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Avs-Coyotes Game 22 Studs & Duds

AJ Haefele Avatar
December 1, 2023

Studs

Nathan MacKinnon

I actually really liked most of what MacKinnon did tonight. There were some of those maddening passes into space to nobody and some offensive zone turnovers that created extended defensive possessions, but in that third period when the Avalanche needed a lift, he was there. It was his one-timer that got the Avalanche tied and, arguably, got them a point tonight.

Colorado needed a star moment and their biggest star gave it to them.

Miles Wood

Wood should have finished with two goals tonight but finishing in the NHL is really hard. His one goal was pretty classic Miles Wood. His speed got him to a dangerous scoring chance and then he beat a goaltender with a simple move. When he keeps his game simple, he does his best work.

He did a lot of his best work tonight and his speed and physicality consistently caused problems for the Coyotes.

Ross Colton

A quieter night in some ways, but the area in which it was not was time on ice. It’s been slowly happening for a while, but tonight Colton had 14:28 of ESTOI to Ryan Johansen’s 11:26.

Whatever thoughts of a traditional alignment of 1/2/3 Cs has been slowly slipping away for a while now but this might have been the game that turns the keys over to the Colton line as a de facto second line for real.

The trust that Colton’s line has earned is obvious with the way their two-way play consistently impacts games. Even when their offense isn’t rolling, they find ways. That offense, though, has turned it up quite a bit and now Colton has surpassed Johansen in points and Wood has pulled ahead of Jonathan Drouin and is level with Tomas Tatar.

This might be Colorado’s new bully of a “second” line and Colton is quite literally at the center of that transformation.

Duds

Cale Makar

So, Makar had truly brilliant moments in this game. He was also on the ice for all four Arizona goals, most notably the overtime game-winning goal which Makar accidentally put into his own net.

That’s a pretty bad mistake! Similarly to the whoopsie he had in Nashville a few weeks ago, this is just one of those things that happens sometimes.

Makar was probably Colorado’s most dynamic offensive player on the night with a gorgeous goal and his assist sealed his November as one for the ages.

But you can’t accidentally score into your own net in overtime and not be a Dud. Sorry, Cale 🙁

Bowen Byram

This one is tough. I think Byram activated offensively and did more good work with the puck all night than we have seen from him in weeks. Weeks! Defensively, it started pretty well. He had some strong moments along the way and getting pucks out of the defensive zone.

The mistakes were big, though. Really big.

Just into the third period, Byram covered nobody in allowing Michael Carcone to get the wraparound chance that turned into Arizona’s third goal. You can not like Josh Manson’s work or that Alexandar Georgiev gives up, frankly, a bad goal. All of that is fair, but it is Byram completely removing himself from a competitive position that baffled me most.

Then the overtime sequence that everyone will remember. The penalty he was called for? For my money, it just isn’t a penalty. It isn’t. Nick Bjugstad takes his hand off his stick and is clearly unhappy after the puck has skittered away, but I don’t think Byram did anything illegal. The real crime there is letting a player as slow as Bjugstad get behind you for the breakaway in the first place. He fell asleep watching the puck and never looked to pick up Bjugstad. He’s watching the puck the entire way. That’s the real problem for me.

Byram just loses his guy in 3v3. The Avs almost survived the entire thing, but not quite.

Mikko Rantanen

So the good: he had two points and a great play with his stick to disrupt a cross-ice pass in overtime.

The bad: Absolutely everything else. He turned pucks over, floated around the ice with a totally carefree kind of body language that was frustrating to behold, and wasn’t any good with the puck in the overtime period when puck possession is paramount (neither was Makar for that matter).

These are the games that make me wonder if Rantanen is the one to carry on the occasionally frustrating legacy of Evgeni Malkin when Malkin decides to retire. A brilliantly talented offensive engine whose emotional outbursts drive him to do some silly things at times and the lapses of laziness can be overwhelmingly obvious. Sound familiar?

Unsung Hero

Alexandar Georgiev

Let’s be real here: He got the screw job tonight. The first goal deflects off two Arizona players, the second goal is an uncovered player in the center of the ice three feet from him smashing a one-timer, and the fourth goal is put in by his own teammate after he had made the initial save and it appeared was out of danger.

So, you know, tough night to be Georgiev. The third goal is a bad goal. You should never allow wraparound goals that go into the far side of the net. Big yikes!

But can a guy get a little help, please? He made some huge saves throughout the game and, as mentioned above, actually got the Avs through that overtime PK and stopped Bjugstad’s hard attempt to the net before Makar scored the own goal. It should have been okay!

This felt like a pretty hard-luck loss for the goalie.

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