For the second year in a row, the road to the Stanley Cup for the Blues goes through Colorado.
Colorado Avalanche: 56-19-7, 119 points, 1st in Central Division
St. Louis Blues: 49-21-11, 109 points, 3rd in Central Division
Blues Head to Head:
1-2-0; 11 GF, 12 GA; 3.67 GF/G, 4.00 GA/G
Injuries as of May 14th (status may change by the start of round two):
Blues Injuries: Torey Krug, Marco Scandella
Avalanche Injuries: Andrew Cogliano, Darcy Kuemper
Blues Regular Season Leaders:
- Goals: Vladimir Tarasenko, 34
- Assists: Robert Thomas, 57
- Points: Vladimir Tarasenko, 82
- GAA: Ville Husso, 2.56
- SV%: Ville Husso, .919
Avalanche Regular Season Leaders:
- Goals: Mikko Rantanen, 36
- Assists: Nazem Kadri, 59
- Points: Mikko Rantanen, 92
- GAA: Darcy Kuemper, 2.54
- SV%: Darcy Kuemper, .921
Blues Postseason Leaders:
- Goals: David Perron, Ryan O’Reilly, Vladimir Tarasenko, 5
- Assists: David Perron, Pavel Buchnevich, Justin Faulk, 4
- Points: David Perron, 9
- GAA: Jordan Binnington, 1.67
- SV%: Jordan Binnington, .934
— St. Louis Blues (@StLouisBlues) May 13, 2022
Avalanche Postseason Leaders:
- Goals: Nathan MacKinnon, 5
- Assists: Cale Makar, 7
- Points: Cale Makar, 10
- GAA: Darcy Kuemper, 1.63
- SV%: Darcy Kuemper, .934
A rematch of 2021’s first round. The Avs, who controlled much of the Central Division’s play for the season, steamrolled the Nashville Predators in four games. The Blues took a bit more time to get through the Minnesota Wild, winning game six on Thursday night by a 5-1 score.
Both teams have explosive offenses, comparable post-season goaltending numbers (though regular season is a different beast), and solid defenses. The Blues are at a slight disadvantage on defense due to the injury related absences of Marco Scandella and Torey Krug, both of whose returns are uncertain for right now.
The Avalanche (5.25) have the advantage over the Blues (3.67) on goals for/games played, which is to be expected when you roll your opponents. They’re a bit closer when it comes to goals against – the Avs have the edge, but just slightly, 2.25 to 2.67.
The Blues’ key to winning is, much like with the Wild, they need to keep the Avalanche off of the power play. The Avs’ PP ranks first in the postseason at an incredible 43.8%. The Blues’ PP is third at a very impressive 30.8% – both teams’ play with the extra man solidified their first round win. Where the Blues have the clear advantage is on the penalty kill. Their 83.3% effectiveness may land them at seventh overall in the postseason, but Colorado’s kill of 76.9% ranks tenth.
If the Blues can win the special teams battle, they can win this series. Colorado is a powerhouse, but it would be shocking to see the Blues bounced like the Predators were.