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Avalanche-Flyers player grades: No Ham

Adrian Dater Avatar
March 29, 2018

The Avalanche lost another critical game Wednesday night at home, this time to the Philadelphia Flyers, 2-1. How did the individuals fare? Let’s go to the grades:

Mikko Rantanen (F) – He fumbled pucks much of the night and missed the net consistently. He’s picked a bad time to lose his shot accuracy. He was stopped on a virtual layup of a chance right after Matt Nieto cut the lead to 2-1 in the second. He waited a beat too long, it seemed, to get his shot off and it hurt. The Avs NEED him to score. But that hasn’t happened for three straight games now. He had a chance to set up Gabe Landeskog right at the end, and threw the pass too far behind him. It was that kind of night for the big Finn.

Nathan MacKinnon (D) – The Hart Trophy talk is cooling down, isn’t it? Wednesday marked the fifth straight game without a goal for the guy the Avs just cannot afford to have go cold right now. He had a couple early chances, but just never really seemed to get into the flow after that. He fumbled a puck near the end that could have been the equalizer.

Gabe Landeskog (D) – Pretty much the same deal as the previous two. He worked hard as always, yeah. But nothing on the scoresheet and his line was caught running around a bit on Philly’s first goal of the night, by Claude Giroux. He had a good chance in the third, but couldn’t get much on it. He missed right with time running out too, on a setup from MacKinnon. FRUSTRATING.

Erik Johnson (C-) – Probably the first time I’ve given him anything below a C this season, but I just didn’t like his game much. He was part of a five-man unit running around in his own end on Philly’s second goal, by Ivan Provorov. He didn’t bring a lot to the party offensively either, including missing on a big chance late in the third.

Nikita Zadorov (C+) – He was physical, including a crunch of Giroux along the boards in the second period. He nicely kept a couple of pucks in the offensive zone, too, with that long reach. But he, too, was on the ice for that first Flyer goal.

Mark Alt (C+) – Tough to grade guys like him who don’t get a ton of ice time defensively, but I thought he was fine. He moved his feet pretty well and was physical. Jared Bednar seems to like him now, so look for him to stay in the lineup probably.

Sam Girard (C) – Tonight was a night where you needed something special out of him offensively, especially with so much pressure on the top line right now. But it didn’t happen. He skates the puck effortlessly into the opposing zone very often. It’s after he gets over the blue line that he still seems to have trouble deciding what to do with the puck.

Matt Nieto (B) – Scored the only goal of the first two periods for the Avs, a hard-working putback around the net. The Avs had that great shift right after, but Rantanen couldn’t finish. Nieto skated well I thought and had another chance or two.

Blake Comeau (C) – His line got hammered on puck-possession stats in the first two periods. Yet, he had a couple of real good chances too, but was robbed by Michal Neuvirth. It’s five straight games without a goal for him too.

Carl Soderberg (F) – He really got worked over along the boards on the Flyers’ second goal. Jordan Weal just turned him inside out a couple of times before feeding Provorov for the big slap shot that upped Philly’s lead to 2-1. The puck was in the Avs’ end so long on that goal that Provorov came off the bench to take Weal’s pass. Then, he takes a terrible interference penalty early in the third.

Tyson Barrie (C) – Was really active, as usual. But, for the second straight, critical game, he was a big part of a power-play unit that let the team down. He didn’t walk the blue line enough, I didn’t think anyway, on that big PP to start the third period. He moved the puck around, but it was kind of just station-to-station. The best PP point men pass and move, moving to create their own shot, that is.

Nail Yakupov (D) – As always there was maybe a half a second there where you thought, “Yak can do this!” And then the puck would be fumbled away off his stick, or just taken away, and you were back to reality.

Dominic Toninato (C) – He got an assist on Nieto’s goal. That’s more offense than you almost ever get from Dominic Toninato, so he has to get something decent here.

J.T. Compher (D) – Whatever happened to the kid who scored some clutch goals when you needed them, who did something to make you get out of your seats at least in appreciation for his relentlessness? I don’t know, it just seems like he’s not sure of what kind of plan to take right now. He doesn’t seem to be as sure with the puck on his stick as he once did.

Alexander Kerfoot (D) – He whiffed on a good chance right at the end of the second period, which would have made for quite a lively building entering the third. Instead, he and his linemates just kind of harmlessly buzzed around the perimeters all night. The lack of scoring from the college kid line right now is really hurting.

Tyson Jost (D) – See previous two entries.

Gabriel Bourque (D) – Didn’t notice him much at all tonight.

Patrik Nemeth (C) – The puck was a bit of a grenade on the stick again, but he blocked some shots and worked hard. He’s played a lot of minutes this year, you wonder if he’s a bit gassed.

Andrew Hammond (C+) – Tell you what, it could have been a lot worse. Yeah, he looked rustier than an old rain bucket in that first period, but he seemed to gain more confidence as the game wore on and the fact is, he DID give his team a chance to get at least a point. He was oversliding and nervous looking in that first, though.

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