Avalanche vs Blues playoff preview
Colorado Avalanche # 1 vs St. Louis Blues # 4
Avalanche: 39-13-4, 82 points
Blues: 27-20-9, 63 points
Season series: COL 5-3-0; STL 3-5-0
Game 1: Monday (10 p.m. ET; NBCSN, SN1, TVAS, ALT, BSMW)
The Avalanche and Blues will meet for the second time in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, the first since the Western Conference Finals in 2001.
Colorado won this best-of-7 series in five games en route to their second championship; he also won the Cup in 1996.
The Avalanche have won their last five games and won the Presidents’ Trophy, awarded to the team with the best record in the NHL regular season. This is the third time they have won the Presidents’ Trophy since it was first awarded in 1985-86. They did so in 2000-01, when they beat the New Jersey Devils in seven games to win the Stanley Cup, and in 1996-97, when they lost to the Detroit Red Wings in six games in the final of the Western Conference.
Colorado, in their fourth straight playoff appearance, had a 15-game scoring streak from March 10-April 5 (13-0-2) and a 17-game home streak with a record breaking score. ‘Avalanche (16-0-1). ) from March 10 to May 13. They finished tied with the Vegas Golden Knights in the Honda West Division, but won the first tiebreaker, which was regulation wins (35-30).
“It feels good”, Colorado forward Mikko Rantanen mentionned. “We hit the first goal we had this year, to get the ice advantage for all the playoffs, and we checked a box. Everyone knows what’s next, so we need to start working on it. I believe in this group. Our goal is to go all the way. “
The Avalanche have nine players who have scored at least 30 points, led by Rantanen, who has scored 66 (30 goals, 36 assists) in 52 games, and at center Nathan MacKinnon, who has scored 65 (20 goals, 45 assists) in 48 games.
The Blues, who won the Stanley Cup in 2019, are one of three teams to reach the playoffs in at least nine of ten seasons since 2011-12 (Pittsburgh Penguins, 10; Washington Capitals, nine). The Saint-Louis roster includes 17 players who have won the Cup, including 16 from the 2019 Championship team (striker Kyle clifford won with the Los Angeles Kings in 2012 and 2014).
“When we skate and we are physical, I think we give [Colorado] a lot of problems, “Blues captain Ryan o’reilly mentionned. “Whether it’s forward checking or defense, when we play our heavy game and engage in it, put pucks and don’t feed their rush, we make it difficult for them and find ways to beat them. This is what we have to do. . This must be our goal. “
Forward on Saint-Louis Vladimir Tarasenko missed the last six games of the regular season and eight of the last nine with a lower body injury. Tarasenko didn’t make his season debut until March 6 after undergoing left shoulder surgery for the third time on September 17, 2020. He made four playoff games before being stopped after the second game of the Western Conference first round against the Vancouver Canucks on Aug. 14. Tarasenko has scored 14 points (four goals, 10 assists) in 24 games this season.
Blues defender Vince dunn, who has 20 points (six goals, 14 assists) in 43 games, has missed the last 11 games with an upper body injury.
Tarasenko and Dunn are improving, coach Craig Berube said.
David Perron, who led the Blues with 58 points (19 goals, 39 assists) in 56 games, was placed on the NHL’s COVID-19 protocol list on Saturday. He has 16 points (six goals, 10 assists) in his last 11 regular season games and is the first point-per-game player for Saint-Louis since Pavol Demitra scored 93 points in 78 games in 2002-03.
Avalanche: MacKinnon scored at least 20 goals for a fourth straight season, but missed the last two games of the regular season with an undisclosed injury. MacKinnon also missed games on May 7 and 8 against the Los Angeles Kings with a lower-body injury, but Colorado coach Jared Bednar said the injuries were unrelated and that ‘they hope MacKinnon will be ready for the first game.
MacKinnon averages 1.35 points per game in his NHL playoff career (20 goals, 34 assists in 40 games). He’s had a 14-game scoring streak in the last playoffs.
Blues: O’Reilly, who won the Conn Smythe Trophy in 2019 and voted most valuable player of the playoffs, led the Blues in goals (24), even-matched goals (18) and game-winning goals (four) in 56 games this season. .
