A very, very strong showing from the Colorado Avalanche tonight in beating the Chicago Blackhawks. Let’s take a look at how the players fared individually:
Gabe Landeskog (A-) You know what? He is definitely quicker than last season. Why? Because that skate-blade injury in the 2020 playoffs, when Cale Makar slashed Landeskog’s thigh to the bone, has fully healed. Landy still had a very good year last year, but he just looks faster again. He was outstanding in the game.
Well, except for that bad boarding penalty near the end of the game. I don’t think it should be a suspension, thouugh.
Nazem Kadri (A) – Scored a goal in his first since the awful suspension from last spring. He looked like the old Nazz. He’s motivated to have a big year.
Mikko Rantanen (A-) – Strong game for the Moose. He looks stronger than last year. Didn’t notice him falling down much at all.
Valeri Nichushkin (B) – He took a hard hit and appeared hurt, but shook it off and returned. He skated well and was active around the puck.
J.T. Compher (C+) – Took a couple of penalties, one of which led to Chicago’s first goal. He’s got to stay disciplined out there.
Andre Burakovsky (C) – To be honest, I didn’t notice him much tonight, but that’s OK in this case. He will score his goals at some point.
Alex Newhook (C) – Didn’t play a lot, and really didn’t have the puck too much either. Still, it was nice to see him start the season with the big club. It’ll come.
Darren Helm (B-) – I thought he played a pretty good veteran game. He took a hard hit late in the second period and appeared hurt for a bit, but played on. It was his first game NOT as a Detroit Red Wing in his long career,
Jayson Megna (C+) – He skated hard and competed in his limited minutes.
Sampo Ranta (B) – I liked his game for the most part. He’s an aggressive player and goes to the net hard.
Tyson Jost (B-) – He didn’t do much offensively, but he skated hard and was good defensively I thought. He needs to score more goals this season, though.
Logan O’Connor (B+) – Good, solid aggressive game from No. 25. He got in the faces of Chicago, which is what he likes to do.
Jack Johnson (A) – Great debut for the Avs. Scored a wicked pretty good to get the scoring started, backhand top cookies. Laid a couple of big hits on Hawks.
Sam Girard (A) – I loved his skating and puck-handling. He had the puck a lot and did good things with it. Had one bad turnover to Kirby Dach, but Kuemper bailed him out.
Erik Johnson (A) – Seriously, he had a great first game back. At one point late in the game, he had 25 Corsi events for, five against. That works.
Cale Makar (B+) – Had some flashy moments, doing Cale things. Also was running around a little bit at times in the second period, when Chicago had some good moments. Still, a solid night for No. 8.
Ryan Murray (C+) – He was not very noticeable, but that’s not a bad thing for D-man. Corsi numbers were just average. Looked a tad slow.
Bo Byram (A) – Great game for the rookie. Scored his first career goal and assisted on another. He looked MUCH better than at any point last season.
Darcy Kuemper (A-) Allowed goals in the first and third, but otherwise looked good. Made a big breakaway save on Kirby Dach in the second period to preserve a 3-1 lead and flashed the pads well at other times. Kemps finished with 32 saves on 34 shots (.941 saves percentage).