Avs/Capitals Grades – Top Line Rolling

The Colorado Avalanche came out of the gate hot and never looked back, dominating the Washington Capitals on their way to a much-needed 6-2 victory.

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

Sven Andrighetto (B) - Quietly solid game from Andrighetto.  He was only out for one attempt toward the Avs' net and he hit the post late in in the game.

Mark Barberio (C-) - Barberio wasn't quite as bad as he was against Ottawa (hard to achieve that again), but he still didn't look all there.  He was in no man's land a bit on the Caps' second goal.

Chris Bigras (C-) - Bigras plays at such a high speed, but kind of looks jittery and afraid of contact when he goes back to get the puck.  He turned it over a few times and his pair with Mironov really struggled most of the night.

Blake Comeau (C-) - Not Comeau's best game overall, and even though the penalty in the first wasn't a great one, it's one you'll take from him because he needs to be engaged physically.

J.T. Compher (C+) - The offense just isn't there right now for Compher, but he's sure not afraid to put his body in front of shots, even after his broken thumb.  Had at least three big blocks tonight.

Samuel Girard (A) - That zone entry on the MacKinnon goal was a thing of beauty.  He certainly doesn't lack confidence with the puck.  Getting a Sandis Ozolinsh vibe with him.

Erik Johnson (A) - The Caps looked weak all night, but EJ was a monster all night.  He played over 10 minutes in the first and if the game was close, certainly would have cracked 30.

Vladislav Kamenev (INC) - Really unfortunate for him to get hurt in his first game with the team.  Heal up.

Alexander Kerfoot (B) - Had a beautiful give-and-go with Wilson late in the game that almost led to a goal.  He took a beating all night as it seems the Caps focused on him physically.

Gabriel Landeskog (A+) - First career hat trick for the Captain, and he set the tone right off the bat with a goal 17 seconds in.  He looks rejuvenated offensively on the top line.

Nathan MacKinnon (A+) - Five points and he couldn't even get the first star because his linemate stole the show.  The game appears to have slowed down a bit for him.

Andrei Mironov (C-) - Miro will do one good thing, followed by a weird mistake.  He made a great defensive play in the third, only to literally give the puck right back to the guy a second later.  Really hard to get a read on him but I do see some small improvement in him.

Matt Nieto (C) - Shame on him for doing absolutely nothing wrong on the goal that was taken away.

Mikko Rantanen (A+) - The forecheck on the Wilson goal was perfection, and what he's very capable of doing.  He's quietly up to a point per game.

Carl Soderberg (B) - Great pass on the Rantanen goal, and the Barrie injury gave him a shot on the top power-play unit.  He did not disappoint.

Semyon Varlamov (B+) - He had Ovechkin's number all night, reading the play properly and getting square to the puck whenever the sniper got a chance.  A strong bounce-back game from him to keep the goals-against limited.

Colin Wilson (B+) - Easily his best game in an Avs uniform.  Great work in front on the goal, and he was robbed of an assist on a fantastic forecheck by the very questionable decision by the NHL to take away the Avs goal.

Nail Yakupov (B) - It isn't often that you see an NHL player go an entire game without being on the ice for an even-strength shot against.  Yak did that tonight.  He didn't have an impact on the scoresheet but he was moving his feet through the neutral zone.

Nikita Zadorov (B-) - Very weird game to grade him on.  When he was on the ice, he was really good, and the Avs were good with him out there.  You don't love the penalties, but at least they're aggressive penalties, and he needs to be physical and mean.  The goal being taken away from him was an awful call.  You can tell the coaching staff liked his game, because even though he was in the box a lot, he finished third on D in ice time.

The Avalanche hit the road to take on the Nashville Predators on Saturday.  The game starts at 6 PM MST.

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