It’s been a week since the 2021 Stanley Cup Playoffs began and some matchups have already ended. In a first-round matchup between the St. Louis Blues and the Colorado Avalanche, the Colorado Avalanche swept the Blues 4-0. The Colorado Avalanche came into this series as the President’s Trophy Winners, and this series showed how exactly a team who wins that trophy should play like.
For the Blues, it was a disaster of a series for them, as they showed little fight in any of the four games. But let’s look at why the Colorado Avalanche was successful in this series, and why the Blues couldn’t figure out how to beat them and let the Colorado Avalanche outplay them.
Colorado Avalanche’s Powerful Roster Skated Around the Entire St.Louis Blues Team.
It’s no secret that the reason the Colorado Avalanche won the 2020-2021 Presidents Trophy was due to their talented roster. In this series against the Blues, the roster got to showcase that talented roster, as many of the players shined. Nathan MacKinnon, who was perhaps the player that would contribute the most, absolutely shined.
Scoring six goals in this series, including a hat trick in game two, MacKinnon continued to show why he is perhaps one of the best players in the NHL right now. Another big player that dominated was Gabriel Landeskog, putting up eight points including two goals and six assists. Mikko Rantanen was also a big contributor who had seven points in this series including six assists and a goal.
Apart from those main three, the roster itself still had many standout players. Joonas Donskoi, Ryan Graves, and Brandon Saad all provided a fair number of points. But one player that honestly should’ve had more of was Cale Makar. The former Calder Memorial Trophy winner had three goals, but he should’ve probably made a bigger impact.
As for the Colorado Avalanche goalie situation, Philipp Grubauer did a really great job in this first round. Grubauer managed to shut down at least most of the Blues biggest weapons and was able to only allow at the most three goals in one game. Grubauer ended up with a .936 save percentage, which makes him one of the best goalies in this first round.
The Blues With No Offense and an Average Binnington Gets Crushed by the Colorado Avalanche
The St. Louis Blues came into this series fourth place in their own division. But in this series, they didn’t play as if they belonged in these playoffs at all. Now to be fair to the Blues, this season showed that they had a lot of injuries, including missing key guys like Oskar Sundqvist, Carl Gunnarsson, and Vince Dunn. Losing David Perron to COVID before game one started was indeed a big blow to their roster coming into this series. Perron had the greatest number of points that year for the Blues.
However, the Blues also had other stars on that could’ve really stepped up, like Ryan O’Reilly or Vladimir Tarasenko. But O’Reilly had three assists, while Tarasenko had two goals but that was only in the final game of the series. The fact that nobody on that roster stepped up in any big way in either one of the four games, was a very big disappointment for the Blues.
Despite how some people saw Jordan Binnington this year considering his emotions, he was perhaps the best player for the Blues in this series. Sure, he didn’t get any wins and had a .899 save percentage, but he was the most one putting in any effort at all for the Blues. Games two and four showcased that well.
Even though the Colorado Avalanche was up by at least one goal by the third period, he attempted to try and stop the Colorado Avalanche from scoring more goals. Due to the lack of any offense and defense by the Blues, the entire team couldn’t help Binnington out. Now granted most people said that the Blues wouldn’t be able to win the round, but a little more effort would’ve been great for the Blues. It seems the Blues have learned nothing since their 2019 Stanley Cup run, so they better fix it soon, before they become irrelevant again and go on cup less for a long time again.
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