Let’s keep things in perspective. If you told anyone associated with the Colorado Avalanche that they would go into the 2018 All Star break having won ten of their last 12 games, they would ne extstatic.
The unfortunate part is that the only notches in the loss column of the 10-2-0 record came in their last two games.
In a game that had some reletively high stakes given how close the Central Divsion standings are, the Avs were unable to overcome a slow start. St. Louis was able to come away with a 3-1 victory thanks to an Avalanche penalty kill that looked nothing like the dominant one we have come to know.
It was a very rocky start for the Avalanche. The team looked sleepy though most of the first period, trailing the Blues on then shot clock 16-4 at one point. St. Louis kept the Avalanche on their heels and were finally able to grab the lead when Paul Stastny (who else) scored a powerplay goal at the 15:53 point.
Jonathan Bernier was the only Av that looked good at all through the first 18 minutes of the game. He held the team in the game until they were able to get their legs, and while the team played better near the end of the period, they were very lucky to go into the intermission trailing by only one.
Colorado seemed to wake up during the intermission as they came out looking like a completely different team to start the second. They were able to get sustained pressure, but this time it was Carter Hutton who shut the door. Despite dominating the play, the Avs fell behind 2-0 as Brayden Schenn scored another powerplay goal after Nathan MacKinnon took his second straight penalty.
The Avalanche were able to get one back near the end of the period. Alexander Kerfoot scored the 12th of the season to make the score 2-1 going into the second intermission. Kerfoot’s goal was assisted by Tyson Jost and Anton Lindholm - making it an all-rookie affair.
As the third period began, Colorado was able to sustain the pressure that they built in the second. By the midway point of the period, the Avs had overtaken the Blues on the shot clock as St. Louis looked content to sit back and nurse the one goal lead.
As the Avs put on a ton of pressure, St. Louis was able to pull away on a 2 on 1 leading to an insurance goal from Alex Steen with less than two minutes to go.
The final score was 3-1 sending the Avalanche to the All Star break having lost two games in a row.
- Jonathan Bernier looked like a #1 goalie again tonight - a trend that is showing no sign of fading away.
- It took him 45 games, but Anton Londholm finally got his first NHL point when he was given the second assist on Alex Kerfoot’s second period goal.
- David Warsofsky did not look out of place at all in his first game in the NHL this season.
- Once again, the team proved that if the top line doesn't score, they just don’t have enough fire power to win.
- The penalty kill was a huge reason why the Avalanche were able to win ten games in a row. Things were bound to catch up to them as the Avs let in two powerplay goals tonight.
The team has a few days off for the All Star break before they go back on the road for a trip through Western Canada.
Luckily for us, we’ll get to see Nathan MacKinnon prove he belongs as one of then best players in the game as he puts on a show during All Star weekend.