St. Louis Blues vs Colorado Avalanche is an intriguing first-round series in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. The regular season was very successful and with a win against the Los Angeles Kings in their final game of the season the Avalanche were crowned Presidents trophy recipients as the best team in the regular season. Their potent and powerful offense will have to go up against a loaded Blues roster in the first round of the playoffs.
Each side of the St. Louis Blues vs Colorado Avalanche series has many star players on their rosters which should lead to some good storylines as the series progresses. While the Avalanche are heavily favored in the series thanks to being the President’s trophy winner and champion of the West division you can’t quite count the 2019 Stanley cup champions, St. Louis Blues of it, just yet. This is series is shaping up to be one of the most competitive and entertaining of the first round.
How Do the St. Louis Blues vs Colorado Avalanche Matchup?
Each team plays a similar style that puts an emphasis on getting scoring changes and burying as many goals as possible. Despite defense not being the main focus of each rosters makeup, both teams have a strong defensive core that should play well in front of their all-star goalie.
The Avalanche are led by perhaps the best line in all of hockey. Nathan Mackinnon, Gabe Laneskog, and Mikko Rantanen make up this dominate line. These three players lead their team in points with each of them surpassing the 50 point plateau. Behind the incredible first line, the Avalanche have lots of scoring depth. Andre Burakovsky, Brandon Saad, and Nazem Kadri are all able to hold their own when it comes to point production. Andre Burakovsky and Brandon Saad also bring valuable championship experience that helps them in the later rounds of the playoffs.
The talent does not stop with the forwards, on the back end the avalanche have highly skilled players such as Cale Makar and Sam Girad leading the charge in terms of shutting down opponents scoring chances and providing offense for their own team. Goaltender Phillip Gruaber is definetly thankful for the strong defense in fornt of him. The incredible play in front of Gruaber led him to be in the running for the Vezina trophy as the best goalie in hockey for the the year.
For the Blues, they have a very similar roster make-up to the Colorado Avalance. Upfront the St. Louis Blues will rely on Ryan O’Reilly, Brayden Schenn, Mike Hoffman, and Vladimir Tarasenko for the majority of their scoring. Tarasenko currently has a day-to-day injury but he most likely will return for this series and be an impact player.
The Blues defense is not nearly as good as it was in 2019 when they won the Stanley cup. This time around the Blues defense is currently led by Torey Krug and Justin Faulk. Colton Parayko is also an impact player for the Blues but he is currently recovering from an injury. Parayko’s physical play will be missed but Krug and Faulk’s skillsets should be enough to the team competitive in the series.
Finally the goaltender, Jordan Binnington. He was the hero in the Blues Stanley cup victory in 2019 and will need to play at a similar level if the Blues want to capture another championship. This season has been an up and down one for Binnington. Stretches of great success were followed by stretches of underwhelming play. Despite the mixed play of Binnington this season, he was rewarded with a six-year contract. To get the contract started off on the right foot Jordan Binnington will need to have a massive playoff performance to try and get his team over the hump.
Who to Watch in the St. Louis Blues vs Colorado Avalanche Series?
On both sides of the St. Louis Blues vs Colorado Avalanche series the teams possess some real talent that will be instrumental in attempting to turn the series in their teams favor. Both teams have some star forwards and rockstar goalies that will cause problems and frustrate the opposing team.
Colorado Avalanche First Line
As previously mentioned the Avalanches first line is one of the best first-lines in hockey. Mackinnon is the leader of the line. He has unbelievable speed that helps him create chances for him and his linemates to score. To go along with his game-breaking speed he has a great shot that makes goalies get twisted into all kinds of knots trying to stop the shot.
Mikko Rantanen is the goal scorer of the line, this season he scored 30 goals for the second time in his career. The big Finnish forward doesn’t have the flat-out speed that Mackinnon has but to make up for it he has an unreal shot. His shot comes in handy as he collects passes from his linemates to fire one-timers past opposing goalies at extremely high speeds.
The third part of the line is captain Gabriel Landeskog. Landeskog had a fantastic season as he scored at an almost point per game rate. With 52 points in 54 games, Landeskog is a dangerous threat on ice for any opponent. The Blues will have an extremely difficult time trying to defend this line and you can bet that this line will have their fingerprints all over the scoresheet this series.
Colorado Avalanche Goaltending
Coming into the season the Colorado Avalanche had a solid tandem of Phillip Grubauer as the starting goalie and Pavel Francouz as the backup. Unfortunately, Francouz suffered an injury that hasn’t allowed him to play all season. Grubauer played excellent in his absence. The Avalanche decided to get some insurance at the trade deadline and they acquire Jonas Johannsson and Devan Dubnyk.
Dubnyk was acquired from the San Jose Sharks in April of 2021. His tenure with Colorado has not gone as expected. Since joining the organization his numbers subpar but the biggest concern is that he is on the Covid-19 list. Jonas Johansson has stepped up and been very good in Dubnyk’s absence. Since joining the Avalanche, Johansson has 2.06 goals-against average and a .913 save percentage. His fantastic play will lead him to be the backup in the playoffs behind Phillip Grubauer. The starting goalie of the Avalanche has been amazing all year. A 1.95 goals-against average and a .922 save percentage come close to the top of the league. The Blues will have an extremely difficult time scoring on Grubauer.
The captain of the St. Louis Blues is a very dangerous player. Since joing the Blues in the 2018-19 season O’Rielly has been nothing but amazing. His first season with the Blues O’Rielly player in all 82 games and had 77 points including 28 goals. In the playoffs he really came alive as he played in 26 games and scored 23 points. He was named the winner of the Conn Smythe as Playoff MVP. On top of that he helped the Blues win the Stanley Cup.
O’Reilly’s second season with the Blues was successful in terms of statistics. His Blues couldn’t win the Stanley Cup last season but following a strong regular season in 2021 O’Reilly is ready to lead the Blues on a deep playoff run. This season he played in all 56 games and scored 24 goals to go along with 30 assists. His strong play this regular season should lead a fantastic playoffs.
The starting goalie of the Blues did not have the best regular-season but his chance to make people forget all about it comes in the playoffs. This series completely comes down to how Binnington plays. If Binnington is able to shut down the powerful Avalanche offense then the Blues will have a legit chance to win the series but if Binnington plays average or below average in this series then Blues will have a hard time winning.
Who Wins the St. Louis Blues vs Colorado Avalanche First-round Series?
The St. Louis Blues vs Colorado Avalanche is an intriguing matchup. The Avalanche has far more star power in this series. That being said, the Blues have won the Stanley Cup recently. Star power does not necessarily equate to success in the playoffs. The Blues have a legitimate chance to upset the Avalanche and advance further in the playoffs.
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