Despite the high-scoring affair, the scoring did not come from who you’d expect. None of the big line members got in the goal column. The secondary scoring and depth play of the Avalanche earned the win for the boys in burgundy.
The 1st period of Game 3 was by far the tamest period of the series. The Avs kept the puck in the Blues end for the first part of the period but never got a clear look at net.
Each team spent the first feeling each other out, killing one penalty each in the frame. Brandon Saad had a great chance catching the Blues on a change that was denied by Jordan Binnington.
The period moved by pretty quickly and included a flurry of big saves at the edge of the crease by Philipp Grubauer. The flurry caused plenty of conflict that saw Ivan Barbashev and Ryan Graves get respective roughing penalties to end the frame.
Both teams came alive in the second. Ryan Graves jumped out of the box after his penalty expired, beat Binnington to the puck, and slipped it into an empty net for a birthday goal and a 1-0 lead.
The Blues came out of the room the better team until the goal. Saad and Cale Makar would have chances to increase the lead as well but couldn’t convert.
After a power play for the Blues was killed off, Alex Newhook would get his first career NHL goal off of a big Binnington rebound to extend the lead to 2-0.
He is yet another rookie to score his first career NHL goal in Game 3 of the 1st round of the Stanley Cup playoffs. Seems familiar, right Avs fans?
After this, the Blues would bring all the pressure, looking to get back in the game. It allowed Grubauer to shine, making several key saves. It would come in handy, as Tyson Jost converted from his knees behind the goal line over three Blues players to make it 3-0 to the good guys.
The Blues would challenge for goaltender interference and lose it, hence giving the Avs a power play opportunity to kill off the game. It would be Tyler Bozak to capitalize shorthanded, however, to make things interesting and cut the deficit to 3-1.
The ensuing power play would be killed off, and things would be a little closer than Avs fans wished to start the third.
The Blues, like they had all night, came out physical. They were looking to get under the skin of the Avalanche and earn some penalties to get back in the game.
It would not work, as Gabriel Landeskog had a phenomenal chance in front alone that he could not put away. There was a penalty by Nathan MacKinnon, however, that the Avs were able to kill off.
Saad had a great game all night, and he would capitalize on a great feed from Andre Burakovsky in front to all but kill off the game 4-1.
Landeskog would take a holding penalty, allowing St. Louis to have a 6v4 power play. They would not capitalize, and JT Compher would direct one off the boards and into the empty net shorthanded and win the game for his squad by the score of 5-1.
The first line and big guns of the Avalanche were not at the top of their game. Luckily, the team no longer relies on those big guns every night and has depth that came in clutch. Graves had three points on his 26th birthday, Newhook got his first NHL goal, and several others besides the big guys contributed to the Game 3 win.
The Blues are shorthanded, with their top two defensemen out of the lineup along with their top scorer. They all but need a miracle to win four straight against the Presidents Trophy winners. However, they might get support with the announcement in the 1st intermission of Nazem Kadri’s eight game suspension for his hit to the head of Justin Faulk.
The Avalanche stayed very accountable, staying out of the box. They only committed two penalties all night, one of them a debatable roughing call on Graves at the end of the first period. This will be key to close out the series against the Blues and to advance further in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
The Avalanche will look to get out the brooms and sweep the Blues with a Sunday afternoon matchup for Game 4 and clinch a spot in the second round to face the Vegas Golden Knights or Minnesota Wild. Puck drop is set for 3:00 p.m. MT on NBCSN and Altitude.