Blues Secure Post-Season, Dispatch Avs 3-1

Dilip Vishwanat

Blues shake off boredom with Avalanche effort, waltz into the post season unmolested.

Hello. And now a recap.

Peter McNabb made a bold prediction with his early in-depth analysis during the 1st period when he reported that the Blues "can not be stupid in this game". Ah. That must be different from their normal game plan. Stick tap Pete. Stick. Tap.

Jamie McGinn took a bad penalty after he failed to hustle to a loose puck in the defensive zone, putting the Blues on the game's first powerplay. Chris Stewart redirected a Jordan Leopold slap shot to put the Blues up 1-0. And the curse of the former Avs makes an appearance. The lazy play by McGinn directly led to a goal against. These are the types of small plays inside the game that keep biting the Avalanche.

O'Brien would take the Avs 2nd avoidable penalty of the night on a routine St Louis dump in. The Avs fended off short handed situation and Varlamov made a highlight reel save as the Blues broke in 2-on-2 but both Avs took the same guy so the Blues player found himself alone in the slot with the puck (because kids, that is the safest place to leave unguarded. If you're a youngster interested in hockey, take note).

McLeod and Backes engaged in pleasantries at the buzzer and so the 2nd period started with the Avs once again on the penalty kill. The Avalanche enjoy the uphill battle so much that seconds after they killed McLeod's penalty Mitchell high-sticked his way to the sin bin. 8 seconds into man-advantage the Blues scored their 2nd powerplay of the night (another assist for Leopold), this one also a redirect in front off a big slap shot from the blue line. What's that? Strategy you say? I don't follow...

With 14:47 to go in the middle frame Andy McDonald drove to the front of the net and backhanded a shot past Varlamov to make it 3-0 (assist to Chris Stewart). And it was looking very much like the Blues were on their way to clinching a playoff spot. Shots 22-8. Gah.

Shane O'Brien channeled his inner Sedin and fell dramatically to the ice after a shifty elbow from Patrick Berglund to put the Avalanche on their first powerplay of the night. The first unit got a few decent looks, but other than Stastny's bad angle bids, no worries for Blues' fans as the Avs would squander the opportunity.

But then things got weird. After O'Brien interfered with Andy McDonald (no call), McDonald tripped Zanon (called). Varlamov went to the bench on the delayed call as the Avs played the puck back to their own goal. The puck narrowly missed the open net, and then the Colorado boys charged up ice and Cody McLeod fired a wrister past Brian Elliot top corner far side. McLeod has been pretty great since been promoted from the lower ranks. He's like Captain Malcolm Reynolds: You got a job, he can do it - and he don't much care what it is. 3-1 Blues.

Zanon would send the home team back on another powerplay with a tripping call early in the third. The Avs would kill the penalty and immediately draw a tripping call of their own as Ryan O`Reilly worked hard against the boards in the St Louis zone. But, alas, the Avs could not narrow the margin.

The Avs tossed the kitchen sink at the Blues the final 90 seconds pulling Varlamov while getting a 6-on-4 on yet another tripping penalty, but it was all for naught. Blues win 3-1 and make the playoffs.

MHH Stick Taps

  • Cody McLeod, Goal
  • Tomas Vincour, first game with Avs. I guess that's something
  • Varlamov, 31 saves. He actually played pretty well. He allowed 2 PPGs off redirects, and on the weaker goal he was left out to dry as McDonald walked in uncontested.

Lines

  • Landeskog - O'Reilly - McLeod
  • Mitchell - Duchene - Parenteau
  • McGinn - Stastny - Kobasew
  • Bordeleau - Vincour - Palushaj
  • O'Brien - Hunwick
  • Zanon - Barrie
  • Hejda - Elliott

Quick Hits

  • Avs have the #1 PK at home and #30 on the road. How the hell does that happen?
  • Avs were outshot 34-18.

Next Up

The Avs end their road woes as they take on Phoenix Coyotes in their final road game of the season, Friday, 8 pm.

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