The Avalanche have had a few heart breaking losses of late, especially considering how they've played on this road trip. The Avs peppered Braden Holtby (the hottest goalie in the league right now) with 18 shots in the third period, only to fall by a score of 2-1. The next night the Avs were completely out classed, offering up nearly 100 Corsi events to a sub par Carolina team. Yet thanks to a miracle third, the Avs scraped out a point. After handling Florida at Panther's Stadium (per Kyle Keefe) the Boys in Burgundy set out to tackle the best home team in the East. The game was one of the best of the season, yet it was the kind of 5v5 play we've come to expect during this road trip. Colorado native Ben Bishop held The Avs in check (save for two goals, that's right I'm arguing the Iginla call no matter how obvious it was) until Nathan MacKinnon played hero with 6.8 ticks left on the clock. The Avs would lose again in the shootout (new moves please). If the Avs detractors are worth a thing, they'd be encouraged by the play and dismiss the result.
Let's get the specific preview stuff out of the way. The Blues have former Avs Paul Stastny, Kevin Shattenkirk, and Brian Elliot. 2014 Olympians from across the globe, a good (albeit crotchety) coach, and a bunch of drinking fountains (read:no cups). They beat us down on the back of Devil's star Marty Brodeur last time around.
Now The Avs have what will prove to be a huge game against The Blues in the Scott Trade Center. This has proved to be a tale of two teams season after season for the Avs, either dominating or floundering against the Blues. They are captained by the gutless David Backes, backed up by former Sabre captain and consummate douche Steve Ott. Coming off of a 3-0 shutout and banishing of HOFer Martin Brodeur, St. Louis figures to be a tough, yet critical, two points. Long story short, the Blues don't show up on my radar, but these points sure as hell do.
The Central (and really the West in general) has decided to completely dick the Avs over the past few days. Minnesota has decided to win a couple (Ryan Suter is clearly the issue there, I bet they make him a healthy scratch) and Chicago only wins when it won't benefit the Avs. That brings us to St. Louis. The Blues are making a case to ostracize the Avs from the Central playoff spots, considering Nashville and Chicago seem unpassable. The Blues are 7-2-1 in their last ten, and are quickly getting healthier. This means that St. Louis is going to close out another first round loss to the Blackhawks and the term four point game is nothing more than a buzz word. The Jets (along with Dustin Byfuglien) are proving more and more that they're for real, despite Hutchinson and Pavelec making cameos as NHL goaltenders. The Kings will make the playoffs. Period. This leaves very little room for error in key games such as this, so clearly Colorado needs to bring home some of these key games.
Four points out of ten. Six points out of ten. One sounds a whole lot better, doesn't it? You can't expect the Avs to win this game, i.e. the Florida or the Canes, but this sure would go a long way towards making the playoffs. The road to the post season is fraught with games that are losses on paper, with long road trips come to an end in hostile environments, therefore these are the games that separate the contenders from the pretenders.
Go Avs Go!
Puck drop at 6 pm MST
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