Gabe Landeskog (C-) – Gabe Landeskog said after Game 3 that adjustments needed to be made, and it starts with the leadership, meaning him and his line. That did not start this game. For the better part of three games now, the Avs top line has been MIA. For Landeskog, some effort is there. The results are not. Zero shots tonight.
Nathan MacKinnon (C-) – In the series against St. Louis, Nathan MacKinnon was the early favorite for the Conn Smythe. He’s been completely shut down since Game 1 of this series with Vegas. I think it goes without saying, but the Avs need MacKinnon to get going. He’s THE difference-maker for the Avalanche. Shut him down and the Avs are toast. That’s exactly what Vegas has done so far.
Mikko Rantanen (C) – Rantanen was inches away from scoring, like multiple times. He’s the only guy that really had any legitimate chances tonight on that top line. He led his group with three of the five shots they produced.
Joonas Donskoi (D) – There wasn’t much going on with the Jost line in this one, or really any line. Donskoi was caught sleeping a bit on Vegas’ fourth goal.
Tyson Jost (C-) – I thought Jost was rag-dolled a bit in this one. He was getting picked on quite a bit, but I thought he was at least trying to be one of the more physical players on the team tonight.
Val Nichushkin (C+) – I didn’t think he was as strong on the forecheck as he normally is on a nightly basis. He had five hits, two blocks and a takeaway tonight though.
Brandon Saad (B) – With six goals in his last seven playoff games, Brandon Saad is playing some his best hockey of the season during the most important part of the year. This is what he was brought to Colorado for: veteran presence, with Cup experience, who performs in the postseason. So far he’s checked all the boxes.
J.T. Compher (C+) – I though his effort was OK tonight. He made two diving saves to break up passes in concession that would’ve surely been goals.
Andre Burakovsky (D+) – A bad penalty in the second period may cloud what was otherwise a decent game from Burakovsky. But his decent isn’t good enough right now. Decent, in general, just isn’t good enough this time of year.
Carl Soderberg (D) – Carl Soderberg played just seven minutes tonight, the fewest of any Avs skater. He’s been invisible all series, save for the easy rebound goal he had in Game 3.
Pierre-Edouard Bellemare (C-) – He earned his keep on the PK tonight, logging over four minutes of short-handed time.
Kiefer Sherwood (C+) – He led the club with eight hits, which is exactly what he was inserted into the lineup for. If he keeps that up, he’ll stay in the lineup. And when Logan O’Connor comes back (hopefully) soon, my guess would be Soderberg gets the boot and Sherwood stays in.
Devon Toews (B+) – Toews was his usual, reliable self and was generating some shots and throwing the body around. He was one of the few bright spots on the blueline in Game 4.
Cale Makar (B) – Like Nathan MacKinnon, Cale Makar is THE difference-maker for the Avs on the backend. They need him to get going. He’s trying, for sure. He only had one shot on goal tonight, which doesn’t account for the post he hit.
Ryan Graves (B) – I didn’t mind Ryan Graves’ game at all. He’s one of the few guys on the team that can seem to actually match Vegas’ physicality.
Sam Girard (D) – Pretty rough night for Girard. A minus-three doesn’t reflect well, and he had a real hard time forcing the Golden Knights away from the front of the net.
Patrik Nemeth (F) – Disaster of a game for Patrik Nemeth. It may be time to take him out of the D rotation for now. Bo Byram is healthy and waiting on the wings. I get the feeling we may see him slot in soon. The Nemeth turnovers continue to baffle me. Every. Single. Game. Tonight’s turnover in the first period—a perfect pass to a Vegas Golden Knight—right in front of his own net was incredibly bad. Costly, costly mistakes like this can’t be tolerated.
Conor Timmins (C-) – Wasn’t bad. Wasn’t great. He was the only defenseman to not be on the ice for at least one of the Golden Knights goals.
Philipp Grubauer (C) – He’ll want a couple of those back, no doubt. But he’s only one man. He’s done everything he can without much support in the last three games. There’s only so much he can do. The guys in front of him need to show up too.