Many Avalanche fans had bad feelings going into this game. Turns out they were spot on with the concern.
The Avalanche got into penalty trouble early as Maxime Talbot was called for hooking at 18:11. Taking just 3 seconds, the Blues got on the board thanks to the Altiboobs and their Altijinxes. Derek Roy, deflected a shot from the point, putting St. Louis up by one. It was the ninth consecutive game in which the Blues has scored first. The quick goal surely put a bad taste in the mouths of Avs fans everywhere.
Brendan Morrow the refs gave the Avalanche their first power play at 15:03, and it took a whopping 33 seconds for Colorado to get a goal on the man advantage. Nathan MacKinnon was hanging out in the "happy spot" on the ice (thanks, Rycroft!) and unloaded one on Jaroslav Halák, sending that puck home (thanks, Keefer!). The goal gave the Avs some life, turning what was looking like a dull, slow game back into the uptempo play we've come to expect from our boys.
Just under ten left in the period, Jan Hejda lost an edge and careened into the boards face first. He stayed down for a few, and the trainer busted ass to see how he was. Fortunately, he got up and skated off the ice under his own power, returning to play not long after.
Player after player got some great looks on each goaltender, but as often happens, a goalie duel kept both teams from netting any goals. With 1:58 left in the first, St. Louis got their second power play of the game as John Mitchell was called for crosschecking. He got away with the first one, but the second sent Vladimir Sobotka down to the ice. Gonna be called every time. Fortunately, the Avalanche penalty killers were much better this time around, killing it without too much trouble.
Apart from the Blues' two power plays to the Avs' one and the Blues dominating at the dot (66% to 37%), the opening frame was incredibly even with both teams getting scoring chances and solid defense and goaltending keeping the score tied at one.
The middle frame started out all Blues as they controlled puck so much that the Avs couldn't get a change for over a minute. Unsurprisingly, it ends in a penalty with Erik Johnson called for holding. St. Louis didn't fare as well as they did at the beginning of the first, though, taking a full seven seconds this time to get the goal. A win off the face off was the key. T.J. Oshie and Roy got the puck down low for David Backes who simply tapped one in stick side on JS Giguere.
Alexander Steen lit the lamp at 12:44. It was a goal you could feel coming as the ice had certainly tilted St. Louis's way. Roy decided to shake things up by pulling Giguere in favor of Semyon Varlamov. Can't say I'm surprised. The team needed some energy, and Jiggy was looking a bit slow out there.
The goaltending change didn't do shit. Just minutes later, Vladimir Tarasenko put the Blues up 4-1, pretty much hammering the nail in the Avs' coffin.
Of course the situation got under the Avs skin and a scrum broke out in front of Varly, sending both Talbot and Brenden Morrow to the box on matching roughing minors. Instead of taking advantage of the situation, Matt Duchene got caught on some uncharacteristically undisciplined play and got two for hooking. The four-on-three was absolutely ugly, and you could see Colorado melting down in front of your eyes. It wasn't any shock when Chris Stewart netted the Blues' fifth goal of the evening. After dominating the league on penalty kills, Colorado couldn't keep the puck out of the net when St. Louis was up a man.
Stewart dropped the gloves and totally demolished Cory Sarich with 3:14 left and played to the crowd as he left for the locker room. It's an awesomely fun thing when he's on your team, but when he's the enemy, it gets under your skin. Well-played, Stewie.
Stewie got an extra two on the altercation, though, giving Colorado their second power play. A rematch broke out between Sabotka and Duchene behind the Blues net. Neither guy got any real shots in, and it lasted all of two seconds.
With just over 30 seconds left, Jaime McGinn took a rough hit in the corner and was shook up on the play. Again, he skated off on his own power and looked like he would probably return for the third.
Cody McLeod and Ryan Reaves dropped the gloves for the third fight in the period, and it was just stupid. This was a planned fight off the face off. Really, Cody? What exactly do you think you're going to accomplish there? Reaves is way out of your weight class and whooped your butt.
At the end of the second, the Blues led the Avs 5-1. You could hear the pundits clicking on their keyboards, writing their "See, the Avs do suck after all" articles.
Some guys scored. Some other guys scored. Bordy did/said something that got a misconduct. Stewart drew the ire of Avs fans. That's about all I got. I stopped watching. Sue me.
MHH "Three" Stars
(unlike other writers, I go homer on this and only pick Avs players)
- Nate MacKinnon - sweet power play goal
- Matt Duchene - second fight in career, goal
- This was the first road game in which the Avs gave up a goal during the penalty kill. Apparently, they made up for all of that goodness in one fell swoop.
- After pulling Jiggy, Roy went over to him to say a few words. Gotta believe that was a one goaltender to another moment.
O'Reilly - Duchene - Parenteau
Landeskog - Stastny - MacKinnon
McGinn - Mitchell - Talbot
McLeod - Cliche - Bordeleau
Hejda - Johnson
Benoit - Sarich
Holden - Guenin
continue their road trip, rolling into Florida to face the Panthers.