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Avs-Predators Game 1 Grades: Encouraging process

AJ Haefele Avatar
April 13, 2018

The Colorado Avalanche fell to the Nashville Predators 5-2 in game 1 of their playoff series. Below are the player grades.

Sven Andrighetto (D) – This line didn’t accomplish a whole lot tonight. Andrighetto was not shy about taking shots when he had the chance but there just weren’t many opportunities to make that happen. Going to need to pick it up.

Mark Barberio (F) – This was the kind of disaster that justifies a benching. Barberio was missed because when he’s playing well he’s another efficient puck-mover who gets the puck out of his zone. When he’s not, he’s a turnover machine who can’t seem to overcome the obstacle of a poor night. Tonight, he was that second version and his turnovers were game-changing in the wrong direction.

Tyson Barrie (D) –  He appeared to take a hit in the head from Ryan Johansen and in general, was just really out of sorts. He was ineffective with the puck and was turnover prone in his own zone. He’s going to need to be significantly better if the Avalanche is going to take some games in this series.

Jonathan Bernier (D) – He wasn’t terrible but on a night where the Avalanche played very well for long stretches, he got thoroughly outplayed by his counterpart and that was the difference in the game. The game-winning goal was tough luck but the other three he let in were just him getting beat. The first goal against from Watson was downright poor goaltending.

Gabriel Bourque (B) – Really aggressive throughout the night. The entire fourth line showed up nicely tonight.

Blake Comeau (B) – A great deflection to give Colorado the 2-1 lead. Not much beyond that but they did well at even strength.

J.T. Compher (C+) – Solid, unspectacular night for him. Not many mistakes and there was really only one shift where it felt like the fourth line was outmatched.

Samuel Girard (C+) – He did so many good things in this game and then he got completely undressed and ended up on the wrong end of a Filip Forsberg highlight reel goal. He was on his way to a solid ‘B’ grade until that happened but that goal clearly took whatever was left of Colorado’s jump on the night and that mistake was a crushing blow.

Tyson Jost (D) – Didn’t get much done offensively and was lazy getting back on defense multiple times. Not what I expected from him. He has a whole lot more to give than what he showed tonight.

Alexander Kerfoot (D) – He’s just so soft sometimes. He plays a relaxed, controlled game and that’s part of it but he gets rocked in the corners and while I admire his toughness in taking the beating and continuing on, he simply isn’t effective when that’s happening and it was a real problem again tonight.

Gabriel Landeskog (B) – He was great in the faceoff circle again (??), he dropped several good shots on goal and he was solid throughout the night. Unlike his linemates, he didn’t blow a breakaway that could have changed the game.

Nathan MacKinnon (B-) – The top line played well and MacKinnon was all over the place like you’d hope. There just wasn’t enough finish from all of the creating of chances they did. The power play work was downright putrid. The save Rinne made on his breakaway was game-changing.

Patrik Nemeth (B-) – For as much as people are convinced he’s a trainwreck in his own zone, an awful lot of nothing took place there tonight. Just facts here: At even strength, Colorado had the advantage in Corsi (18-9), scoring chances (7-1), and high-danger scoring chances (3-1) with Nemeth on the ice. Believe what you will but for my money, he was not among Colorado’s problems tonight.

Matt Nieto (C+) – I thought he played hard and did some good work tonight. He’s a guy you really have to pay close attention in order to appreciate when he’s playing well. If he plays the same as he did tonight all series long, Colorado would be pleased.

Mikko Rantanen (C-) – Nice assist and plenty of kudos for that but beyond that, he was just so sloppy most of the game. He had Rinne beaten on his breakaway but couldn’t finish (and it was an amazing save so props to Rinne there) and it would have been a game-changer. Huge missed opportunity there. Was very careless with the puck on the power play. Far too casual. Nashville is going to eat him alive if he continues to play that casually.

Carl Soderberg (C+) – Credit for the assist on a shot that was going wide but he contributed elsewhere. I loved that Soderberg dropped Hartman after the whistle on the same shift he got rocked. He was lucky not to get a penalty but he was standing up for himself and letting Nashville know he was there to work, not get worked. He’s a key player moving forward.

David Warsofsky (C) – He was fine. There was one shift where he manhandled Arvidsson in the corner…and subsequently turned the puck over…and then blocked the shot that followed. Beyond that shift, I remember basically nothing meaningful he was actually involved in. That’s a good thing.

Colin Wilson (B-) – Loved his jump! He clearly was feeling it against his former club. I enjoyed his game tonight very much. That fourth line is going to be a troublemaker if he keeps that up.

Nikita Zadorov (B) – Great job jumping into the play and then a good finish (a bit of a softie from Rinne but props to Z anyway). The rest of the game he was propping up Barrie and. For as much as the ice was tilted in Nashville’s favor when he was out there (32-14 CF in favor of Nashville), very little of it was of quality (8-6 scoring chances and 3-2 high-danger chances in favor of Nashville). He played a solid two-way game but the 2 and 10 he took at the final buzzer is something to keep an eye on.

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