I wasn’t at the game tonight, but I’ll be in Boston and Philly for the next two. Oh, and I am back east tonight, so I was able to watch tonight’s game on real TV. Imagine that. I’ll do the grades on the Avalanche 6-4 win over Buffalo.
Nathan MacKinnon (X) – A performance so good it was obscene. Two goals, three assists for MacK. He was tremendous in all areas. Not just offensively, but how about his breakup of Tyson Jost’s breakaway when it was a 5-4 game? Jost had a couple strides on MacK and MacK just outraced him and broke up the play, without taking a penalty.
Mikko Rantanen (A) – The Big Moose had one and one tonight, the goal being an empty-netter. I thought he was tremendous with the puck on the PP, even though a lot of his time was spent mostly playing catch with Cale Makar.
Artturi Lehkonen (A) – Geez, I’m pretty generous tonight huh? But, No. 62 deserves the grade. He scored a goal and was good defensively at even strength. He’s really getting consistent with his offense, getting a point most every night.
Erik Johnson (A) – Am I feeling OK? A’s for everyone in a 6-4 game? But EJ deserves this apple too. He played 19:02 of error-free defensive hockey and had four hits. He’s a gamer. And, no, I’m not going to follow that up with a profanity.
Devon Toews (A) – At this point, I feel like Oprah. You get an A, and you get an A, and you get an A! But Tazer deserves this grade too, dammit. Two assists, +1, 26:03 of ice time. Yessir, that’s an A.
Cale Makar (A) – Can’t stop, won’t stop. I almost gave him an X actually. Two assists, +2, six shots, ran the power play like a champ, played 30:38!
Andrew Cogliano (A) – Yes, an A for Cogs too. He played more than 16 minutes and got an assist and made some nice defensive plays. Grading on a curve for him here, but it’s still an A.
Dryden Hunt (C) – OK, so the streak ends here. Only played 7:07 and was a -1 on behalf of Jared Bednar and the Colorado Avalanche tonight. The puck seems to bounce off his stick a little too much for an NHLer. Doesn’t possess the puck much, in other words.
Logan O’Connor (A) – We’re back. He was really good tonight. An assist, +1 and four shots on net in 16 minutes. That works.
Jacob MacDonald (C+) – A bit quiet out there, in his 10-plus minutes. Not necessarily a bad thing. But he was just kind of out there.
Anton Blidh (D) – I just haven’t been much impressed by him with the Avalanche. Only got meager minutes and was not great at either end.
Jayson Megna (C) – Hey, was was 2-for-2 on faceoffs tonight. Only played 5:05 and was a -1 otherwise.
Alex Newhook (C-) – No shots, no points in his 11:49. Only won 3-of-9 faceoffs.
J.T. Compher (A) – Two goals tonight for No. 37, against the team that traded his rights to the Avalanche way back when in that deal that brought Nikita Zadorov to Denver and sent Ryan O’Reilly to Buffalo, among others. He’s quietly having a very good year. Won the trade.
Josh Manson (Inc) – Might be hurt. Only played 10:17. No word yet.
Alex Galchenyuk (D) – So far, he’s had the impact of a feather falling on a pillow, in his NHL return with the Avs. Hey, plenty of time left, but right now he’s looking rustier than the undercarriage of a 1976 Dodge Dart.
Sam Girard (B) – A quietly OK game for La Tornade. 16 minutes, +1, three blocked shots.
Jean-Luc Foudy (C) – Not much to talk about. But he was OK out there. Not embarrassing himself in either end. Yet, not making much of a tangible impact either. It’s tough to just jump into the league from the minors. I think he’s got some potential though.
Alexandar Georgiev (B-) – He survived. Four goals allowed on 28 shots. But he made some key saves when it was still a 5-4 game. A couple goals weren’t his fault at all either, including that breakaway to start the third period, for Alex Tuch. A win’s a win.