Avs-Flames Grades – Sloppy hockey is losing hockey

The Colorado Avalanche finished up yet another weekend back-to-back with their second consecutive loss. This time, however, they failed to steal a point and lost 3-2 in regulation to the Calgary Flames.

How did each player grade out? Let's find out!

Sven Andrighetto (C+) - This certainly isn't the same Andrighetto the Avalanche saw earlier in the season when he was on the top line but there were enough sparks tonight you were reminded why this guy has been so productive since coming to Colorado. He needs to build off tonight and find his way back onto the scoresheet.

Tyson Barrie (D) - His fancy stats probably got inflated a bit when the Avalanche pushed hard at the end but Barrie's ineffectiveness with the goaltender pulled continued a nightlong trend of him generally just not being very good. In a game lacking in offensive punch, Barrie can't be this invisible.

Mark Barberio (B-) - After a frustrating string of poor performances, Barberio bounced with a solid night and earned an assist on Zadorov's late goal. He had several shifts in which he held pucks in the offensive zone and willed the Avalanche to some offense.

Jonathan Bernier (C+) - None of the three goals stood out as particularly bad by Bernier and the defensive lapses and turnovers in front of him were far more egregious than anything Bernier did. That said, giving up 3 goals on just 14 shots in the first two periods is a waste of a respectable defensive effort.

Blake Comeau (C-) - Not the kind of performance we've gotten accustomed to seeing from Colorado's line of redemption. They got beat up at even strength and Comeau didn't do anything particularly notable unless you get really excited about the one hit he registered.

J.T. Compher (B-) - Compher has started to flash recently and is looking like the player we saw more of before the thumb injury. He committed awfully hard on the Flames' first goal and was unable to recover to contest Dougie Hamilton's rocket but I'm not sure he would have made much of a difference on it. If he continues like this, points should follow.

Samuel Girard (C+) - He continues to mix brilliance with what we'll call youth-driven errors. He's struggling with contested pucks at the blue line and while his recovery is strong, he's taking a big risk every team he tries to be a one-man army. His aggression shooting is something he needs to do more of every night.

Erik Johnson (C+) - Solid fancy stats that, like Barrie, were propped up a bit by a frenzied Avalanche finish but ultimately he remained solid. Some terrible turnovers and some great defense. The offense continues to be hit or miss for Johnson and tonight he threw five pucks at the net but only two made it through.

Alexander Kerfoot (C-) - Faceoffs continue to be an anchor around Kerfoot's neck and for a coach like Jared Bednar, he's going to have to improve in order to earn more trust at the center spot. Overall a quiet game despite being on the ice with the team's top power-play unit and was completely ineffective (as was the whole team) with the goaltender pulled at the end.

Gabriel Landeskog (B-) - It's a generous grade given his easily avoidable penalty led to Calgary's first goal and he fought the puck all night but he finished with 21:55 of ice time, tossed four shots at the net, blocked four shots, and even won two of his five faceoff attempts, which is an area he's quietly inherited as part of his renaissance man duties for the Avalanche. The offense wasn't there like it has been recently but he continues to be a driving force all over the ice.

Nathan MacKinnon (C-) - He snagged another primary point and remains among the hottest offensive players in the league with his assist on Mikko Rantanen's goal but there was a lot of down in his game tonight. Where he's looked confident with the puck the last month or so, he was indecisive and frustrated tonight and he took two penalties along the way. He still threw nine shots towards the Calgary goal and that's a nice feather in the cap for a player who didn't have his best game.

Andrei Mironov (C) - Mironov has become one of the hardest players to grade because the expectations aren't very high and his ice time was predictably limited. He had one ghastly turnover early and didn't see much ice after that. He blocked a couple shots and even took a couple of his own so it wasn't all bad but it was certainly a step down from his performance against Minnesota.

Matt Nieto (D) - Nieto continues to be the weak link of his line in my eyes. He's the most limited player on that line and beyond his speed simply doesn't offer much upside and yet consistently gets more ice time than players who are doing more. He made a nice place on the first Avs' PK but was Casper the rest of the night.

 Mikko Rantanen (C) - Another tough grade to give out because you're balancing game-changing plays here. His goal was a laser on the power play and it moved him into the top ten in the NHL in power-play points. That's great. The extremely lazy turnover at the blue line that led to the first last-minute Calgary scored in the second period was a game-changer. That's not great. The all-around game for the talented Finn remains a work in progress.

Carl Soderberg (C-) - He's basically Landeskog-Lite given his all-around role and usage. He certainly could use an upgrade on at least one of his wings to capitalize on his offensive upside more but he continues to do a lot of little things well while also disappearing for stretches. Not a great line for his night but at least Soderberg won 50% of his draws.

Dominic Toninato (INC) - He played seven minutes and won three of four faceoffs. Very little else happened with him on the ice. He looks like the prime candidate to head to San Antonio when Tyson Jost is likely recalled in the next few days. He needs just a little more time in the AHL.

Colin Wilson (D) - Not great, Bob. I advocated up above for him taking Nieto's spot on the Soderberg line but tonight's performance wasn't the reason for that. He was pretty invisible as a whole and his role on this team remains a weird enigma.

Nail Yakupov (B) - Bednar seems to have found a groove with Yakupov and the general idea is that less is more for Nail. His all-around game isn't strong enough to justify being a big minute guy at evens but as a cog on the power play and in offensive situations, his skills can really shine. Tonight was a quiet night but his energy led to a long offensive zone shift in the second period after the Rantanen goal.

Nikita Zadorov (C+) - Not good enough defensively as a whole but he made some decent plays on the offensive side and obviously his goal, which they managed to not take away from him this time, gave Colorado some late life and was a rocket from the point. Low, hard to track, and coming in hot is the kind of shot you'd like to see Zadorov master as he continues to mature.

The Avalanche return to action on Wednesday night when the Winnipeg Jets come calling.

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