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.”
Your game highlights: