Avalanche Game 2 Defeat of the Oilers: By the Numbers

The Colorado Avalanche hosted the Edmonton Oilers for Game 2 of the Western Conference Final at Ball Arena in Denver Thursday night and turned in one of their most dominating, end-to-end performances of the postseason. Colorado shut the Oilers out, winning the game 4-0, and taking a 2-0 lead in the seven-game series.

It was only the fourth time this season, and the second time this postseason, the Oilers have been held scoreless. Colorado outshot Edmonton 40-24.

Here’s a look at the game through the lens of five key numbers.

24 Saves for Pavel Francouz

Pavel Francouz, Colorado’s backup goaltender, entered Game 1 after the team’s number one netminder, Darcy Kuemper, left with an injury. In that game, Francouz stopped 18 of the 21 shots he faced, securing the win in the high-scoring 8-6 contest for the Avalanche.

The Pizen, Czechia native has had mixed success in limited playoff experience. Entering last night’s game, Francouz had appeared in nine games, starting six of them, with a 5-4 record, a .891 save percentage (SV%), and 3.34 goals-against average (GAA).

Pavel Francouz Colorado Avalanche
Pavel Francouz, Colorado Avalanche (Photo by Michael Martin/NHLI via Getty Images)

Francouz, on the eve of his 32nd birthday, played an adventurous game at times, coming far out of his crease on several occasions, including once skating more than halfway to the blue line to try to play the puck off the boards and out of the zone. Oilers defender Cody Ceci intercepted the puck and shot it, forcing Francouz to make a save from inside the face-off circle.

As the game clock wound down to zero, the sellout crowd at Ball Arena showed their support for the goaltender with cheers of “Frankie,” Francouz’s nickname. He acknowledged the crowd with a wave, and was, moments later, named the first star of the game.

With Kuemper’s injury status unknown and Francouz’s stellar level of play against a potent offensive team, Avalanche fans should expect to see him back in net for Game 3.

15 Seconds Between Avalanche’s First Two Goals

After a scoreless first period, the Avalanche got on the board with a goal 3:58 into the second period. Nazem Kadri exploited a sloppy turnover by Oilers’ defenseman Darnell Nurse, throwing the puck at the net, where it was deflected by Artturi Lehkonen. The shot beat veteran Edmonton goalie Mike Smith low on his glove side.

Just 15 seconds later, Josh Manson, skating above the right faceoff circle, received a pass from Kadri across the wide-open, undefended ice, and buried a hard shot in the same spot, low on the glove side.

Less than two minutes later, the Avalanche sounded the goal horn once again. Kadri and Mikko Rantanen had a two-on-one odd-man rush with Kadri shoveling a perfect pass onto the tape of Rantanen’s stick, who threaded the needle under Smith’s blocker, giving Colorado a three-goal lead. Kadri had an assist on all three of his team’s second-period goals.

Nathan MacKinnon added a fourth tally, a power-play goal, late in the third period. It was MacKinnon’s 10th goal of the postseason, which is second-best in the league, trailing only Evander Kane of the Oilers.

8 Penalties by the Oilers

The Oilers played a much more physical brand of hockey in Game 2, often letting that style of play cross the line from physical to undisciplined. The 16 penalty minutes served by the Oilers were four times more than the team served in Game 1. The ugliest one was a bench interference call against Zack Kassian. Midway through the third period, Avalanche defender Bowen Byram was checked hard into the Oilers bench. Kassian, who was on the bench, ripped Byram’s helmet off while he was doubled over the boards, and then grabbed his stick. Byram retaliated with punch and was called for roughing.

Twice in the game, once late in the first period and once at the end of the third period, the Oilers gave Colorado a two-man advantage. Edmonton’s penalty kill, however, was effective, with the Avalanche scoring only one power-play goal on the night.

The Oilers committed several other penalties which were not called, including Duncan Keith’s overt trip of MacKinnon at the end of the first period, and a Leon Draisaitl high stick into Rantanen’s mouth later in the game.

8 Blocked Shots in First 2 Games for Makar

Widely heralded as one of the most potent offensive threats among NHL defensemen, Cale Makar is having a solid defensive series over the first two games. In addition to four blocked shots in each game, he leads all skaters on both teams in time on ice (TOI) with 27:16 in Game 1 and 25:54 in Game 2.

Related: 2021-22 Norris Trophy Tracker

The 23-year-old former Hobey Baker winner has played a smart, tight, defensive game, using his tremendous skating ability to keep the puck away from the opposition and repeatedly get it deep into the offensive zone.

9 Total Shots on Goal for the Oilers’ Big 4

The Avalanche held Kane and Connor McDavid to just two shots on goal (SOG) each in Game 2, and Leon Draisaitl to three. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins also had no shots on goal. That’s seven total SOG by Edmonton’s four best players. By comparison, MacKinnon, Rantanen, Gabe Landeskog, and Kadri, Colorado’s big four forwards, combined for 19 SOG, with 11 of those coming off the stick of MacKinnon.

Connor McDavid Edmonton Oilers Nathan MacKinnon Colorado Avalanche
Colorado Avalanche center Nathan MacKinnon skates against Edmonton Oilers center Connor McDavid (Photo by Dustin Bradford/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Colorado dictated the pace of play, winning loose puck battles, and clogging skating and passing lanes, preventing the Oilers time and again from gaining clean entry into the offensive zone. If the Avalanche can maintain this high level of defensive play, they’re going to present Edmonton with a nearly insurmountable challenge in winning this series.

Up Next

The series now moves 1,250 miles north to Rogers Place in Edmonton, where the Oilers will host Game 3 on Saturday night.

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