Avs Game 76 Grades – Defensive Changes Pay Off

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The Colorado Avalanche tried their hardest to give away another third period, but were able to hold on with a 4-3 victory over the Nashville Predators, behind their newly configured blueline.

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

Andrew Agozzino (B) - A really solid game for Agz.  He's not a center, but managed to go 50% in the faceoff circle.  Made a nice pass on the Skille goal, hit the post in the second period, and made a real strong defensive play to save a goal in the second.

Tyson Barrie (B-) - Barrie was very quiet tonight, but managed to be out there for 3 goals against, partly due to line changes.  The new defensive pairings and only one power play limited him to only 16 minutes, but he was steady defensively.

Francois Beauchemin (B) - Beauch was the mentor to Zadorov tonight, as you could hear him yelling "Skate!" to Z right before he dumped it in, about 10 seconds before Comeau's goal.  He played way too much, again, but is the perfect partner for Z.

Chris Bigras (B-) - He had his good and bad moments, but he's real smooth.  Kind of turned it over right before the Preds 3rd goal, but made some real strong defensive plays, including giving Forsberg nothing on a 1 on 1 rush.

Mikkel Boedker (D) - A real quiet game for Boedker, other than a nice tip to Matthias for his goal.  That line spent a lot of time in their own end.

Blake Comeau (B+) - A fantastic game for Comeau, other than a dumb penalty in the third.  I thought he was really composed with the puck on his stick, and obviously got the night started for the Avs with his goal.

Mikhail Grigorenko (D) - A really quiet game for Grigs.  He had a chance at a 2 on 1 rush in the second period, but he rushed the pass, as he may have been tired from a long shift.

Nick Holden (C-) - He had some serious Nick Holden moments, including a Nick Holden icing in the third period, where he could have just skated the puck out.  With more talent on the D, he stood out with his lack of puck skill.

Jarome Iginla (D) - A great fight for him, but a bad game otherwise for him.  Josi was his man on the third Preds goal.

Erik Johnson (B) - EJ looked to be playing it safe with a new, young partner, but was solid for the most part.  As he gets more used to playing with Bigras, he should get more aggressive.

Gabriel Landeskog (A) - Landy was fantastic tonight.  His goal was very reminiscent of some of his rookie year goals with the net crash, and he was huge defensively late in the game, saving a goal or two.

Andreas Martinsen (D-) - He threw a big hit in the defensive zone, but that was because he turned it over about 10 seconds before.  He's really terrible defensively and it's obvious most nights.

Shawn Matthias (C-) - That line was pinned in their own end a lot, but a great goal, and more strong PK work from Matthias.

Cody McLeod (B) - Color me surprised that McLeod was able to catch the pass from Agz in his feet, but a smart play to shoot it low for a rebound on Skille's goal.

John Mitchell (C) - Another line that was stuck in it's end more often than not, but Mitchell was really good again on the PK and fantastic in the faceoff circle.

Jack Skille (B+) - The Skille from early in the year seems to have returned, as he was crashing the net all night long, and was rewarded with a goal.

Carl Soderberg (B+) - What a move and pass by Soderberg on the Landeskog goal, as he made Josi look silly, which doesn't happen often.  Really strong forecheck on the Comeau goal as well.

Semyon Varlamov (C+) - Varly always seems to struggle against Nashville, because their game is based around point shots, and he has some issues with those.  He was beat by two of them tonight, and got bailed out by Roy's first coaching challenge win of the year.

Nikita Zadorov (B-) - Z looked a little nervous in the first period, and had to make a choice on who to cover on the Preds first goal, barely missing the pass by Forsberg, but really settled down after that.  Made a nice breakout pass on the Skille goal, and imposed his physical will on Neal and Jarnkrok in the second and third periods.

The Avs are back on the ice again tomorrow night, taking on the St. Louis Blues.  The game starts at 6:30 PM MST.

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