the first few seconds of the video as it begins with Makar moving the puck up the ice and then changing behind the play.

Logan O’Connor tries a low-percentage shot here and it gets blockered away. Compher was off to his left and no a viable option for a pass, especially with Jaccob Slavin and his elite stickwork lurking near Compher.

Once O’Connor’s shot is stopped, the puck is up for grabs.  Compher doesn’t get to the puck first as Slavin beats him to it and moves it ahead to Seth Jarvis. This is where Compher gets to work.

O’Connor is top left and heading for a line change to get Artturi Lehkonen onto the ice. Keep that in mind for later.

Here we see Compher dead even alongside Slavin after Slavin had moved the puck toward Jarvis near the blue line. Compher will turn on the jets and keep up with a streaking Slavin, ensuring no odd-man rush will result from this play.

Because Compher kept up with Slavin through the neutral zone, he has the ability to read what the Canes are going to try offensively.

You’ll see here that Slavin is stopping hard to stay onside but to also switch with Jarvis. This action frequently causes teams to drop coverage because of poor communication and a bad read. Because Compher had hustled back to the play and you can see him reading off of Jarvis slowing up at the blue line, he knows this action from Carolina is coming.

Instead of switching, Compher will head straight ahead to the front of his net to defend, which is where Jarvis is headed, too.

The puck gets dropped to Slavin, who tries to force the play ahead to Jarvis.

The puck is denied en route to Jarvis, who simply runs into Compher and falls down.

Now, Jarvis actually makes a great little play on the ice. He uses his stick to keep the puck from Toews, but Compher kicks it forward in the still above. That’s a great little part of this sequence because it looked like Jarvis was the one who was going to make the brilliant play from his backside until Compher got in the way.

From here, Compher and Toews are off to the races with Lehkonen’s fresh legs coming onto the ice behind the play. What comes next is a great bit of theater from Compher.

With Jarvis out of the play entirely, Colorado has an odd-man rush. Toews has the puck here and Compher trails, but you can clearly see here where Compher is looking: the bench.

He’s looking over there to see Lehkonen just hopping onto the ice and seeing if he should change because he’s clearly tired. He sees the opportunity for the odd-man rush, however, and stays on despite clearly being in need of a line change.

This is part of the natural war of attrition that 3v3 overtime affords. Players can take chances as Compher has done here, where if something goes wrong, he won’t have the energy to get back defensively and make a play. They either have to score or at least get a stoppage here.

The three-on-two plays out beautifully for Colorado.

Compher was the trailer on the play with Toews splitting out wide left and Lehkonen to the right where he had just hopped off the bench.

This is another area where Compher does all the right things. You can see from this spot where Compher is selling the shot. Both defensemen have reacted to him, but Slavin, who is the Carolina player closest to Lehkonen, is reading Compher’s eyes and not the puck.

Because Compher is looking at the goal, both defenders close in on Compher’s shooting lane. This opens up the passing lane just enough that Slavin’s stick can’t get there anymore and Lehkonen does a wonderful job of readying himself for a pass from Compher.

The pass is the easy part and Slavin, who was totally spent after a lengthy shift and getting up and down the ice quickly, doesn’t have the push left in his legs to get in front of Lehkonen after the subtle commitment to Compher instead.

Lehkonen buries the one-timer, Avs win 3-2 in overtime in a game they were outshot by over 30 shots.

J.T. Compher got annihilated throughout this game as the Avs were outshot 14-0 with him on the ice at 5v5. One shift, however, flipped that script and Compher simply played winning hockey for a little over 20 seconds to help secure two more points in the standings for Colorado.

Here is the shift in full with some editing.



A.J. Haefele was born in Aurora, Colorado, raised in Katy, Texas and is the Colorado Avalanche beat reporter for DNVR. AJ helped launch the network back in 2015 and has filled roles as a team leader and Editor-In- Chief, along with co-hosting the DNVR draft podcasts along with his other duties. You can hear him every weekday on the DNVR Avalanche podcast. Follow AJ on Twitter - @returnofaj

1 Comment

  1. Great shift and the gamble to stay on paid off. I’m also like how Lehkonen did not overshoot the puck. He seemed to have taken a little off for the sake of making sure he got the puck on net.

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