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Colorado Avalanche lose 5-2 in St. Louis

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NHL: Colorado Avalanche at St. Louis Blues Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

No matter how well they’re playing, the Colorado Avalanche just can't seem to figure out the St. Louis Blues. Monday night was no different as the Avs lost 5-2 in St. Louis to drop them three points out of first in the Western Conference.

This one came down to some very bad team defense in the second half of the game. Working his way back from injury, Philipp Grubauer was hung out to dry on numerous occasions resulting in four unanswered goals from the Blues.

Recap

The Avalanche were outplayed for most of the first period but were almost able to make it to the intermission with the game tied. That changes with a little more than a minute left in the period when David Perron scored his first of the night when he tapped in a beautiful pass from Ryan O’Reilly. Grubauer had no chance on the play and the Avs went into the intermission trailing 1-0.

Whatever Coach Bednar said between periods seemed to work as it took only 55 seconds for the Avalanche to tie the game up. Nazem Kadri scored his 11th of the season off a set play on an offensive zone faceoff. Kadri won the puck back to Ryan Graves who then made a perfect pass back to the slot. Tie game 1-1.

Playing much better in the second period, the Avalanche were able to sustain pressure on the Blues. They made up the gap on the shot clock and eventually went to the man advantage after Mark Barberio drew a hooking penalty on Alex Steen. This power play was one of the best we’ve seen in a while from the Avs. After a minute and a half of sustained pressure and a number of scoring chances, Mikko Rantanen put an absolute laser past Jordan Binnington to give Colorado a 2-1 lead.

The Avalanche continues to put the pressure on St. Louis as the game neared the second intermission. That is until Nazem Kadri took a four minute high-sticking penalty that would completely shift the momentum. It was an accidental high stick, but it drew a lot of blood - Parayko needed stitches in the intermission - and was an unfortunate but warranted penalty.

The Blues capitalized on the double-minor. David Perron tied the game up with his second of the night only a few seconds into the penalty. Then with Kadri still in the penalty box, Vince Dunn score 36 second later to give St. Louis a 3-2 lead before the end of the second period. All-in-all it was a really ugly penalty kill for the Avs and it put them down a goal heading into the second intermission.

Coming into the third period, the Blues had the Avalanche on their heels, and you could feel the pressure building. After the Avs were able to hold on for the first 11 minutes, Jordan Kyrou scored a beautiful goal to give the Blues a two goal lead for the first time in the game. The goal came as a result of some horrendous play by the Avalanche defenders. After a brutal neutral zone giveaway by Nikita Zadorov, Kyrou blew by Ryan Graves and was able to use his speed to score on the wrap around while Big Z stood frozen in front of the net. After a couple of weeks of very strong play, this game was a very rough one for Zadorov and this play was the encapsulation of that.

The Avalanche were able to put on a little pressure late in the third but with the goalie pulled, David Perron scored in the empty net, completing his hat trick and putting a seal on the 5-2 Blues victory.

The Avs will look to put the rough night behind them as they head to Chicago to take on the Blackhawks on Wednesday night.