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Colorado Avalanche Game Day: Round one begins against Blues

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Colorado Avalanche begin their playoff journey tonight.

NHL: Los Angeles Kings at Colorado Avalanche Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

The Colorado Avalanche begins the 2021 Stanley cup playoffs with a seven-game series with the St. Louis blues tonight in Denver, CO, at Ball Arena. The Avalanche and Blues have not faced each other in a playoff series since May of 2001.

COLORADO AVALANCHE

The Avalanche needed to win five straight games to end the regular season to secure the fabled Presidents’ Trophy and home-ice advantage throughout the playoffs. That’s just what they did, outscoring their opponents 19-6.

Colorado will welcome the return of Nathan MacKinnon and Brandon Saad to the lineup. Saad hasn’t skipped a beat since coming over from the Chicago Blackhawks and will be a valuable net-front presence in this series. Nathan MacKinnon always has the potential to dominate a series with his elite foot and hand speed.

FORWARDS

Gabriel Landeskog - Nathan MacKinnon - Mikko Rantanen

Andre Burakovsky - Tyson Jost - Brandon Saad

Valeri Nichushkin - Nazem Kadri - Joonas Donskoi

Alex Newhook - Pierre-Edouard Bellemare - J.T. Compher

DEFENDERS

Devon Toews - Cale Makar

Samuel Girard - Ryan Graves

Patrik Nemeth - Conor Timmins

ST. LOUIS BLUES

The Blues come into the playoffs after securing the fourth and final playoff position in the Honda West Division. Early season struggles lead to a late-season playoff push this year in typical St. Louis fashion.

Blues captain Ryan O’Reilly spoke with confidence when asked about the matchup with the league’s winningest team stating, “We’re going to have fun, and we’re going to beat them.”

The Blues come into the playoffs after securing the fourth and final playoff position in the Honda West Division. Early season struggles lead to a late-season playoff push this year in typical St. Louis fashion.

Blues captain Ryan O’Reilly spoke with confidence when asked about the matchup with the league’s winningest team stating, “We’re going to have fun, and we’re going to beat them.”

FORWARDS

Jaden Schwartz - Ryan O’Reilly - Brady Schenn

Ivan Barbashev - Tyler Bozak - Vladimir Tarasenko

Mike Hoffman - Robert Thomas - Jordan Kyrou

Kyle Clifford - Zach Sanford - Sammy Blais

DEFENDERS

Tory Krug - Justin Faulk

Marco Scandella - Colton Parayko

Vince Dunn - Robert Bortuzzo

UPDATE: No Vince Dunn today

GOALTENDERS

Colorado will go with starting goaltender Philipp Grubauer in game one. Grubauer has had a Vezina caliber season, posting a GAA of 1.95 and .922 SV%. Grubauer’s impact on this playoff series could prove crucial, seeing as the Avalanche haven’t had an actual starter play in the playoffs in the last two appearances.

The Blues will go with Jordan Binnington in the net. Binnington has looked solid going into the playoffs, posting a GAA of 2.65 and .910 SV% in the 2020-21 regular season.