Avalanche Game 20 Plus/Minus: Prosvetov Earning More Time, Manson Getting Better

Colorado Hockey Now

As with every game, you take the good with the bad, so time to take a look at the pluses and the minuses in the game against the Flames for the Colorado Avalanche.

+ Prosvetov Should Play More

After a game like that, Ivan Prosvetov should, and probably will, end up playing more in the future. The schedule is getting tighter, so the Avalanche will have no choice but to play him more in the coming weeks. This isn’t the 90’s or early 2000’s where you play your starter 65-70 games and barely use your backup. Things have changed, and with Georgiev struggling a little bit this year, keeping him fresh would be best.

It’s a really small sample size with Prosvetov in a Colorado uniform, but so far, so good. Jussi Parkkila is a goalie guru who knows what he’s doing, and it seems like what he’s doing is working. Plus, Prosvetov is a great interview, so the more chances to talk to him, the better.

+ Drouin Is In A Groove

There is no question that over the last week or two, Jonathan Drouin has looked like a quicker, more confident player on the ice. Even though he didn’t score against the Wild on Friday night, he did have arguably his best shift of the season in the second period of that game, as he put a stop-and-go move on a Minnesota defender and went flew right past him.

He’s holding onto the puck a lot more, and making some nice seam passes. There’s still the occasional pass that he tries to force that gets stopped, but that’s something that comes with the territory with skill players. For a chunk of the season, the Avalanche weren’t getting the good play to go with those turnovers, but he’s in a groove now. Great goal last night.

I’m not quite sure I love him in that bumper spot on the powerplay, but the staff clearly wants him out there with other skilled players.

– Tomas Tatar

We’re 1/4 of the way through the season and Tatar has ZERO goals. Usually, these are the struggles you get from Tatar at the end of the season, when the games and checking get tighter. The fact that it hasn’t clicked so far for him is very concerning. Because the other three lines are clicking, he’ll probably keep getting opportunities with Johansen and Drouin, but at some point, he’s going to have to show something.

+ Return Of The Third Line

Logan O’Connor leaves the lineup, and the third line struggles. He re-enters the lineup, and they’re immediately back to being the best possession line for the Avalanche.

And it wasn’t even close.

The team controlled 65% of the shot attempts with this trio on the ice. No other line was above 50%. In the third period, when the Avalanche seemed to turtle a little bit in their own end, this was the group that kept pushing for goals, and nearly had some. Heck, Ross Colton had two or three great chances on one shift alone. Colorado may have really found something with this group.

– Back-To-Back Games

I’ve long been a believer that the NHL season is far too long, and a game this poor should convince others of the same. With both teams on the second half of a back-to-back, the quality of hockey was poor. Really poor.

People paid a lot of money to come to this game on a Saturday night, and through two periods, there wasn’t a ton of energy, and the passing was pretty horrific on both sides, but especially for the Flames. It doesn’t have to be this way.

+ Josh Manson

Manson has been pretty up and down at even strength to start the season, but the past two games, he’s been real strong. The one consistent thing with him is that he’s been good on the penalty kill, and that continued on Saturday night.

There’s a case to be made that he was the best defenseman on the Avalanche against the Flames…outside of the first shift. He got caught sleeping a bit and let Zary get behind him, but after that, really settled down. He made some nice reads in the neutral zone to break up plays, killed chances on his own on the penalty kill, and even found was to jump into the play. In the third period, he dangled Rasmus Andersson pretty good with a toe drag. With no Girard, this is the Manson they need.

– These 8 PM Home Games

Nobody has to feel bad for me, but they’re killing me. The worst part is that for whatever reason, these games end up being slower and taking longer than all the games that start at a normal time. Other than there typically being no traffic, I’m over them.

But luckily, we’re mostly done with them. I think there’s two of them in the next two months, and beyond that, I didn’t see many on the schedule. I know that when the playoffs roll around, we’ll get stuck with a lot more of these late starts because the NHL likes to think Colorado is on the West Coast, but I’ll take the break.

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