The Scottrade Center has been a house of horrors for the Avalanche in recent years. Tonight was no different.
The Avalanche would receive a boost with the return of Mikko Rantanen, but it would not prove to be nearly enough, as they were blown out by the St. Louis Blues by a score of 6-1. With the loss, the Avs have now lost 13 of their last 15 in St. Louis.
Thursday’s game started off with some fisticuffs. Brayden Schenn and Gabriel Landeskog dropped the gloves right off the opening faceoff. Scehnn was trying to spark his team, coming off a big loss to the Minnesota Wild, and it seemed to work.
Later in the first, the Avs would take a penalty and Schenn would make them pay, picking up a rebound and giving the Blues a 1-0 lead heading into the first intermission.
Seeing as how the first period has been an issue for Colorado all year long, it almost goes without saying that the Avalanche got off to a much better start in the second period.
After some extended zone time, Gabriel Bourque would pounce on a turnover by Vladimir Sobotka and bury a breakaway to tie the game up at one. From there, the wheels would fall.
Ivan Barbashev put the Blues up one after a weak goal on Jonathan Bernier, as he dropped to his knees too quickly and got beat over the shoulder from a bad angle. Less than a minute later, Brayden Schenn would score while all alone in front and Bernier’s night was over. His replacement Semyon Varlamov would not fare much better. He would allow Kyle Brodziak to score on the very first shot he faced, and eight minutes later was very slow to react to a one-timer by Alex Pietrangelo, and just like that, the Avs were down 5-1.
The third period would not prove to be much kinder to the Avalanche considering that they were not able to muster up any sort of offense whatsoever.
The only goal of the period would go to Paul Stastny, who outmuscled an Avs player in front of the net to make the score 6-1. The goal was a microcosm of the evening for the Avalanche, as they were late to most pucks after a relatively even first period.
The Avalanche continue their road trip this Saturday, as they take on the Carolina Hurricanes at 6 PM MST. The Hurricanes will be on the second half of a back-to-back, so the Avalanche will need to take advantage.
- A huge hit by Nikita Zadorov in the first period could have been the turning point, as the Blues took a penalty trying to retaliate. The Avs power play, however, was horrendous all night, going 0 for 5 and not even picking up a shot on goal in their first four attempts.
- Tyson Jost, coming off his best game in the NHL, led the forwards in time on ice with over 20 minutes played.
- Anton Lindholm was a drag on the blueline, as the team only controlled 31% of the shot attempts with him on the ice. After digging a little deeper, it appears every defenseman who spent time with him did worse while paired with him than without. The absence of Mark Barberio has been evident at times, as his skating ability helps get the team out of some jams defensively.
- The Avs are the worst team in the NHL at faceoffs, and tonight was no different, as they only won 23 of the 63 faceoffs. The young centers are going to have to do some major work to improve in that area this summer.
- Gabriel Bourque is closing in on a secure NHL spot, as he has scored goals in back-to-back games and has carved out a regular spot on the penalty kill.