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Avalanche Grades – Western Conference Finals Game 2



Jack Dempsey/AP

Colorado Avalanche grades in Game 2, 4-0 shutout win over the Edmonton Oilers. 

Jack Johnson: B+ –  Let me start by saying I am sorry for saying the goal last game was his fault. Phew. Onto the next one now. He finished the game with a little over 11 minutes, four hits and a plus one. He had a couple of big hits to answer the Oilers. 

Bo Byram: B+ He got his stick into the Oilers’ passing lanes a few times and broke up the play. He was playing physical and wasn’t shying away from anyone. Including the Oilers bench when he went head first.

Erik Johnson: B – He was tied for the team lead in hits with 5. The team did a 180 after allowing six goals last game. The Oilers were held to 24 shots on net. 

Devon Toews: A – This was a much better defensive game for the team but especially the Toews and Makar line. They stopped the rushes and held McDavid, Draisaitl and Kane shots total. 

Cale Makar: A –  He had an incredible play on McDavid early in the first, when he stayed calm and poked the puck away as if it was nothing. Between him and MacKinnon, they each took a couple of cheap shots. An elbow to the head got Makar good.

Andrew Cogliano: B+ – Love his effort on the penalty kill night in and night out. This was another night where the trade deadline acquisitions really made an impact. He played 2:23 on the PK. 

Valeri Nichushkin: B- – He hasn’t scored since May 17th against the St. Louis Blues. It would be nice to see him get going again. He’s not playing bad, but just not his normal goal-scoring self. 

Nicolas Aube-Kubel: B- – This was a much more physical game in general compared to Game 1 and even the Blues series. I wasn’t a big fan of the call on him but meh, it’s going to happen. He was tied with Erik Johnson for hits with five. 

Alex Newhook: B- – He wasn’t crazy noticeable but he skated hard to the puck, played smart and his line brought energy when they needed to. 

Darren Helm: A – He’s playing great defensively. Opponents are barely ever touching the puck when his line is on the ice.

Logan O’Connor: B – Similar to Newhook, this line just simply played well. This was a game where everyone did their job and the Avs came out on top.

Nathan MacKinnon: A+ – Clearly tripped and punched in the face in the first period. You knew he was going to take it to them after all that. That was his 10th goal of the playoffs. I mentioned early how the Oilers top guys had seven shots total, well MacKinnon had 11 himself tonight. Wowzers.  Took a puck to right hand at end of game. Let’s hope that’s nothing.

J.T. Compher: B- – The goal streak comes to end but I think he’ll take the victory anyway. He was 50% in the faceoff dot and played almost 12 minutes.

Josh Manson: A –  Redeemed himself after a -4 performance in Game 1. His goal was 15 seconds after the Avs’ first goal of the game and I think it really threw off the Oilers. All of a sudden they were down 2-0 in the blink of an eye. Great shot from the point.

Artturi Lehkonen: A+ – His forechecking effort led to the Oilers turning it over in their own zone and then he got a piece of Kadri’s shot. Just incredible play all night. He now has 6 points in these playoffs.  

Nazem Kadri: A+ –  Man, did this line find their groove. Kadri finished a plus three and three assists. All of the lines were clicking and finding each other all over the ice. He showed great patience with the pass to Rantanen on the rush.

Gabe Landeskog: B – Fairly quiet night for the Captain. He still has 14 points in the playoffs so far and the Avs are getting the W’s. Again, just showing how many different ways this team can win. 

Mikko Rantanen: A+ – Back to back nights with a goal. Just what the doctor ordered.  He really looks to be playing with confidence and now the shots are going in. Could be trouble for the Oilers. 

Pavel Francouz: X – He made the saves he needed to, he was square to the shooter, he wasn’t giving up rebounds and looked poised out there. Great performance from him. The crowd and the team were behind him from the moment the puck dropped. It’s no easy task to get a shutout, let alone in the postseason. 

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