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Avs-Penguins player grades: The streak goes on

AJ Haefele Avatar
November 29, 2018

Player grades from the Colorado Avalanche’s 6-3 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Sven Andrighetto (B) – I really liked his speed again tonight. He was moving the puck well and flying around the ice. He didn’t do much on his assist but it was well-earned with a clean zone entry and smart pass.

Mark Barberio (C) – The shot metrics were a million times better for Barberio and Nemeth on the third pairing. Their play was much-improved, for the most part. Barberio didn’t have any major issues tonight but I also didn’t see him moving the puck as well as he can. Just an okay night for Barbs. 

Matt Calvert (C-) – This line got slaughtered by the Pens tonight. Pittsburgh is able to run out three pretty balanced lines and the Avalanche were not able to handle that depth well at all. Calvert got a nice freebie point at the end of the game but his play was not up to the level it needed to be tonight.

Ian Cole (C) – He got obliterated in shot metrics and I really didn’t like the play he made on Crosby’s second goal. The Avs won the faceoff on the PK and Cole retrieved the puck and instead of wrapping it around the boards or trying to clear up the middle (always a no-no so good thing he didn’t do that), he tried to get a little too cute and instead put the puck up the wall into the teeth of the Pens’ PP. It landed on Crosby’s stick and he threw it at the net. It never should have gone in but the process breakdown from Cole was not great.

J.T. Compher (B) – He won some faceoffs and was flying around again tonight winning puck battles. The offense wasn’t quite there but the Avalanche are clearly a better team when he’s on the ice, especially in his current fourth-line role.

Samuel Girard (A-) – His puck-moving tonight was excellent. He created the first goal, which he scored, with a great play from his own blueline. That’s the kind of work that will elevate his game to a special level if he starts producing it regularly.

Philipp Grubauer (C-) – He stopped the initial shot on Crosby’s breakaway but let Crosby outwork him for the goal. Then the second goal was a downright fiasco. His inability to make a big stop in the final minute of the second allowed the Pens to climb back into the contest. I have no issues with the third goal in a crazy scramble like that and he did finish strong. But it never should have gotten to that point.

Erik Johnson (A) – I liked his overall game for the most part (he had one pass that made wonder what he was doing) but his goal was great. A well-placed shot and he was going for the net on that one. A defenseman’s shot selection is always an important part of the process. Against Dallas last week, he went for the rebound and got it. Tonight he went for the goal and got it. His offense helped buoy the secondary scoring with Barrie missing another game.

Tyson Jost (B) – This line was highly competitive tonight against a tough matchup. That’s really encouraging for them moving forward and Jost’s work on the Wilson goal was top-notch. His torrid scoring since returning from injury has been a key during this winning streak.

Vladislav Kamenev (B-) – I really liked his game tonight…except that lazy penalty. Call it a soft call all you want but you’re asking for trouble when you put the stick in the opposing player’s hands. He needs to learn to knock that off. Otherwise, his game was really solid and he created a turnover and scoring chance that could have been big had Andrighetto scored on it.

Alexander Kerfoot (B-) – I thought of the three guys on this line, he was the worst tonight. But not many teams can throw non-first line players like Malkin, Kessel, and Brassard at Kerfoot. He held his own admirably given the competition.

Gabriel Landeskog (A+) – His game-winning goal was outrageously lucky but this is me not caring in the slightest. He got away with a trip on Letang that led to the empty-net goal but this is me also not caring. He was really good tonight.

Nathan MacKinnon (A+) – When Sidney Crosby drops a hat trick in your barn, you better have some kind of response. His four-point night and getting the win will suffice. Yahtzee!

Patrik Nemeth (D+) – He really wasn’t having a bad game but him channeling his inner Al Wilson and wrapping up Bryan Rust and tackling him on the immediate shift following Crosby’s first goal was the kind of terrible decision-making that allowed the Pens to get back in it. What is he thinking there? It was just bad all around. Even worse, he tried to do it again in the third period! You’re not a bear, Patrik! You’re a real boy!

Matt Nieto (B-) – The shot metrics were really rough against this line but trying to mark the Malkin line is not a realistic assignment for these guys. That said, I thought Nieto was clearly the best player on this line tonight. He was speedy and active and played a hell of an individual game.

Mikko Rantanen (A+) – He’s currently on pace to have over 100 assists this season. There have been 13 100-assist seasons in NHL history. Wayne Gretzky has 11 of them. The other two belong to Mario Lemieux and Bobby Orr. That’s some pretty outrageous company he’s looking to keep if he continues this nonsense.

Carl Soderberg (D+) – I said last night I expected a big night from him given his lackluster performance against Nashville. Bad call by me as Soderberg didn’t have a great night at all as his line was devoured. Malkin is a tall task, no doubt. His goal was fun stat-padding.

Colin Wilson (B-) – He scored a goal and all but the lion’s share of the work was done by Jost and MacKinnon. He was the beneficiary of some incredible work by those two. To Wilson’s credit, he didn’t screw it up. Just put the puck into an empty net and celebrated. Kudos!

Nikita Zadorov (B+) – He got devoured by Crosby but was strong against Malkin. He was seeking the big hit all night and finally got it late in the third period. He had eight hits to his name tonight. Given Pepsi Center’s reputation as being very stingy on handing out hits, that’s a damn impressive number. He was really good tonight.


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