Avalanche

Avs/Ducks Grades – Total domination

The Colorado Avalanche dominated a short-handed Anaheim Ducks squad from start to finish, controlling 66% of the even strength shot attempts through the game and winning by a score of 3-1.

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

Sven Andrighetto (B+) - The Swiss winger just continues to produce, and his 2 assists tonight puts him on top of the Avs scoring leaders.  He's quite slippery on the ice, as he had a breakaway in the third and would have had another one in the second if he didn't trip over that tricky blueline.

Mark Barberio (B) - He had an adventurous shift early in the game, which included some turnovers and sketchy moments, but went on to have a very solid game, and the Avs controlled 72% of the attempts with him out there.

Tyson Barrie (B+) - His two goals this year have been game-winners.  While I've been critical of his shot from the point before, the one he let go on the winner was a rocket.  He continues to impress this season.

Jonathan Bernier (B+) - Bernier really didn't have a lot to do tonight.  On the only goal against, he was screened by his own guy, but other than that was really solid.

Chris Bigras (B+) - I thought he had a quietly solid game but if you look at the underlying numbers, the Avs were dominant when he was on the ice, controlling an absurd 84% of the attempts.  The coaching staff has limited his ice time through 5 games but if he keeps playing this way, it won't last long.

Blake Comeau (A-) - Credit where credit is due, as that was easily Comeau's best game of the season.  He didn't do anything that made your head shake and was very much in control on the ice, which isn't always the case.  I don't really think he did anything wrong on the disallowed goal but I see why the refs made the call.

J.T. Compher (A) - I thought that was one of the better NHL performances we've seen from Compher to date.  With MacKinnon's injury, he played a bigger role offensively and seemed to love it.  He ended up leading the Avs forwards in ice time with almost 22 minutes.  He also crushed it in the faceoff circle at 67%.

Matt Duchene (A) - He ended up with 4 shots on goal, but there were a few times on the power play where you were hoping he would shoot, including one in the third where he created a ton of space for himself and instead of shooting, missed the pass to Yakupov.  He looks on top of his game early.

Erik Johnson (A) - A lot of it was power play time, but he logged another 27 minutes tonight and the Avs killed it with him out there.  The points will start to come eventually but he's probably their most important player at the moment.

Alexander Kerfoot (B) - He should have had another goal but the refs took it away in what looks to be a very poor call.  Just continue to be impressed by his intelligence with and without the puck.  The biggest issue is him shooting, and with over 5 minutes of power play time, he didn't record a shot on goal.  The puck just seems to find this guy everywhere.

Gabriel Landeskog (A+) - The Captain took over the game on both ends of the ice and never looked back.  He's logging absurdly heavy minutes and doesn't seem to be having any issues with it.  It was nice to see him get on the board with his first goal against a goalie this year.

Nathan MacKinnon (INC) - It appears the Avs have dodged a bullet here, and he'll likely be in the lineup tomorrow.  Great news.

Patrik Nemeth (B) - Another solid game from the Swede.  He made some key blocks on the penalty kill and continues to be a safety net for Barrie.

Matt Nieto (B+) - Nieto did exactly what he needed to do coming back into the lineup.  He played with speed and provided energy.  A poor opening night may have cost him a regular spot but he's still a valuable depth player.

Mikko Rantanen (B) - Rantanen, with two more assists tonight, is now producing a point per game pace, despite not playing to his fullest ability.  He did not record a shot on goal tonight.

Carl Soderberg (A-) - He really needs to clean up the penalties but he was dominant on the ice tonight, as the Avs produced 23 shot attempts in his 12 minutes of even strength time.

Colin Wilson (A) - I thought Wilson was tremendous, particularly defensively in the neutral zone.  There were several times where he caught the Ducks skaters on the backcheck and even took the puck away with a quick stick lift.  He's a bit expensive but has been a pretty effective player so far.

Nail Yakupov (B) - Yak had a rather pedestrian night overall considering what we've seen from him to date, but he was playing surprisingly physical all night, and after Rantanen got taken out, went right after Josh Manson.

Nikita Zadorov (A) - Z led the Avs with 9 even strength shot attempts, 5 shots on goal, and somehow his goal was a flukey empty-netter.  For the second straight game, the Avs were dominant with him on the ice, and he's doing it all while playing a very controlled game.  It should say something that the coaching staff had him out at the end of the game to protect the lead.  The last two games, the Avs have had 23 scoring chances with Z on the ice, and only 4 scoring chances against.

The Avs hope to continue the winning streak when they're back on the ice tomorrow night against the Dallas Stars.  The game starts at 6 PM MST.



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