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Avs Player Grades: Colorado cruises past Ducks

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Avs win 3/29

Gabe Landeskog (A) – The Avs top line is firing on all cylinders right now, and part of that praise belongs to the leadership of Landeskog. He had a nice tip on the power play in the second to bag his 12th of the year. He has five goals and 14 points in his last 10 games.

Nathan MacKinnon (B) – Another vintage Nate MacKinnon game. Had the primary assist on Rantanen’s opening goal and follow that up with another helper on Landeskog’s goal. He has 16 points in his last 10. The top line is looking like the best in the NHL again, and it starts with MacKinnon, the top line’s 500-horsepower engine.

Mikko Rantanen (A) – Rantanen tallied his 20th of the season, moving him into third place in the NHL in that department. It was his eighth goal in the last 10 games. He’s notched 15 points in that span, to boot. Again, I can’t say this enough: the top line looks unstoppable.

Brandon Saad (C) – A very quiet night from the Avs second line. Luckily, they’re getting depth scoring by the boat load right now.

Nazem Kadri (C+) – His best play of the night was drawing two penalties back to back in third period. Kadri has had a bit of a rough go of late. He’s only managed one point in his last seven games for the Avs.

Andre Burakovsky (C-) – He failed to record a shot on goal and was a minus-1. A very forgettable night for Burky.

Valeri Nichushkin (A) – About a month back, coach Bednar said that he’d had a sit-down chat with Nichushkin about his effort, particularly the lack of it in his skating. He’s since turned a corner there, and I love the consistent hustle I’m seeing from Big Val these days. He continues to hound pucks in all three zones. He was awarded on the stat sheet with a helper tonight, while also adding the insurance goal midway through the third—his eighth of the season.

Tyson Jost (A) – There might not be any other Avs player that is more polarizing than Tyson Jost. Like it or not, the kid is playing some of his best hockey this season and is proving to be one of the most defensively-reliable forwards in the NHL this year. He’s been finding some offense to go along with that, as well. Love to see it.

Joonas Donskoi (A) – Almost had a nice spin-o-rama to open the scoring about a minute into the game, but just missed and immediately threw his head back cursing the heavens. Did pick up an assist tonight, extending his point streak to three games. He’s been a huge part of that third line’s emergence from invisible, to now very consistent contributors. Donskoi has had quite a March so far. He’s scored six goals and 12 points in his last 10.

J.T. Compher (B) – Was active on the PK and had a nice interception at the blueline in the first period as a result of his active stick. He sprung himself on the breakaway but couldn’t finish—pretty on brand for the year Compher has had. He was again capital-R robbed by Ryan Miller in the third period. But seconds later, he was able to finally beat him to score his fourth of the year. Good for him. He needed that.

Now hiring!

P.E. Bellemare (C+) – Stuck up for himself when Ryan Getzlaf, noted bad boy and best friend of Corey Perry, sucker punched him in the first period. Somehow Bellemare got the extra minor for roughing on that, but we won’t dock him much for that. Things finally fructified in the final period, when Bellemare and Getzlaf reconvened at center ice and duked it out. Props to Belly for that.

Logan O’Connor (C+) – I’m a big fan of O’Connor’s game. Colorado Eagles head coach Greg Cronin praises him for how “visible” he is night-in and night-out. But that said, I don’t think he was very visible tonight. He did pick up the primary assist on Compher’s goal in the final frame, though.

Devon Toews (A-) – He was exposed on the Ducks first goal, as he got nutmegged by a nice pass through his legs. But instances like that are a rare occurrence with Toews. I can’t say enough good things about Devon Toews in the Burgundy and Blue. He’s consistently driving the bus on the blueline and creating chances left and right. Another all-around solid night in every zone.

Cale Makar (A+) – Another big night on the stat sheet for Cale. He showed that insane burst of speed again on Nichushkin’s goal in the third period, blazing past a couple of Anaheim defenders, wrapping it around the net and feeding an open Val in front. The dude just makes the game of hockey looks so easy. And three assists and a plus-four…that’s pretty decent, right?

