Avs-Penguins Grades – Gut Check

The Colorado Avalanche went into Pittsburgh and pulled out a big 2-1 victory against the defending Stanley Cup Champs.

How did each player perform?  Let's find out...

Sven Andrighetto (B) - That was one of Sven's better all-around performances in a while.  He was moving well all night, and particularly in the third period.  He had a great rush that drew a penalty and nearly ended in a goal.

Mark Barberio (A) - Barberio certainly has needed the last two games after a scratch and getting pounded against Tampa.  He had the best possession numbers on the team, and obviously, the goal he scored was massive.

Tyson Barrie (C) - Barrie had a relatively quiet night again, and took a dump in off the leg late in the game, which didn't look like fun.  I guess we can assume he's fine but another minor injury wouldn't be good since he hasn't looked the same since his last one.

Jonathan Bernier (A) - Speaking of players that needed big games.  Bernier bounced back from the beat down Dallas gave him with a big performance.  It's a shame it couldn't end in a shutout.

Blake Comeau (D) - Yet another empty-net goal for Comeau, but the Avs got completely smoked with him on the ice, as he was on the ice for a whopping 28 shot attempts by Pittsburgh in 14 minutes of even strength time.

J.T. Compher (B) - Other than MacKinnon, Compher had the most chances for the Avs, finding himself on yet another breakaway shorthanded, and another nice chance on 4 on 4.  He gets downgraded just a bit because his decision to pass on a breakaway was horrendous.

Samuel Girard (D) - He got to play a little more than last game, but still not a lot, and a good chunk of it was on the power play.  His possession numbers were not pleasant, but you continue to want to see him shoot more, as he ended up with 0 attempts at even strength.

Erik Johnson (B+) - The big man on the blueline escaped an injury last game and made a few huge blocked shots with the Penguins net empty, including one that led to Comeau's goal.

Tyson Jost (B) - Jost is starting to show a little bit of life, and considering the rest of the team was very high event, not a lot happened with Jost on the ice, which is just fine in a game like tonights.

Alexander Kerfoot (INC) - Poor guy gets beat down by the other team's defensemen every night and it's a shot from his own teammate that ends up taking him out.  Hopefully, he'll be OK.

Gabriel Landeskog (B+) - Landy was really strong along the boards in the offensive zone, helping that line keep possession, as they were the only one that could really do that.  He also continues to carry a heavy load defensively.

Anton Lindholm (D) - With 7 defensemen, one always seems to get the short end in ice time, and it was Lindy tonight, not even breaking 10 minutes.  When he was out there, the Avs struggled, controlling only 18% of the shot attempts.

Nathan MacKinnon (A) - For most of the night, MacKinnon was the Avs offense.  Everything went through him, and he played a lot with only 10 forwards most of the night.  It's unfortunate his goal was disallowed because he really made a very good defenseman look silly.

Patrik Nemeth (B-) - The coaching staff continues to rely on him for heavy minutes, and while he gets beat up at even strength, he has been pretty valuable on the PK.  He played Crosby well a few times tonight.

Matt Nieto (D) - As mentioned earlier, that line took a beating, as Malkin just took them to town.  Nieto isn't the guy that usually drives the play on that line, so if his linemates struggle, he doesn't do much to stand out.

Mikko Rantanen (B+) - Really liked Mikko's game at even strength, and in particular, down low and behind the net.  He's too strong to get outmuscled and tonight he made it tough on the Penguins defenders.

Carl Soderberg (D) - Soderberg had the worst possession #'s on the team, and Malkin definitely got the best of him, but nothing ended up going in, so it worked for one night.

Colin Wilson (C) - Wilson's pass to the middle of the ice got deflected and ended up going to Barberio for the only goal against a goalie for the Avs.  He certainly doesn't stand out offensively, and the Avs could certainly use some secondary scoring.

Nikita Zadorov (B-) - Z had a quietly effective game, and only EJ played more 5 on 5 among the defenders for the team.  Continues to get shot attempts, with 3 more tonight at even strength, tying a few other skaters for second on the team behind MacK.

The Avs head right back at it tomorrow against the Washington Capitals.  The game starts at 5 PM MST.

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