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Avs-Coyotes player grades: Desert disappointment

AJ Haefele Avatar
December 23, 2018

GLENDALE, Ariz. – Player grades from the Colorado Avalanche’s game against the Arizona Coyotes.

Sven Andrighetto (C+) – Great assist on the Kerfoot goal as he just threw the puck at the net. That’s an attitude that needs to be more prevalent among his teammates.

Tyson Barrie (D) – His center ice pinch with zero defensive help sprung Garland for the fourth goal against. Just a total lack of awareness on his part. Indicative of the kind of dumb hockey that’s killed Colorado the last few weeks.

Gabriel Bourque (C) – The whole fourth line was fine. I didn’t have any issues with them.

Matt Calvert (B-) – I thought Calvert played a whale of a game, especially during the portion where none of the Avs seemed to care about this game in the slightest. He was active and shooting pucks. His cross-ice pass to Andrighetto was excellent and Sven came very close to burying it. Horseshoes and hand grenades, though.

Ian Cole (C+) – I thought there were stretches of the game where Cole was Colorado’s best defenseman by a wide margin. That his grade is this low is a pretty good indicator of how I thought that unit played.

J.T. Compher (A-) – Snagged two assists and he continues to be the little engine that could for the Avs.

Pavel Francouz (A-) – Agh, that’s just such a tough way to lose the game. He was spectacular up until the moment he wasn’t. He never saw the fifth goal off the stick of Brad Richardson and it’s a backbreaking goal to give up when the Avs were just minutes from pulling at least a point. But he was great to that point and his performance should help Bednar feel better about playing him should he be back up.

Samuel Girard (C-) – He was a high-wire act at times in this game as he narrowly avoided disaster multiple times but was mostly bailed out by teammates. His short stint on the top PP unit didn’t accomplish much of anything but he was on the ice when they finally scored a PPG so I’m sure he’ll get credit for that from somebody out there. I really thought his overall play was pretty poor.

A.J. Greer (C) – It wasn’t a bad game for Greer, which is something, I guess.

Philipp Grubauer (D) – Not giving him an F because he never should have started today and the defense in front of him never got off the plane.

Erik Johnson (F) – EJ isn’t good enough to be as casual as he was today and still be a good NHL player. He wasn’t mentally engaged at all and it showed. Just a terrible day from him.

Tyson Jost (D) – For a player whose success relies on his hockey IQ, when he plays a dumb game like tonight it really shows his limitations as an NHL player.

Alexander Kerfoot (A+) – He’s a legit 5’9″ and absolutely fearless and he scored both goals in front of the net where guys his size go to have their careers shortened. He didn’t care and it paid off twice for the Avs.

Gabriel Landeskog (C-) – Complicated night for me in trying to grade the top line. They all found their way to points but each of them felt so disconnected from the success of each other. Landeskog’s goal was lucky but he did what he had to do with it. I thought his fight with Crouse was ill-advised and gave the Coyotes a bunch of jump. It also removed him from five minutes of the third period whereas all Arizona lost was a fourth line player who otherwise had no impact on the game. A disappointing decision from the captain in my opinion.

Anton Lindholm (D) – Grubauer tried to cover the puck and Lindholm took it away from him so he could throw it to a covered Kerfoot on the wall. It predictably turned into a turnover and ended up in the back of the net for Arizona’s first goal. Dumb.

Nathan MacKinnon (C-) – His third period was incredible. The shift in which he just decided to do something special is the kind of talent teams spend seasons losing games on purpose to try to find. He’s a special player and that shift alone drove home his MVP candicacy again this year. But the rest of his game just wasn’t at the kind of level it should be. It’s usually mental with him and his failure to commit to doing the little things to be successful is really obvious, especially in a game where he flips the F U switch and does something bananas like today.

Patrik Nemeth (F) – Any time he wants to start defending the front of his net, Grubauer would probably really appreciate it. His matadorian defense was a big part of this fiasco.

Matt Nieto (A-) – He was busting it all night and was one of the few Avs who seemed to realize the game started before the third period. He didn’t get tons of ice time but he was really solid with it and he didn’t cheap his way to two assists.

Mikko Rantanen (D) – Way too casual with the puck, not good on offense at all, and added another penalty to boot. He’s taken way too many penalties this season. His inability to corral the puck cleanly led to the game-winning goal. I’m not necessarily saying it was ALL HIS FAULT or anything but just a cleaner play with the puck and OEL never has a chance to make the play he did to keep it in the zone. Game of inches.

Carl Soderberg (D) – It doesn’t happen often but I felt he was thoroughly outplayed by both Calvert and Nieto today. He just sort of existed while his diminutive partners in crime were Colorado’s best players for stretches of this game.

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