Avs limp into All-Star break with second consecutive loss

Jan 25, 2018; St. Louis, MO, USA; Colorado Avalanche goaltender Jonathan Bernier (45) allows a goal during the third period against the St. Louis Blues at Scottrade Center. Mandatory Credit: Scott Kane-USA TODAY Sports

The All-Star break couldn’t have come at a better time for the Colorado Avalanche.

Coming off a game that ended their ten-game winning streak, the Avalanche came out slow, getting outshot 17-8, and were not able to recover on their way to a second straight defeat, this time at the hands of the St. Louis Blues by the final score of 3-1.

The Avs have a few players battling the flu and had to play without Mark Barberio (lower body) and J.T. Compher (illness), both of whom played last game.

Nathan MacKinnon, the second leading scorer in the NHL, took two first-period stick infractions. While the Avs were killing off his second penalty, former Av Paul Stastny found himself all alone in front of the net to bury a rebound and give the Blues a much deserved 1-0 lead.

The Avalanche came out much stronger in the second period.  They outshot the Blues 15-9, but found themselves down 2-0 halfway through the period, as Brayden Schenn buried a perfect shot on the power play. An undisciplined high-sticking penalty from Patrik Nemeth led to the power play for the Blues.

From that point on, the Avalanche were the better team. They got on the board late in the second period, as Anton Lindholm made a great play to keep the puck in the zone, before firing a puck on net, and Alexander Kerfoot buried the rebound to cut the lead in half. They continued to push as the period went on but were unable to bury the tying marker.

The third period was more of the same. The Avalanche came out flying, and Carter Hutton was forced to make several difficult saves. The team continued to push, putting 14 shots on net, but could not solve Hutton. A late period mistake cost the Avs, as they were caught with only 4 players on the ice, leading to a 2-on-1 for the Blues that allowed Alexander Steen to put the game out of reach.

The Avalanche will return from the All-Star Break for practice on Monday afternoon, before heading to Vancouver to take on the Canucks on Tuesday. That game starts at 8 PM MST.

5 Observations:

  • The Avalanche will have some decisions to make when Colin Wilson, J.T. Compher, and Sven Andrighetto return to the lineup. Dominic Toninato has done nothing but impress every time he’s been called upon, and had another strong game tonight. He’s a consistent positive possession player on a team that needs that in the bottom six. A.J. Greer also had his best game of the season.
  • David Warsofsky made his Avalanche debut this evening and didn’t look terribly out of place. He led the Avs in possession, as the team controlled 62% of the shot attempts with him on the ice. It is unlikely he sticks around long with Barrie returning, though.
  • Anton Lindholm, playing in his 45th NHL game, finally collected his first NHL point. He had a good game, and needed it to make an impression on the coaching staff just prior to Barrie’s return.
  • The Avs big line has struggled on the road trip so far. They were shut out tonight, and outside of an empty netter in the Toronto game, their only points were in garbage time against Montreal.
  • Alexander Kerfoot now has 12 goals on just 43 shots. That’s a 27% shooting percentage. While that is likely not sustainable, he will probably be a player who finishes his career with a very high shooting percentage, as he doesn’t shoot unless he absolutely has too, and usually that’s a high percentage shot.