Colorado Avalanche: 56-19-7, 119 points, 1st in Central Division
St. Louis Blues: 49-21-11, 109 points, 3rd in Central Division
Blues Head to Head:
1-2-0; 11GF, 12GA; 3.67GF/G, 4.00GA/G
Injuries as of May 14 (status subject to change by start of second round):
Blues injuries: Torey Krug, Marco Scandella
Avalanche injuries: Andrew Cogliano, Darcy Kuemper
Blues Regular Season Leading Players:
- Goals: Vladimir Tarasenko, 34
- Assists: Robert Thomas, 57
- Points: Vladimir Tarasenko, 82
- GAA: Ville Husso, 2.56
- SV%: Ville Husso, 0.919
Avalanche Regular Season Leaders:
- Goals: Mikko Rantanen, 36
- Assists: Nazem Kadri, 59
- Points: Mikko Rantanen, 92
- GAA: Darcy Kuemper, 2.54
- SV%: Darcy Kuemper, 0.921
Blues Postseason Leaders:
- Goals: David Perron, Ryan O’Reilly, Vladimir Tarasenko, 5th
- Submissions: David Perron, Pavel Buchnevich, Justin Faulk, 4
- Points: David Perron, 9th
- GAA: Jordan Binnington, 1.67
- SV%: Jordan Binnington, 0.934
Avalanche Postseason Leaders:
- Goals: Nathan MacKinnon, 5
- Assists: Cale Makar, 7
- Points: Cale Makar, 10th
- GAA: Darcy Kuemper, 1.63
- SV%: Darcy Kuemper, 0.934
A 2021 first-round replay. The Avs, who controlled much of the Central Division’s game this season, rolled over the Nashville Predators in four games. The Blues needed a little more time to get through the Minnesota Wild, winning game six Thursday night 5-1.
Both teams have explosive attacks, comparable post-season goalie numbers (although the regular season is a different beast), and solid defenses. The Blues are slightly at a disadvantage defensively with the absence through injury of Marco Scandella and Torey Krug, whose return is currently uncertain.
The Avalanche (5.25) have the advantage over the Blues (3.67) in goals scored/games played, which is to be expected given you roll your opponents. They’re a little closer when it comes to goals conceded – the Avs have the edge, but only just, 2.25 to 2.67.
The key to the Blues’ victory, much like the Wilds, is that they need to keep the Avalanche out of the power play. Avs PP comes in first place in the postseason with an incredible 43.8%. The Blues’ PP sit in third place with an impressive 30.8% – both sides cemented their first-round win by playing with the extra man. Where the Blues have the clear advantage is in the penalty spot. Her 83.3% effectiveness could put her seventh overall in the postseason, but Colorado’s 76.9% kill sits in tenth place.
If the Blues can win the special teams battle, they can win this series. Colorado is a powerhouse, but it would be shocking to see the Blues rebound like the Predators.