Avs Game 33 Grades – Headed the Right Direction

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The Avalanche played a strong game, particularly in the 3rd period, and came away with their 4th straight win, beating the New York Islanders 2-1.

How did each player perform?  Let's find out...

Tyson Barrie (C-) - I really did not like the way Barrie played for the first two periods.  He wasn't pushing the pace, and was too often moving sideways instead of forward on the breakout.  He was better in the third period, including some nice breakouts from behind his own net.

Francois Beauchemin (A) - The rest of the top 4 struggled in the first half of the game, but Beauchemin was a rock.  He led the team with 5 shots on goal tonight, and obviously picked up both of the goals.

Blake Comeau (B+) - Comeau is really good on the cycle, and I think that's why he meshes with Soderberg so well.  He was the Avs best possession player tonight at 65.71%, and while he got knocked off the puck prior to the Beauchemin goal, he was strong enough to keep the Islanders away from it and get it to Soderberg.

Matt Duchene (B-) - October Duchene was back a bit tonight, in terms of luck.  He missed a wide open net in the second period, and in the 1st period, tried to get too fancy when he was all alone in front.

Mikhail Grigorenko (C) - He made a really nice saucer pass in the third period to hit Skille with speed into the zone, but was quite invisible other than that.  He did take a penalty in the second period, but I don't recall it being too blatant.

Nate Guenin (F) - Guenin got outmuscled prior to the Islanders goal, and had a horrible pinch in the third period that led to a 2 on 1.  I don't understand what the coaching staff sees in him.

Nick Holden (C) - Holden had some ugly moments early in the game, but he really made some great plays in the offensive zone in the third period, including one where he hit Duchene wide, who almost hit MacKinnon for a backdoor goal.

Jarome Iginla (D) - It looks like Iginla is starting to move a little quicker out there, but he's still far too weak on the puck.  He got outmuscled in the neutral zone at one point in the third period, and it led to a chance against Varly.

Erik Johnson (D) - Normally very strong on the breakout, EJ was a bit of a mess tonight, especially in the first period.  Like the rest of the defense, he picked it up in the second half of the game.

Gabriel Landeskog (B) - He drew a penalty in the offensive zone, but also took one there.  He made a great rush up the ice in the third period that nearly led to a goal.  It seems someone has told him to shoot the puck more, as he put 5 more shots on net tonight.

Nathan MacKinnon (B) - MacK had a great night in the faceoff circle, winning 10 of the 15 he took.  He did a nice job with controlled zone entries tonight.  Needs to shoot more to get out of this funk he's in.

Andreas Martinsen (B) - Martinsen had another strong game, and threw a bit hit in the second period on Anders Lee at center ice.  Hopefully he's realizing he needs to be consistent with his physical game.

Cody McLeod (D) - The 4th line didn't do a ton tonight, but when they had a cycle and hit McLeod's stick, the play died.

John Mitchell (B) - Other than jumping on the ice when he wasn't supposed too and giving the Islanders a power play, Mitchell had a strong night.  He is having to move around the ice a lot playing with two slow veterans.

Zach Redmond (D) - He made some puck handling mistakes in the defensive zone tonight that nearly cost the Avs.  He didn't even hit 8 minutes, and Roy doesn't seem to have much faith in any of the bottom pairing defenders.  You have to wonder at what point do we see some guys from San Antonio get a shot.

Jack Skille (B-) - While the 4th line wasn't great, Skille had some rushes up the ice, and registered two shots on goal, while his linemates didn't have any.

Carl Soderberg (B+) - If Soderberg had shot the puck on any of those 2 on 1's he had in the first period, he would have gotten an A tonight, but he tried to get too cute on them.  Still, he had a strong game defensively, and made some nice moves leading up to the game winner.

Alex Tanguay (D) - I'm sure he didn't do it on purpose (at least I hope not), but Tanguay shot the puck into the Avs zone prior to the Islanders goal, when it should have been cleared down the ice.  I'm really surprised that Roy uses him so much on the PK, as he has not been good this year.

Semyon Varlamov (A) - Another fantastic game for Varly, and there was nothing he could do on the Islanders only goal.  He looked confident and square to the shooter all night long.

The Avs continue their home stand Saturday night when they take on the Edmonton Oilers.  The game starts at 8 PM MST.

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