Ryan Graves (A) – Like Jost, Ryan Graves is up there as far as polarizing players goes. He started the year well below expectation, fought some healthy scratches, and earned a couple of calls into coach Bednar’s office. He’s since been one of the better D-men for the Avs. The dude is all heart and he puts his body on the line every shift.

Dan Renouf (C) – Was mixing it up all night, as he’s been known to do. I like the edge and grit that he brings to the lineup each night…it’s something the Avs have lacked for quite some time now.

Jacob MacDonald (B-) – Hardly noticed MacDonald tonight, to be honest. But he wasn’t on the ice for any goals against, and that’s kind of the name of the game for defensemen, eh? He also recorded a team-high three blocks.

Sam Girard (B+) – G has been one of the most consistent, reliable, *insert other positive adjectives here* all season long. Tonight, statistically speaking, was a bit of an off-night for him. He was on the ice for both goals against, so we have to dock him a bit there.

Philipp Grubauer (A) – Grubauer recorded his 100th win tonight, and he was as stout as he’s always been this season. He was left hanging by his D pairs on both goals against, so we can’t mark off too much there. I don’t think they were his fault. Either way, I’m all in on the “Grubauer for Vezina” hype train. He’s got my vote.

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A graduate of the University of Colorado Boulder, Scott has so far spent the early parts of his young career covering Colorado hockey — from the Avalanche to the Colorado Eagles to the DU Pioneers. His work can be found across sites such as NHL.com, TheAHL.com and SB Nation, among others. Scott currently resides in the Capitol Hill neighborhood of Denver, where he works as a Marketing Executive when he's not writing.

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John Mauss

Gerard and Toews each responsible for a goal against tonight, but with the year they are having, they definitely earned a pass. The Avs showed they can hold up against a very physical effort that bordered on goonlike at times.

ricoflashback

B+ for Girard? I wish you graded my college papers. D+ is more like it. Worst game by Girard in a long, long time. Anyone notice how physical other teams are getting with the Avs? Do we have any skating Goons available for a quick call up? Especially against the Vegas Thugs.

Last edited 2 months ago by ricoflashback
pukface

Girard looked fearful and played like it at times in this game. Bednar should consider sitting him when the Avs play this team in the future. Not sure about Saad anymore. I don’t think he is a top six forward for this team right now.

ricoflashback

I think Girard just had an off game. It happens. And yes, when he’s not skating his best, he’ll get steamrolled. There was an overtime game a while back where he was at the blue line and got muscled out of the puck and the Avs lost in OT. All that being said, he is superb on the power play and creates many chances with his skating. Saad? He can be puzzling, at times. Some great games, physicality and hard working, dirty goals in front of the net and then he disappears for long stretches. I’m not sure what that’s… Read more »

Brett Rainboth

Compher gets a goal, was apart of an 0 for pk but because he didn’t score on a breakaway it’s a B. People want him traded, we get it!

ricoflashback

I think Compher has really upped his game. His skating and speed is his strength. I’d go for a B+ but “The Dater Rating System” has its own peculiarities.

Brett Rainboth

Agreed he’s had a bunch of really good games, he likes to mix it up after the whistle which most say the Avalanche need guys to do. I just get a bit frustrated with the “trade him, trade him,” the expansion draft makes deals really tough. Seems like they may need a D man to replace Graves if/when Seattle takes him, if he HAS to be traded wait until the summer.

Adrian Dater

Mr. MacDonald did these!

ricoflashback

I stand corrected. Will the accused please post up and face the charges. How do you plead, Mr. MacDonald? Guilty, Not Guilty, or Guilty because of Hockey Insanity?

ricoflashback

Motion denied. Summary judgement granted to the plaintiff. The defendant will be taken into custody.

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