Nathan MacKinnon

MacKinnon is just on another level right now. He is taking over games at will and is racking up the points left and right. 

The other thing MacKinnon is doing lately is setting the tone and acting as the emotional heart beat of this Avalanche group. That’s normally a role we see filled by Captain Gabe Landeskog, but MacKinnon is driving the bus on and off the ice right now, and I think you can see the impact it’s having on the rest of the team. 

He was the one who flipped the script on the first period. The Avs were struggling to get things going against an inspired Calgary team, and MacKinnon just picked up the puck and decided that that was done and his team was going to take control. 

Several guys have talked to me about how everything in this league gets dialed up a level after the All-Star break, and I think MacKinnon embodies that better than maybe anyone right now, and tonight was no exception. 

Alexandar Georgiev

I thought he was spectacular tonight. He was everything the Avalanche needed him to be in a game like this.

It felt like got the better chances at the start of the game and at the start of each period, all in moments that felt like potential turning points, or moments where the Flames could have gotten back into things, but Georgiev stood tall. 

When you add in the fact that Georgiev was playing for the second night in a row, I thought it made his performance that much better. Not only was he huge in making key saves at the right times for the Avs, the Flames were able to generate enough in the back half of the game that you could totally talk me into a scenario in which the Flames are able to overcome a two-goal deficit to get things tied, if not for Georgiev. 

He has a calming presence back there for this group. I really feel like Georgiev has some of that Semyon Varlamov mentality in him. He might give one up, but he’s absolutely going to make the next save, and the group knows that and they look like they’re very confident playing in front of him right now. 

Nazem Kadri

He worked his ass off all night, and I thought he was one of Calgary’s best players consistently. He had a hand in setting up Calgary’s first goal of the night, and really early in the game he had multiple chances to get his team on the board. 

I liked his night in a game that saw his team really get kind of dominated, I thought he battled hard especially when you consider the emotions he was dealing with in his return to Colorado. 

Sure, they were battling back all night and that skews these numbers a little bit, but Kadri created 20 corsi events for, and was a net positive in terms of scoring opportunities at 5v5. 

It’s hard to say that Calgary really had many “studs” tonight, and if we’re being honest… Even putting Kadri here is kind of pushing it, but I thought he skated hard and was trying to make a difference out there, it just wasn’t enough. 


Kurtis MacDermid

I almost feel bad doing this and putting him here given how few minutes he logged, but the fight he got in with Milan Lucic did not go well and I really did think it gave Calgary some life right before they scored. 

MacDermid has been a physical force pretty much every time he has dropped the gloves since he got to Denver, and truly is one of the league’s real heavyweights. I know he gets criticized for not fighting enough, given that it’s a huge part of his role here with the Avs, but I think he fights more than enough, and in general he does well and I’ve seen it work in his team’s favor on several occasions. 

Tonight just wasn’t one of those instances, and he is maybe a little lucky that it didn’t spark a comeback by the Flames. 

Honorable Mention

Denis Malgin and the bottom six

Not really much to say here, I thought Colorado depth was outstanding tonight and were a major reason why they were able to put this game away semi-early. It amazing what a difference it makes when you have your role players chipping in like they are right now. 

I specifically called out Malgin because that goal he scored was awesome. By a country mile it’s his best goal as an Av, and I agree with what Jared Bednar said after the game, it looked like something you would see MacKinnon or Rantanen do.