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Avs-Stars player grades: Thrilling finish

AJ Haefele Avatar
November 25, 2018

Player grades from the Colorado Avalanche’s 3-2 win against the Dallas Stars.

Tyson Barrie (B+) – I thought Barrie was terrific tonight. I was genuinely surprised to check the final scoresheet and see he didn’t register a point tonight. He was all over the Stars tonight. They couldn’t get anything going against him. He gets bonus points for his dad being hilarious in the locker room after the game.

Matt Calvert (C) – Calvert was just okay. I thought there were a few good moments but nothing major on the good or bad side. He played a pretty quiet 14 minutes.

Ian Cole (B+) – He was excellent again tonight as he and Barrie were Colorado’s best pairing by a mile and a half. They dominated the Stars in shot share. Cole was also aggressive in playing the puck in the offensive zone and could have easily walked away with an assist or two.

J.T. Compher (A+) – What can you even say about this kid? I’ve called him Ginger Drury for a while and he has absolutely lived up to that hype so far this season. He gets ONE shift next to Kerfoot and Jost and immediately produces a goal. Just an incredible start for Compher.

Sheldon Dries (C+) – There were some things I liked from Dries tonight and he’s still a limited minutes guy so that can be enough to move the needle. I like how hard he is on pucks he gets to. I don’t like his short-area quickness though. He has good overall speed but if he’s at a standstill, he loses a lot of races to pucks when he’s not already going.

Samuel Girard (C-) – I thought this was one of Girard’s worst games of the year and he still mixed in enough brilliance I didn’t want to drop him into the D range. The turnovers were a real issue tonight, including what could have been a real fiasco on the power play in the second period. He really needs to figure out a way to get shots through traffic.

Erik Johnson (B) – On the other side of the ice, I really liked EJ’s game tonight. I thought he was having a really smart defensive game and his decision not to try to make a perfect shot and instead shoot low and hard produced the rebound that Rantanen would put away for the game-winning goal. Steady and effective on both ends.

Tyson Jost (B) – I already thought Jost was having a killer game and then he made a laser pass to Kerfoot, whose shot ended up banged home by Compher. He just keeps humming along with another assist tonight.

Vladislav Kamenev (C-) – This was a weaker effort from Kamenev and he took a penalty that could have been trouble. Not his best night.

Alexander Kerfoot (B-) – I thought he was having a quieter game than Jost but seeing him just throw the puck on net in crunch time instead of trying to make the perfect pass made all the difference in the world. Keep shooting, AK!

Gabriel Landeskog (A+) – The Captain just did his thing tonight. He did the dirty work on Colorado’s first goal, was in front of the net fighting for position on the game-winning goal, and won the final faceoff of the game in the defensive zone that allowed the Avs to run off valuable seconds on the clock (Note: He actually got tossed from that draw. Soderberg won it). Mint.

Nathan MacKinnon (A+) – He was magnificent tonight. He had six shots on goal to go with his two points and if he could have finished on an empty-net goal would’ve had a three-point night. I know the world is keen on Rantanen right now (and fairly so) but I think MacKinnon might be the best player in the world right now. Maybe.

Patrik Nemeth (B-) – There was a sequence in the game where the Avs won a faceoff cleanly back to Nemeth and he mindlessly fired it five feet wide of the net and the Stars were able to exit the zone cleanly because nobody was around. That stuff drives me crazy. Then later in the game he actually carried the puck down low and tried to create meaningful offense. That stuff is great. More of that stuff.

Matt Nieto (B) – I thought he was very quietly an animal for the Avs tonight. He was all over the ice winning puck battles and creating offense. These are the kinds of nights keeping him in the lineup.

Mikko Rantanen (A+) – What more can possibly be said? His passing is immaculate and his ability to win puck battles won the Avalanche the game tonight. He’s unbelievable. Maybe he’s the best player in the world right now. I don’t know. They’re both incredible.

Carl Soderberg (C+) – We’ve seen a very strong run from Soderberg the last several games but tonight he was much more of the defensive stopper from last season. He did well in the role and came out even in shot metrics.

Semyon Varlamov (B) – There’s not much Varly could have done on the two goals against and he was solid overall. I thought his puck-tracking made up for being a little leaky with his rebounds.

Colin Wilson (C-) – One of the few Avs who I thought had a tough night, Wilson was just passable in this one. I liked his puck retrieval in front of the net but there were some scoring chances that died on his stick tonight for one reason or another. Just a meh kind of night.

Nikita Zadorov (B) – I loved Zadorov’s game. When he’s defending with aggression and an attacking mentality instead of letting the game come to him, he’s at his best. We saw a whole lot of that tonight, including a classic Z Smash on Radek Faksa.


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