The game saw the return of Matt Duchene, while Paul Stastny took the night off due to back spasms. Rather than shuffling up the lines, Patrick Roy simply slotted Dutchy in Pauly's spot between Jamie McGinn and P.A. Parenteau. Duchene showed no evidence of his oblique injury, fighting as hard in the corners as always. Stastny's absence was definitely felt, though. Anyone who claims he's not invaluable to the Avs is not watching.
The Blues got on board first off a redirect by David Backes at 2:46 into the game after some good looks early on. Both the defense and Semyon Varlamov want that goal back. It put the Blues totally in control of the game for the next five minutes. Helping St. Louis was a Jan Hejda tripping penalty at 14:26. Less than a minute in, the opposition went up by two with a Alexander Steen redirection off a perfect cross-crease pass by Backes. Roy used his time out to try to settle the boys down, but Alex Pietrangelo almost made it 3-0 when he hit a post a couple of minutes later.
However, the fourth line and Hejda said, "Eff that." Brad Malone forced his way down to the side of the net and slid a pass up the crease. Hejda was pinching in right behind Patrick Bordeleau, grabbing the puck and sending it right up the slot for Bordy to backhand it in. 2-1 St. Louis.
Parenteau drew a holding penalty at the mid-mark in the opening frame. It started off fantastically: Steen with a breakaway and a clear one-on-one vs Varlamov. Fortunately, Varly was up to the task. It wasn't the only offense the Blues got going during those two minutes, and the Avs were limited to just a couple of shots on net.
Duchene's awesomeness earned the Avalanche another power play because Ian Cole just couldn't contain his affection for Matty. This time was a whole lot different as St. Louis finally capitalized on the shorthanded bid with Jaden Schwartz giving the Avs their first shortie against of the season. The period wound down with the enemy up 3-1 on the board.
Have I mentioned how much I hate the St. Louis Blues?
The second started with much more even play between the two teams, and while there weren't many threatening chances from either side, possession was not tilted the Blues' direction. In fact, the Avs were able to generate some sustained pressure, especially from the third line.
This time it was Landeskog that was getting grabby grabs on his godlike body with Jay Bouwmeester sitting for interference. The PP was millions of times better than the previous two as the Avs maintined control in the Blues zone for nearly the entire time. Three shots got on net, yet none went in. As soon as it ended, the scrum the crowd was waiting for broke out. It all started when McGinn got a typical after-the-whistle shot on Steen and Steen fell down, went boom and got pissy. ThenTyson Barrie and Backes got in each others' faces and ended up in the box for roughing. Four on four hockey for two.
Nothing really transpired during the matching penalties or for the remainder of the period. The teams went into the locker rooms after two the same way they did after one: 3-1 St. Louis. However, it must be noted that Colorado played a much better game in the second period. Woulda been cool if they started the game that way, no?
The third started much the same way as the second ended: pressure by the Avs interrupted by good Blues' D. Then it got downright boring with neither team doing much of anything. Best play of the first ten minutes was when Bordeleau totally rocked Cole in the corner. So beautiful.
The Avs continued to fight for their lives, and the hard work paid off...sort of. It resulted in their third power play of the night as Schwartz was called for concealing the puck. Just a minute into the man advantage, Parenteau was mauled but there was no call. Too bad because the Avs really could have used a five-on-three situation as the rest of the PP was uneventful for them.
The line out on the ice when Varly was first pulled was that fourth line that had been playing so well all night. Shows some real appreciation from Roy of their efforts. Unfortunately, Chris Stewart got an empty net goal to seal the deal for the Avs tonight.
- Patrick BordelEau (better mf?). Goal and four assists. Seriously, he was the best player out there. No offense to him, but you won't win many games when your fourth-line enforcer is your best player
- Blues had lost the last eight games at the Pepsi Center
The Avs fly off to Minnesota for the first game of a home-and-home on Friday afternoon.