It’s been 175 days since Darren Helm scored with just five seconds left in the third period of game six, effectively slaying the second-round boogie man for the Colorado Avalanche. Looking back it feels like beating the Blues, in that fashion, really encapsulates last season’s cup run.
The series itself was an absolute doozy for both sides. Early on it looked like Jordan Binnington could return to his cup-winning form before getting injured as a result of a net-front collision. A collision that momentarily set the hockey world on fire. A series that had already seen the heated exchange and inevitable extracurriculars, got even more emotional and tense.
"Not sure if he just threw a water bottle at me or not."— Sportsnet (@Sportsnet) May 22, 2022
Jordan Binnington apparently threw a water bottle at Nazem Kadri while the Avs forward was discussing their collision.
️: @BR_OpenIce pic.twitter.com/ETtgpadTD8
Nazem Kadri and his family were the targets of unacceptable vitriol via the guise of anonymity and social media. Kadri handled it like an absolute legend and in the face of hate did his talking on the ice all while promoting organizations aimed at curbing the very bigotry he had experienced. It was inspiring not just to Avalanche fans, but just as importantly, to Kadri’s teammates.
Now the Blues are back. Nazem Kadri plays for the Calgary Flames. David Perron who was a common post-whistle shot taker following the Binnington injury is also dawning a new sweater in Detroit with the Red Wings. The perfect fit.
The Avalanche have been dealing with the ramifications of an early-season injury wave. With key players like Valeri Nichushkin and Gabe Landeskog off the ice, it’s important that the remaining superstar talent pick up the slack. That’s exactly what has happened for Colorado who is currently enjoying a four-game win streak. Nathan MacKinnon, Mikko Rantanen, and Cale Makar have all been visibly better as each game passes. Pushing their streak to five games will mean beating a division rival in front of the home crowd at Ball Arena.
Artturi Lehkonen — Nathan MacKinnon — Mikko Rantanen
Alex Newhook — Evan Rodriguez — Martin Kaut
Andrew Cogliano — J.T. Compher — Logan O’Connor
Dryden Hunt — Jayson Megna — Sampo Ranta
Devon Toews — Cale Makar
Jacob MacDonald — Josh Manson
Andreas Englund — Erik Johnson
Note: Valeri Nichushkin, Bowen Byram, Samuel Girard, and Kurtis MacDermid are all listed as “out” for tonight’s contest with both Gabriel Landeskog and Darren Helm still on injured reserve.
The Blues’ 2022-23 regular season has gotten off to a rocky start. They came out of the gate winning three straight, then lost eight straight. They can win their third straight contest again by beating the Avalanche tonight. The Blues are a decent squad on paper but if their goaltending and defensive play don’t improve, they could find themselves on the outside looking in come playoff time. It’s early, I know, but eight-game losing streaks can really add up.
Pavel Buchnevich — Robert Thomas — Vladimir Tarasenko
Brandon Saad — Ryan O’Reilly — Josh Leivo
Ivan Barbashev — Brayden Schenn — Jordan Kyrou
Nikita Alexandrov — Noel Acciari — Tyler Pitlick
Nick Leddy — Colton Parayko
Torey Krug — Justin Faulk
Calle Rosen — Niko Mikkola
Note: Scott Perunovich and Robert Bortuzzo are on the injured reserve list with Marco Scandella listed as “out” for tonight’s contest.
I’d be incredibly surprised if Jordan Binnington didn’t get the start tonight for the Blues. He is obviously a man of immense pride (sometimes to a fault) so I’d guarantee he’s itching to face the Avalanche again fully healthy. He has struggled to start the year with a .895 SV% and 3.19 GAA.
Alexandar Georgiev will get the nod for Colorado this evening with Pavel Francouz facing the Hurricanes in their last contest. Georgiev has been a pleasant surprise starting his time with the Avalanche with a 7-1-1 record heading into tonight. He is posting a 2.66 GAA with a .924 SV%.