A 5-0 Avs victory in Nashville today. Just like we expected. The grades:

Mikko Rantanen (B) – Had an assist, but no shots on net and his line really didn’t touch the puck a whole lot today. But, no, they didn’t really need to.

Nathan MacKinnon (A+) – Two cannon-blast goals from the left circle, both one-timers. He set the tone early in the game with that first goal, though it’s important to remember that was the only goal in the game’s first 34 minutes, 41 seconds.

Gabe Landeskog (A) – Great goal late in the second that made it 3-0 and seemed to make Nashville throw in the towel. A give-and-go down the ice with Sam Girard, with Landy finishing. Beauty.

Alexander Kerfoot (A+) – Continuing to play better. Scored his 11th of the year in the second to make it 2-0 and added assists on two other goals. Arguably his best game of the season. Can’t come at a better time.

Carl Soderberg (A) – Two more assists for Carl. A five-point road trip. Not bad for two games. Also won 6-of-10 faceoffs and was excellent on the PK.

J.T. Compher (B) – No points, one shot on net, lost 7-of-10 faceoffs. But he battled and played well defensively.

Tyson Jost (C) – I guess I didn’t love his game. I mean, not terrible, but only played 12:04 and didn’t get a shot on net and puck-possession numbers weren’t great. Just gotta keep workin.’

Sheldon Dries (C+) – Only played 11:13 and didn’t have the puck much. But he did register four hits. He only flew in on the morning of the game, too.

Andrew Agozzino (C) – Not a whole lot to talk about. Didn’t do much offensively and lost 4-of-5 faceoffs.

A.J. Greer (C+) – Only played 7:49. Was just kind of there, but he certainly didn’t embarrass anybody. Still needs to work on skating a bit.

Sven Andrighetto (B) – A pretty nice game for Sven 10. Had an assist, skated well. He’s played better of late. I didn’t say awesome, just better.

Matt Calvert (B+) – Had a real nice game on the PK, playing 2:53 of short-handed time. He’s one of the guys pressuring the puck more at the point, to good results.

Erik Johnson (A-) – Blocked six shots, was pretty smooth with the puck throughout. He’s been a lead guy in helping the Avs out of the abyss.

Sam Girard (A) – Great assist on Landy’s first goal. Not great Corsi numbers, but that’s deceptive. Had a fine game.

Tyson Barrie (A-) – One assist, three shots on net, one of few Avs players with positive Corsi numbers. Fine game for No. 4.

Ryan Graves (B-) – Had a couple shaky moments with the puck. But he recovers pretty well. Played a mostly solid 12-plus minutes.

Patrik Nemeth (B+) – If this was to be his final game with the Avs, he went out in style. I thought he was very good, even if the puck-possession numbers don’t seem it. Blocked three shots in his nearly 18 minutes.

Nikita Zadorov (A) – A goal, assist and a couple Z smashes. Great game. He’s played very well of late.

Philipp Grubauer (A+) – Came out of mothballs to play a perfect game in net. People can get off his case now.

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.

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