Avs/Devils Grades – Not So Special Teams

The Colorado Avalanche were flat early in New Jersey and horrendous special teams cost them on every single goal, as they fell to the Devils 4-1.

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

Sven Andrighetto (D) - The Ghetto we saw at the end of last year has yet to make an appearance this year.  He's making poor decisions with the puck and has really struggled in the defensive zone in clearing it out, particularly today.

Tyson Barrie (B-) - Barrie, like most of the team, had his struggles on special teams, but he was dynamite at even strength, creating chances and ended with 6 shots on goal.  He has been the teams best defenseman through two games.

Jonathan Bernier (B) - There was a stretch in the third period where he was left on an island for basically 3 minutes and went into Prime Patrick Roy-mode, making at least 4 absurd saves.  He was good throughout but looked off balance on the third goal.

Chris Bigras (B-) - Bigras had a hero shift in the third period, where he dove to break up a rush, and then rushed it up the ice himself.  He's looked good through two games and should be in no danger of coming out, but he has also been very high event, having been on the ice for 32 shot attempts against in only 18 even strength minutes.

Blake Comeau (C) - Laid a massive hit on the shift that drew the penalty that led to the Avs only goal, but later ruined the Avs longest run in the offensive zone with a poor pass to the point, resulting in a rush the other way.  He is what he is, and that's a frustrating player.

J.T. Compher (D) - He ended up with an assist on the lone goal but he was a complete disaster defensively, which is a surprise since that's usually a strong suit of his.  He lost his guy a few times in the defensive zone, and on one of them, Bernier had to make not one, but two ridiculous saves.  We have yet to see the feisty side of him through two games.

Matt Duchene (B) - His line was easily the Avs most consistent at even strength today, but they didn't get a ton of even strength ice time.  He ended the night with 5 shots on goal.  Of the "star" forwards on the team, he was the best today.

Erik Johnson (D) - The second penalty call on him was awful, but it was also created by his own turnover.  He really played out of control today, and when he has those games, he rarely settles down in the game.  The Avs are asking for a lot from him in terms of minutes so hopefully, he can hold up.

Tyson Jost (C-) - He was very much lost on the third Devils goal, as he was for some reason covering the forward in the slot and left his position.  Once he got moved up to the Compher line, he looked significantly better, as did the entire line.  It'll be interesting to see if he ends up there starting next game.

Alexander Kerfoot (C+) - Considering he didn't have a single shot attempt at 5 on 5 Thursday, I'll take his 2 attempts tonight.  His patience with the puck in all three zones is a welcome addition to the team.

Gabriel Landeskog (F) - The Captain looked slow all night, and was on the ice for a team-high 14 scoring chances against.  Unlike last game, that line got pounded in the defensive zone.

Anton Lindholm (D) - He made a few passes in the defensive zone that missed and led to extended zone time for the Devils, but also had a nice rush in the first.  He ended with the Avs only controlling 25% of the shot attempts with him on the ice.

Nathan MacKinnon (F) - One even strength shot attempt.  One.  For Nathan MacKinnon, that is unacceptable.  His game overall was not good today, and through two games, has been a mess at clearing the puck on the penalty kill.

Patrik Nemeth (B) - If you watched the game and didn't notice Nemeth, you are not alone.  He was very quiet, in a good way, and did his job.

Mikko Rantanen (D) - Everyone had to have been yelling for him to shoot the puck when he got it all alone in the slot in the third.  Instead, he chose to pass to Andrighetto, who wasn't expecting it and had a poor angle.  Their 5 on 5 numbers weren't terrible, but they haven't looked in sync.

Carl Soderberg (A-) - The minus is because he had a terrible clearing attempt on the penalty kill in the second, but other than that, he was great.  He was a weapon on the power play two years ago around the net and showed it again today.  There's no way he's coming out of the lineup Monday.

Colin Wilson (D) - To my surprise, he ended up with 6 shots on goal, but a lot of those came from the front of the net on the power play.  He was a mess at even strength and was demoted to the 4th line.

Nail Yakupov (C+) - He had some good moments, and got more power play time today, it seemed, but he also whiffed horribly on a low percentage play, that led to the odd man rush and the Devils' final goal.

Nikita Zadorov (C-) - Z came back in and was physical, even joining the offense a bit, finishing third on the team with 4 shot attempts at even strength.  He was high event today, and his penalty is one he just needs to know he can't take.  He was likely trying to be mean to make an impression on the coaches, but he can't take that one.  For someone who supposedly had conditioning issues, he played nearly 20 minutes.

The Avs are back on the ice Monday afternoon when they take on the Boston Bruins.  The game starts at 11 AM MST.

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