The Avalanche played one period of balanced hockey tonight. Coming off a victory last night in Nashville, they were a bit tired -- but so was St. Louis who played the previous evening themselves. The Avs took advantage early, clearly skating better than their opponents and getting good scoring chances. The first goal resulted from a Jack Skille breakaway initiated by last night's 1st-line left wing (and tonight 4th-line center) Mikhail Grigorenko. Skille got in open ice and sniped the puck past St. Louis goalie, Jake Allen (Video). Colorado was at it again a few minutes later in the Blues' zone. Brandon Gormley fired a puck deep, Alex Tanguay retrieved it and sent it back out front, and John Mitchell got a scrappy, hard-nosed goal right in front of the net (Video). The period would end with the Avalanche playing well and sporting a decent lead.
Then that thing happened where they stop playing on the other end of the ice. You know, kind of JUST LIKE LAST NIGHT. Except this may have been even worse, like way worse. The Blues started peppering the Avalanche with shots -- 30 to 12 in the period. And once again, Semyon Varlamov wasn't impressed. The Avs goalie kept St. Louis off the board for all 20 minutes yet again.
And he would in the 3rd too, at least 5v5. Alex Tanguay would commit a bad penalty at the 12:34 mark and the Blues would finally score on a Vladimir Tarasenko wrist shot, his 18th of the year (Video). But that would be all -- the Avs held on. Their goalie was otherworldly and Carl Soderberg stole the puck and buried an empty-netter to seal the game with 22 seconds remaining (Video). Colorado won their second game of the road trip, now hold 29 points, and are 6-2-0 against Central Division opponents (crazy, right?).
- Semyon Varlamov - So, yeah, he stopped 42 of 43 shots tonight, and that probably doesn't even tell the full story. The Blues fired 70 shots at the net tonight to the Avs' 34 (It was 15-13 Avs after the 1st). Tonight was another masterpiece and more evidence the Avs' star goaltender healthy and playing well.
- Semyon Varlamov - Yup, deserves another mention. Did you know he was playing on the second night of a back-to-back? Unbelievable. Any doubt he gets the start against Chicago?
- Matt Duchene - Lot's of near misses again tonight. We're starting to see the PDO dragon wag its tail a bit right now after his torrid scoring streak the past month. That's ok. If he keeps take shots like tonight and creating opportunities for his linemates, his scoring will remain elite.
- The Turtle - For those unaware, it's the Avs' defensive strategy once they take a lead. The curl up into their shell and stop playing hockey. It's hard to argue with its recent results, but man, is it terrifying to watch for such long stretches of time.
- Alex Tanguay - Notched another assist tonight, but his recent injury comeback has been rough.