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Game Review

Takeaways from Avs victory over Blues

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It was a 3-2 game, but honestly, I never thought it was close. If that makes any sense. The Avs win the contest over the St. Louis Blues to extend the point streak to 13 games (11-0-2). I’m going to just do some “thoughts and observations” here, as I think many of you prefer that kind of postgame story rather than some “rehash” of what most of you already saw.

So here we go:

  • Yeah, I thought the worst there at the start of the game, when Jonas Johansson allowed a little short-side shot – the first of the game for the Blues – right after Brandon Saad had made it 1-0. But give the big Swede some credit here. He made a breakaway save later in the period and looked pretty solid at the end, when the Blues put six shots on net on a power play. It was the second time in as many outings for the Avs that JoJo allowed a goal on the first shot (hello, Peter Budaj!) but the kid settled down some from there. He called it a “great feeling” after the game, getting his first W as an Av and only the second of his NHL career.
  • I thought the biggest part of the game was the first 10 minutes of the third period, even though nothing happened on the scoreboard for either team. The Avs gave the Blues nothing – nothing – in that span, and from there you could kind of see the Blues squeeze their sticks too much and look a little panicky offensively when they had the few chances at the end.
  • I missed the game the other night (upper body), so this was the first time in more than a year that I was in a building with fans in it and – wow – were you guys loud. Even Nathan MacKinnon noticed it, saying “It was very loud. I know it’s only four, five thousand but it (felt) a lot more than that.”
  • Walking the concourse between the first and second period, I saw so many people just…so happy looking. So many people seemed to be just…so happy to be talking to other people, hanging out with other people, drinking beer and eating pizza with other people. It was nice to see.
  • Valeri Nichushkin took the morning skate today, but Jared Bednar said he wasn’t “feeling well”, so he was a scratch. Bednar said he could play tomorrow night.
  • I thought newcomer Liam O’Brien was impressive out there in his first game as an Av. I thought he was good and physical and made a couple good little defensive plays, like sealing the wall on opposition clearout attempts, things like that. His line, which included Kiefer Sherwood and P.E. Bellemare, shoved some bodies around out there. The Avs actually wanted O’Brien in the offseason, and got him, but he was slowed down by an injury coming into the season. He looks fine now. He was credited with five hits in the game.
  • I can’t say enough good things about Devon Toews. Holy Jumpin’, as Blues analyst Darren Pang would say, has he been good or what? He leads the league in plus-minus and almost never seems to make a mental mistake. He had 20 Corsi events for and 9 against tonight.
  • MacKinnon obviously brought his ‘A’ game tonight. He had the jets going big-time. If he starts getting more easy goals on the power play, like that little spin-o-rama he scored on tonight, look out.
  • The Blues were very unhappy about that tripping call on David Perron with under two minutes left. But I thought it was the correct call. Perron did a bowling pin sweep with his skates in tripping up, I believe, Mikko Rantanen. Yeah, Perron was sliding to try and keep a puck in the offensive zone, but he still swept out a guy’s feet. And besides, Rantanen was called for a ridiculous cross-check in the final five minutes. I’ve seen harder hits in a pillow fight than that cross-check.
  • The Avs are a much faster team than St. Louis right now. If I notice anything about the Blues and a problem right now, it’s that they seem to be slowing down. They will be a better team when D-man Colton Parayko returns from injury though. Don’t take that team lightly at all.
  • Between stops in play, there was a thing on the JumboTron where Cale Makar was asked any new hobbies he picked up during the pandemic, and one of the things he said is he’s taken up the game of cribbage.
  • Do I still think the Avs will consider another backup goalie before April 12? Yeah, I do. We’ll see what happens.
  • A reporter from the Czech Republic tweeted today that he believes Pavel Francouz is “done” for the season. The Avs will only say that he’s out “long-term” still. I asked Francouz’s agent a couple days ago for anything on his status, and he said he had no comment.
  • Bednar said he thought “the third period, I thought was our best. Significantly better than the first two. I really like when we finish a game like that.”

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Adrian Dater - Kiss and Larry Bird fan. Writer with @Gambling and @Bookies. Previously Denver Post, SI, Bleacher Report to name just a few.

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JD16

Not the most fun game they’ve played, but a wins a win. Also, Dater, if you get a chance to talk to Kiefer Sherwood is there anyway you could ask him what’s with the white gloves he wears under his gloves. I’ve noticed them before and I find it curious.

Matt Briggle

Most likely it’s just a feel thing for one reason or another. The likeliest would be that once he starts sweating they help with his grip on the stick through the gloves. Just has to make sure he doesn’t get in a fight with them on as that would be an extra penalty. I’ve noticed that Mikko wears something on his hands as well, but it doesn’t cover his knuckles so he’s fine if he gets in a scrap from my understanding of the rules – I could be wrong tho.

Matt Briggle

Yes, you could say the first goal was a soft one that he should have stopped. You also have to factor in the completely blown defensive coverage that left Hoffman standing there with the puck all by himself in the low slot. Yes he should have made that save, yes he shouldn’t have had to make that save. Overall, I thought Johansson looked pretty solid and definitely got better as the game went on. I would also not stop the search for a more experienced goalie to serve as back up for the stretch run and playoffs. Personally, I would… Read more »

John Mauss

Matt, good post. Agree that O’Brien and Sherwood were excellent lineup choices. Also agree that, although Johansson looked fairly good, we must not stop the search for a real goalie. I think Johansson could get us a few points finishing the regular season, but it would be ugly with him in goal in the playoffs.

Ricardo

Despite the differences in speed I think that the Blues match up well against the AVs for some reason. They always seem to have a good game plan against us. O’Reilly foiled a lot of plays with his positioning and stick work. I still fear the Blues and Knights the most in our division.

joshmishell

One of my favorite things about Toews are those 3-4 explosive strides to get back into the defensive zone.

[…] The Colorado Avalanche pulled out a slim 3-2 victory over the St. Louis Blues. It was a 3-2 game, but Adrian Dater never thought it was close. (Colorado Hockey Now) […]

avsftw

Great stuff AD! Really like your observations. I thought last night was going to be an L so here’s hoping they turn it on again!

Jim Strohmeier

Great psychological warfare on the Blues: send in their greenest rookie netminder and win in front of him, then for the second game of back to back, put Grubauer in. I think the Avs got in the Blues’ heads and Dater is correct about them holding their sticks too tight. The Avalanche are reasonably healthy and on a roll right now ..

ricoflashback

The biggest thing I noticed in the game was how slow the Blues look. They’re a shell of their former Cup days. But they are made for playoff hockey when the game slows down with their physicality. Tarasenko doesn’t look like the same player after his injuries. Let’s hope it stays that way against the Avs tonight.

jawtin

Could it have been louder because the fans that were in the lower bowl weren’t mostly corporate giveaway seats? Watch any highlight videos from pre-covid and you’ll see a third at most standing and cheering after a goal.

John Mauss

Interesting observation. I sit in the lower bowl, corner sections, and everyone around me is standing. I’ll watch for what you say.

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