Video: STL @ MIN: Breakaway goal from the rooftops of O’Reilly for the winner of the OT
Avalanche: Philipp grubauer was among the best goalies in the NHL this season; he was 30-9-1 with a 1.95 goals-against average, .922 save percentage and seven shutouts in 40 games (39 starts), and 18-3-1 with a GAA of. 1.86 and a .924 save percentage in his last 22 games. (21 departures). Beginner Jonas johansson (5-1-1, 2.06 GAA, .913 save percentage) should be save with Devan Dubnyk (3-2-0, 3.26 GAA, .886 save percentage) in the NHL COVID-19 protocol since May 3.
Blues: Jordan binnington helped Saint-Louis win the Cup in 2019, but struggled in the playoffs last season, when he was 0-5-0 with a GAA of 4.72 and a percentage of stop of 0.851. In 42 games this season (41 starts), he was 18-14-8 with a GAA of 2.65 and save percentage of 0.910, but he had a save percentage of .921 during his Last 15 departures. Backup City Husso was 9-6-1 with an GAA of 3.21, save percentage of .893 and one shutout in 17 games (15 starts).
Figures to know
Avalanche: They have averaged 3.33 goals per game in the playoffs since 2018; only the Edmonton Oilers (3.75) rank higher during that span. Colorado has scored at least six goals in a playoff game five times since 2018; only the Boston Bruins (six) have more in this period.
Blues: They scored 23.2% on the power play, led by Perron, who scored 21 points on the power play (six goals, 15 assists). Before Jaden schwartz has scored 54 points (26 goals, 28 assists) during his NHL playoff career, the most of any current Blues.
Avalanche: The higher the stakes, the better the front Nazem kadri seems to be playing; he led the NHL with five game-winning goals in 15 games in the 2020 playoffs. Kadri finished sixth in the Avalanche this season with 32 points (11 goals, 21 assists) in 56 games.
Blues: Defender Torey Krug returned on May 10 after missing five games with an upper body injury. Krug, who signed a seven-year contract with St. Louis on Oct. 9, 2020 after nine seasons with Boston, has 52 points (11 goals, 41 assists) in 75 NHL playoff games. He has scored 32 points (two goals, 30 assists) in 51 games this season.
Video: COL @ SJS: Kadri goes up to draw in 3rd
They said it
“I love the way we ended the season. I love the way the guys got in, the guys who played different roles, different guys who played every night. We won ugly games, we won games where we played really well. lots of contributors almost every night. ” – Jared Bednar, avalanche trainer
“We know they have a lot of talent there. They work hard, but for us it’s an exciting challenge. We’re going to have fun and we’re going to beat them.” – Blues captain Ryan O’Reilly
Will win if …
Avalanche: They continue to take advantage of their depth, get consistent goalkeepers from Grubauer and continue to be offended by defenders. Wedge Makar (44 points in 44 games), Samuel Girard (32 points in 48 games) and Devon toews (31 points in 53 games).
Blues: They can rekindle the energy, enthusiasm and physique that they used to win their first championship two years ago. Binnington, a strong contender for the Conn Smythe Trophy in this race, will need to be in top form.
What they look like
Avalanche projected range
Gabriel Landeskog – Nathan MacKinnon – Mikko Rantanen
Valeri nichushkin – Tyson jost – Joonas Donskoi
Nazem Kadri – Alex newhook – André Burakovsky
Carl Soderberg – Pierre-Edouard Bellemare – JT Compher
Devon Toews – Cale Makar
Samuel Girard – Ryan grave
Patrik Nemeth – Conor Timmins
Striped: Jayson megna, Liam O’Brien, Kiefer Sherwood, Jacob MacDonald
Injured: Bowen Byram (upper body), Matt Calvert (upper body), Logan o’connor (lower body), Brandon saad (lower body), Erik Johnson (upper body), Pavel Francouz (lower body)
COVID-19 Protocol: Devan Dubnyk
Blues projected programming
Ivan Barbashev – Ryan O’Reilly – Mike Hoffman
Jaden Schwartz – Brayden schenn – Jordan Kyrou
Klim Kostin – Robert thomas – Sammy Blais
Kyle Clifford – Zach Sanford – Mackenzie MacEachern
Torey Krug – Justin faulk
Marco scandella – Colton Parayko
Niko Mikkola – Robert bortuzzo
Striped: Tyler bozak, Steven santini
Injured: Vladimir Tarasenko (lower body), Vince Dunn (upper body)
COVID-19 Protocol: David Perron, Nathan Walker, Jake walman