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Colorado Avalanche

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. 

Superstreak Bonus!

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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John Klingenstein

Everyone gets an A in my book. That was a thing a beauty. Doesnt get much better than that. Great performance by the entire team. Put up 4 but had the chances to score a lot more while at the same time giving up almost nothing! Bravo!

Zach Heiman

Agreed, fun to see all As and Bs and the biggest argument is the B grades being a little too low. Amazing performance and buy in on playing as a team. Sure hope they can follow it up with a win in game 3

Donald Victory

LOL. Nah…


Take it easy, now. I thought the ‘X’ grade was reserved for otherworldly performances?

Don’t get me wrong, Frankie was great. But he faced 24 shots, only 3 of them were high danger and another 3 medium danger. The team played great in front of him and deftly limited the Oilers chances, limiting them to mostly low danger attempts, which made his job pretty easy.

But you’re right, a shutout is a very hard thing to achieve in the playoffs.

Last edited 5 months ago by dk
Zach Heiman

Back up goalie came in and got a shutout against McDavid (arguably the best player on the planet) and Draisaitl (completing one of the best one two combos in the league) and Kane (most goals scored in the playoffs)…that is absolutely worthy of an x grade!!


Backup goalie also faced only 3 shots from McDavid, 3 from Draisaitl, and 2 from Kane. Those three guys have been responsible for generating almost 31 shots per 60 minutes over the last season. I don’t believe he faced the full brunt of their capabilities…

Last edited 5 months ago by dk
Sean Washington

Typical over emotional Avs zealots. Frankie did well this game. But a reason exists why he is not a $8M goalie and #1 on a team. He’s a humble and sweet Euro, kudos to him.

Jordan Leonard

That reason being the money we spent on Kuemper, the fact we got him as a free agent a couple years back, and the fact we haven’t let him walk. In 2019-2020, Frankie finished top 10 amongst all goalies with over 20 starts, has stats very similar to Kuemper, and was better than Grubauer. He has been a starter in almost every place he has played in his career before the NHL. There are plenty of teams that would want him as their starter, including some of the playoff teams


Agree with DK, Frankie played great! But I think of an X as stand on your head status. It was a team doughnut, Frankie deserves a ton of credit but sometimes you keep the shutout and sometimes earn the shutout. Kemp’s at home vs Calgary late in the season, earned. Frankie kept the 0 on the board this game. The whole “2nd” line deserves an X for “THE SHIFT” (Holy Heck!) but Kadri… He’s been so impressive. So much poise with Kane in his kitchen from the drop, then to sew up the game all at once. His game has… Read more »


Missed Helm game 2 and Newhook game 1.

Sean Washington

MacK bias continues. A- at best. He did play his best two-way game ever. Still errant passes on the powerplay and grossly missed shots. The 5-3 was bad. And his entry woes continue NAK – the hatred for turning KH down still resonates. Hell hath…NAK is a constant buzz out there with heavy hit. His penalty was weak call. Refs – D Avs intensity created calls against the Oil and continued, but they swallowed the whistle. Must had received a message from Battman to even things out. Landeskog, he has been a puck hound. And no missed ENG opportunities, no… Read more »

Donald Victory

Good to see MacKinnon play up to his billing. Actually outplayed McDavid.

Karl Keen

Agree with the grades Kelsey!

I continue to be totally impressed with Byrum and Helm.

NAK had an up and down night. He deserves to be in the line up some nights, but let’s kick some rust off of Sturm. Maybe he can help win some faceoffs.


No need for apologies, Kelsey. Everyone misses something now and then. The absolute, best defensive game I’ve ever seen the Avs play in many, many years. A real commitment to forechecking, backchecking and slowing down the Oilers in the neutral zone. Safe, simple clear out passes. Physical when they needed to be while staying out of the penalty box (mostly – except for NAK’s stupid play.) This is a winning recipe for the playoffs. The Avs learned how to play those closer 2-1 games during the season. And, that you can win on defense and not have to go up… Read more »

Thomas Wilgus

The Oilers have resorted to cheap shots with intent to injure. Time to suit up MacDermid? Kane & Draisaitl both need a lickin’.

Victory Donald

The NAK hates continues; the over sealous love for MacK continues.


Like your comments and grades Kelsey, but on big Val while he may not be scoring, his forechecking on the puck behind the net and in the corners opens more ice for Mac to engage in the O-zone leading to more scoring chances from this line.

Ray Bussard

Right on it!

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