The Avalanche: (2-0)
The Opponent: St. Louis Blues (0-2)
Puck drop: 7:30 p.m. MT
Watch: USA, BSMW, ALT
Listen: [Radio] Altitude 92.5, AM 950
The best of 4 series shifts to St. Louis for game 3 as the Avalanche look to take a stranglehold on the series and put the Blues on the brink of elimination. This is the most important game of the series considering the home ice advantage and the desperation the Avs can expect from their opponent as they attempt to claw their way back into this series.
The Avs have looked like the best team in the playoffs after two games as they have outscored the Blues 10-4 in 2 games thus far. As expected, Nathan MacKinnon has turned into a machine looking to flatten anything in his path with 7 points in 2 playoff games. The rest of the squad has looked good so far as well with contributions coming from other forwards and the D core playing solid hockey leading into game 3.
The lineup will remain the same as game 2 but with one change being made after Nazem Kadri’s hit that will keep him out of the lineup for the foreseeable future. Carl Soderberg will take his place in the lineup and look to contribute against his former team.
Gabriel Landeskog - Nathan MacKinnon - Mikko Rantanen
Andre Burakovsky - Tyson Jost - Joonas Donskoi
Valeri Nichushkin - Carl Soderberg - Brandon Saad
Alex Newhook - Pierre-Edouard Bellemare - J.T. Compher
Devon Toews - Cale Makar
Samuel Girard - Ryan Graves
Patrik Nemeth - Conor Timmins
St. Louis Blues
Looking ahead at the series for St. Louis, the question remains if this team will be able to contain the high powered Avalanche offense. This team is built for heavy checking, playoff type hockey. However, that has not been working against a team that seems to slip away from pressure, while opening up tons of space. Ryan O’ Rielly has not had his best start to the series but is always on the verge of a bounce back performance.
After injuries to Robert Bortuzzo & Justin Faulk, it is hard to tell who is going to lineup defensively for the Blues. The forward group is going to look the same heading into game 3.
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
Tory Krug - (Vince Dunn)*
Marco Scandella - Colton Parayko
Niko Mikkola - (Steven Santini)*
The goalie matchup has looked a bit one sided so far but that is not reflective of the performance that Jordan Binnington had in game 1. He has played the best he can, yet seems to be getting caught in the avalanche slide so far. Phillip Grubauer has had a good start to games 1 and 2, and I am sure he will be ready to face the pressure that the Blues hope to put on him in game 3.