Avalanche’s aggressive shot selection smart, despite Tampa Bay’s high amount of blocked attempts

The shock of losing a two-goal lead has been overcome and the game rediscovered. On Wednesday night, the Avalanche pressed Tampa Bay with less than nine minutes remaining in regulation time.

Looking for a 3-all tie, the Avs’ top line buzzed in the Lightning Zone. They controlled the property. They delivered several precision passes. They won two races to the puck.

But the Avs were introduced to the Lightning game in the Stanley Cup Finals when goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy never had good opportunities.

Defender Cale Makar ran from the point into the right circle: a shot blocked by center Anthony Cirelli.

Defender Devon Toews collected the rebound and passed through Nathan MacKinnon’s shot is blocked by defender Ryan McDonagh.

And Makar retrieved the loose puck and fed winger Valeri Nichushkin into the slot: shot saved by Vasilevskiy.

All told, Tampa Bay, whose players were equal parts smart at spotting shooting lanes and fearless at sacrificing their bodies, blocked 25 shot attempts in the Avs’ 4-3 overtime win.

So what does Avs coach Jared Bednar want to see in Game 2 on Saturday night? Exactly the same thing he saw in Game 1.

“We’re going to encourage our guys to keep shooting the puck,” Bednar said Thursday morning.

Shots can be deflected into better opportunities. Shots can ricochet off traffic into goal. Shots can resemble long shifts, resulting in tired defenders committing penalties. The Avs can’t expect the Lightning to set up a consistent defensive leak like Edmonton, so grinding zone time and firing shots from long and close range should still be the order of the day.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.