Well, did everyone have a good time this week at the Pepsi Center? How are those vocal cords right now?

The grades:

Mikko Rantanen (A) – The hero of this one. His great tip with 2:50 left tied it up, and you saw what he did in OT with that lethal one-timer of his. Like a lot of Avs, he didn’t seem to have much jump in the first 30 minutes of the game, but, boy, did he make up for it.

Nathan MacKinnon (B+) – The Flames did a better job taking away his shooting lanes in this one, especially on the power play. But he still had a heck of a night. His lead pass on the tying Rantanen goal was a thing of beauty. He dangled the puck a little too much at times, getting it stripped occasionally.

Gabe Landeskog (B+) – Continues to be thisclose to scoring a goal in this series. He had a couple Grade A chances, but Mike Smith continues to bedevil him. He drew the penalty that got the power play in which Rantanen scored the tying goal. He seemed a hair slow tonight at times in the first two periods, like several other Avs. But he battled hard.

Alexander Kerfoot (C+) – Just not a lot to talk about offensively. Had no shots on net and just was kind of on the periphery most of the night. Had decent puck-possession numbers, but didn’t do too much with it. Was dropped off the MacKinnon line by later in the game.

Carl Soderberg (B) – Carl picked a good time to finally have something of an offensive impact in the series. His cross over to Rantanen was just the kind of setup big No. 96 needed to finish the game. He did a good job on the PK most of the night too.

J.T. Compher (B+) – His goal finally got the Avs on the board, in the third period. Continues to struggle in the faceoff dot, though. I thought he had good legs in this one, though, and he continues to be a clutch player for the Avs.

Sven Andrighetto (C-) – Only played 6:48 in regulation and was on the ice for a goal against. He was not happy at being benched at the start of the playoffs, but he’s yet to show Jared Bednar that it was a big mistake.

Matt Calvert (B) – Chipped in with an assist and, as always, made a pain of himself to the Flames. He’s been playing a bit banged up, not practicing much with the team of late. But he’s shown he’s a gamer.

Tyson Jost (C) – Another kind of uneventful game offensively. Only played eight minutes in regulation, though. I think he should get a little more ice time, frankly, but he’s also got to earn it. I think he’s worked hard defensively, though.

Colin Wilson (B-) – He got a lot of time on the first power-play unit, as kind of a pivot man in the middle. I thought he had some good moments with the puck, and five shots on net through regulation is a good showing for him. Unfortunately, none went in.

Matt Nieto (B) – Played a mostly fine depth-liner kind of game. No shorties for him this time, though. He did chip in with an assist, however, on the goal by Compher that got them back in the game. He’s had a pretty nice series.

Gabriel Bourque (C+) – Only played 5:08 in regulation, yet had four hits. That’s about the extent of the analysis I can make on his game.

Ian Cole (C+) – Gave everyone two minutes of terror by shooting a puck into the stands in overtime, for a delay-of-game penalty. The Avs’ PK did a very nice job killing it off, though. He had his usual Ian Cole kind of physical, sweaty game otherwise.

Erik Johnson (C+) – Not his best game probably, but he battled. Took a high-sticking minor in the second period that resulted in Calgary’s power-play goal. He had OK puck-possession numbers, but played almost 24 minutes.

Cale Makar (B+) – Not quite the galactic events of the other night, but at the end of the night, his stat line read: 20:06, plus-1, 29 Corsi events for, 12 against. That is very, very, very good.

Patrik Nemeth (B+) – He’s quietly had a pretty nice series, and it’ll be interesting to see what Jared Bednar does when Sam Girard is ready to play again. He played more than 18 minutes, with a Corsi of 22-10. That’ll work.

Tyson Barrie (A-) – Seven shots on goal, one assist, four hits, 34-19 Corsi. Excellent game, excellent playoffs, excellent last six weeks.

Nikita Zadorov (B-) – A bit of a struggle at times time for Big Z, but he did register six hits and didn’t do anything glaringly bad defensively. I thought he got a bit better as the game went on, like his team.

Philipp Grubauer (A) – He really made some big saves, none bigger than that pad stop in OT on Mikael Backlund The Flames put 37 shots on him, but only managed a fluky power-play goal in the second and a rebound goal in the third where his teammates didn’t do much to help him.

Adrian Dater
Author

Adrian Dater, was born in Vermont and lived as a tot in New York City before living most of his first 25 years in New Hampshire. Education:  Went to Keene State College and received a degree in journalism in 1988. I wrote sports for the college paper, called "The Equinox." Career: After a two-year stint out of college working as a proofreader and part--time sports writer for The Concord Monitor (N.H)., I moved to Denver in May of 1991, with no job, no connections and no car, but a lot of hope. After doing some odd jobs (including working as a bill collector for a trash company), I found some odd writing jobs for local periodicals and then latched on with The Denver Post in December of 1991 as a score-taker for the high-school sports department. That led to more writing jobs, such as covering DU hockey, lots of high-school coverage and various minor-pro sports. In March of 1995, I got a scoop that would change my life: I broke the story of the Quebec Nordiques moving to Denver to become the Avalanche, and for the next 19 years I covered the team every day. In 2015, I became the lead NHL national columnist with Bleacher Report, where I worked until 2017 before joining BSN Denver. I have also been a main hockey writer with Sports Illustrated, The Hockey News, The Sporting News, Hockey Digest, Versus.com and have written seven books on sports, including the 2006 best-selling "Blood Feud", a book about the famous Avs-Red Wings rivalry. Most memorable sports moment: As a fan, when the Red Sox won the World Series in 2004. Also, when the Celtics beat the Lakers in the 1984 NBA Finals. The finest sports book I’ve ever read: It would probably be a book called "Game Misconduct", by Russ Conway. It's the story of how a small-town sports reporter (Conway) in Massachusetts exposed the corruption and brought down one of the most powerful figures in the NHL at the time, Alan Eagleson. The book is a primer on how to report and investigate powerful entities. One sports movie that I can’t live without: I loved "Rocky III", and I loved a 1977 basketball movie starring Robby Benson called "One on One." And, of course, "Slap Shot." Most memorable experience as a reporter: I've gotten to interview some of my boyhood heroes, including Larry Bird, Fred Lynn and Luis Tiant. But probably the most memorable of them all was writing the story of Ray Bourque's one and only Stanley Cup in his 22 years, his final game as a pro with the Avs in 2001. The sport that started it all: As a guy who eventually grew to become 6-foot-6, I could hoop it up some. I was the starting center on my high-school team that made the N.H. state semifinals in 1983. While I never played competitive hockey, I played a lot on the many frozen ponds of New Hampshire and had a pretty good slap shot.