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Weekly Grades: MacKinnon on a Mission Edition!

The Avs extended their team point streak with help from a couple individual point streaks during a 3-0-1 week!

Colorado Avalanche v Arizona Coyotes Photo by Norm Hall/NHLI via Getty Images

We’re back with the Colorado Avalanche weekly report card! Sorry we missed Thanksgiving week, you’ll just have to go back and grade those games yourselves - I was eating turkey.

This week Colorado rocked and rolled to 3-0-1, but were they any good? Let’s find out!

THE GAMES

Friday @ Minnesota: 3-2 W
Saturday vs Calgary: 3-1 W
Monday vs Tampa Bay: 4-1 W
Thursday @ Arizona: 3-2 OTL

PLAYER OF THE WEEK

Nathan MacKinnon: 2 Goals, 4 Assists

This week was what we’ve been waiting for from Nate, as he simply shredded defenses every game and is now on a six-game point streak. With 21 assists in 22 games this season, Nate’s on an 80-assist pace right now and for much of the year it has looked like he has more to give – this week he gave it. He even potted a one-timer!

Defensively MacKinnon played an engaged, committed game every night and it turned into offense for him. He’s at his best when he plays defense with the same intensity he shows with the puck on his stick, and it’s a beautiful sight to see.

Grade: A+

STAR WATCH

Cale Makar: 1 Goal, 3 Assists

Blocked shots on exposed body parts? Missed practices? Good defenses? No problem. Nothing slowed down Cale this week, as he extended his incredible November point total to 25 – second most in NHL history, and his 21 assists this month are the most ever. If not for MacKinnon’s fantastic week, Makar’s record-setting month that put him at the top of league scoring by defenseman would be an easy choice for player of the week.

The points don’t even tell the whole story – with Makar quarterbacking, the powerplay has produced in 10 straight games. At even strength, he struggled a bit to contain the opposing team’s chances but took his opportunities with the puck to create offense on the rush consistently with creativity. The chances against him need to be controlled, but he always makes up for it with offense.

Grade: A-

Mikko Rantanen: 4 Assists

A very quiet four-point week from Mikko. He did his job every night and looked dangerous doing it, but pucks have stopped finding twine for the moose lately despite consistent chance creation.

Grade: B

MINDING THE NET

Alexandar Georgiev:

That Tampa Bay win looks like a great team 4-1 win on paper, but it was really all about Georgiev outdueling Andrei Vasilevskiy. All night, the Avs let the Lightning get grade-A chances, and every time Georgiev found a way to shut them down. Even better? This back-to-back stretch in the Arizona game to keep it tied in the third.

He’s dialed in again and with the team defense in front of him playing better as well, expect Georgiev to keep his stretch of strong play going for a while.

Grade: A

Ivan Prosvetov:

Calgary may not be very good this year, but it still took a strong game from Prosvetov to get the win over the Flames. He’s still a touch scrambly, but it seems working with Jussi Parkkila is paying off as each start is a little better than the one before. B+

ROLE PLAYER HONOR ROLL

Kurtis MacDermid: If you’ve read my work before, you know how I feel about the big guy – but I’ll give him his flowers when they’re due! This goal was awesome and when the only thing you do all week is pot a nifty game-winner, you earn a spot on the Honor Roll.

Now get back to the press box and stay there! A

DUNCE CAP IN MY DOGHOUSE DUNGEON

Ryan Johansen: Loved his two goals against Tampa, but he’s ceding ice time to Ross Colton because his defensive metrics have been brutal. There’s a narrative around Avalanche coverage that the second line has finally gelled with Tatar and Drouin flanking RyJo, and between the Tampa and Calgary games they did tally four goals including this great play from Johansen:

But defensively they are complete sieves and Johansen’s ice time was down to just ten minutes against Arizona. There has been talk about a virus going through the locker room, so perhaps the ice time decline is due to that, but blaming a virus for disengaged and somewhat mindless work in the defensive zone seems like a stretch to me. D+

THE REST

Bowen Byram: The penalties have to stop - he leads the league in minors and it seems the referees are looking for little infractions against him right now. Offensively he’s been creative if a little snakebit, and defensively … well, we’ve come to expect a little more than what he’s giving right now. C

Andrew Cogliano: Would you believe Cogs has as many points this season as Logan O’Connor? Yep, they both have seven after Cogliano chipped in an assist on the MacDermid game-winner. B

Ross Colton: A goal and an assist this week, but the more interesting stat for Colton is his ice time – it went up every game as he seems to have overtaken Ryan Johansen in the center depth pecking order. B+

Jonathan Drouin: After some stronger games for the second line, the narrative is that Drou seems to have found his stride of late, though he actually only had one point in four games this week and continued to post negative defensive metrics. C+

Sam Girard: G checked himself into the player’s assistance program, and in my opinion asking for the help you need always gets an A.

Jack Johnson: Has stepped up a bit with Girard out, and he looks better with a puck mover next to him in Caleb Jones than he did paired with Josh Manson. Plus, this was a fun moment after Jeannot laid him out and JJ popped up and leveled Mikey Eyssimont:

Scoreboard says B+

Caleb Jones: He had a rough night against Tampa, but otherwise has looked like a perfect fit on the Avs' third pair. Love this little play to create space for Miles Wood to drive the net instead of simply dumping the puck in:

He’ll make odd puck decisions here and there – that’s why he hasn’t stuck in the league anywhere else yet – but for the most part, his mental and physical quickness make him very effective. B+

Joel Kiviranta: He’s a great penalty killer. Like really really great. Nothing else matters since he has been so needed in that role after Lehkonen’s injury. B+

Josh Manson: He’s looked more comfortable paired with Bo Byram than he did with Jack Johnson, but that second pairing is giving up too many chances and taking too many penalties. B-

Valeri Nichushkin: The Nuke from the ‘22 playoffs seems to be back! He’s on a nine-game point streak and absolutely running train on defensive metrics while doing it.

2 goals and 2 assists on the week. A

Logan O’Connor: Missed the Minnesota game but came back like he hadn’t missed a beat, driving the Logan O’Colton Wood line to more and more ice teams every night. B+

Fredrik Olofsson: He’s very solid at evens and good on the PK. No complaints! C+

Tomas Tatar: His low point was a healthy scratch against the Wild, and his high was an assist vs Tampa. The other two games he just bounced off a lotta guys out there and only got seven minutes of ice in Arizona. C-

Devon Toews: Another quiet week from Toews, but no complaints really. His offense is down from last year. B-

Miles Wood: He’s doing his thing every night. The goal in Arizona was awesome. B

TEAM GRADE FOR THE WEEK

Going 3-0-1 is a great week, even if the Arizona OTL was somewhat disappointing. I’m more concerned about the second line right now than I was this time last week, though, as despite putting up points their ice time is going down – the coaching staff is clearly having a hard time trusting that trio and that doesn’t bode well for the team long term.

That said, there’s a lot more to love on the rest of the roster and the reasons for optimism remain far greater than the causes of concern. And hey, if they can win despite lackluster play from one line, the bottom line is they can win. B+