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Avs Game 35 Grades: Taking care of business

AJ Haefele Avatar
January 16, 2022

Darcy Kuemper – A+

He didn’t have a lot to do but he got his first shutout as an Av. Why even bother trying to nitpick this?

Nicolas Aube-Kubel – C+

Did his job just fine but didn’t stand out in any kind of way. A solid night for NAK but just that.

Andre Burakovsky – B+

Big steal led to Kadri’s goal, which essentially ended the game at 3-0. He was good again tonight and his tenure in Colorado continues to be marked by excellence against Arizona. That may not be saying much, but it all counts.

J.T. Compher – C-

Been a pretty quiet month for JT and tonight he got a third-line job and didn’t do a lot with it. He spent too much of the game chasing and doesn’t seem to have any confidence with the puck as he’s looking to defer…a lot.

Samuel Girard – A

I loved Girard’s game as much as I can for a player who didn’t register any points. He was excellent at moving pucks out of his own zone and created a little offense. He’s in a great role now as Colorado’s clear-cut #3 and when he plays like he did tonight, the Avs are so hard to beat.

Erik Johnson – B

I didn’t like EJ with the puck but I liked his defense. He was moved around a ton tonight and didn’t have a consistent pairing and it looked like it was impacting some of his comfort level in breaking out of the zone depending on which partner was on the ice. That’s an area of concern for the Avs as they move forward with the Byram uncertainty. Really liked EJ on the PK.

Jack Johnson – B-

If JJ could play the Coyotes every night, he’d be considered a pretty damn good player still. He feasted both nights as there isn’t really much of an aggressive forecheck to give him problems and he outmuscled most of his problems when they arose. A solid overall night.

Tyson Jost – B-

I really liked the fourth line tonight and the grades for all of them reflect that. Jost worked hard as he normally does and there was natural chemistry with LOC moving down. Better early on, Jost and Co. faded a bit as the game wore on and the competitiveness dropped.

Nazem Kadri – A

Tore up the Coyotes again. He scored a freebie tonight off a horrible turnover and a nice feed from Burakovsky. He had a pretty low-key night all things considered.

Gabe Landeskog – A-

Would’ve been better had he finished on his odd-man rush but he was still quite good in his return from the COVID list. He mentioned after the first period it felt like he hadn’t skated in a week and it looked like he was working his way into the conditioning and timing aspect of the game. Once there, however, he was just fine.

Kurtis MacDermid – C+

I don’t think the Avs can continue to pretend he’s a defenseman because he clearly is not but that said he just didn’t have any real problems tonight other than the penalty he took defending his crease. The second cross-check was just too much for the officials, but it was all good.

Nathan MacKinnon – A+

When things were still in doubt, MacKinnon put his head down and made the play himself to get the Avs on the board. After that, Colorado seemed to relax and let the game come a little more naturally. MacKinnon’s three-point night was grittier than you’d expect given the competition but it was needed all the same.

Cale Makar – B+

Good all-around night. Had an assist on the power play and laid a couple of big hits, including the bomb he dropped on Antoine Roussel that he immediately followed by talking smack to the fiery Frenchman. As he keeps doing more of that, players still stop trying him as much because they know he’ll put the hurt on ’em.

Mikhail Maltsev – B+

Seven hits?? That’s what you want from a big boy on your fourth line who has questions about his level of engagement! I liked his game last night but loved it tonight. He was effective early on when things were still competitive and he was on it. Winning six of nine faceoffs is also the kind of thing to get him another look.

Alex Newhook – C

Didn’t notice him much as he’s now strung together a handful of quiet games. Learning curve of the league and all.

Val Nichushkin – B+

Guy is a stud and is playing the most consistent hockey of his career. The scoring has stalled ever so slightly but he was due for a couple of games of things not going his way. His process was still excellent tonight. I genuinely can’t imagine the Avs letting him walk this summer.

Logan O’Connor – B-

Like Jost and Maltsev, I loved the energy early on and the chemistry shown by the trio. LOC didn’t do anything outstanding but he grinded out a solid night and was good on the PK once again. Good all-around effort, which is a major improvement for a fourth line that has seen some ghostly efforts in previous iterations.

Mikko Rantanen – B+

I’m dinging Mikko a bit because he was just so bad early in the game where his puck management was terrible and he looked like he wanted to be anywhere else in the world. Naturally, he finished with two goals and an assist. Classic Moose.

Devon Toews – B

Another night where he just wasn’t very good with the puck but wasn’t nearly as mistake-prone as last night. Didn’t have the offense to make up for the mistakes but also didn’t make the mistakes to begin with, so it wasn’t all bad by any means. A quiet and steady 25 minutes. Ho hum.

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