Well, I’ve finally regained my hearing after Wednesday nights game against the St. Louis Blues. I know that’s what everyone was worried about and I appreciate the concerns. I do have to say, I’ve been a lot of games in my time as an Avs fan and I have never and I mean NEVER heard Ball Arena that loud before. My ears were literally ringing after Nathan MacKinnon scored his third goal of the game. Avs faithful showed up!
We are less than 24 hours away from Game 6 in St. Louis and hopefully everyone has had time to gather their thoughts and feelings. Alright deep breath in and….deep breath out. Wednesday night was rough, but there are things that give me hope headed into tonight.
First up, Nathan MacKinnon has found his groove. He was hungry Wednesday night to closeout the series and I have no doubt he’s going to be right back at it tonight. He was a man on a mission all night and carried the team on his back. His third period goal was simply incredible. After the Blues tied it at three, you could hear a pen drop in the stadium but MacKinnon said not so fast. He was ready to end this thing and send the Avs to the Western Conference finals for the first time in 20 years. It was a highlight reel goal and effort from #29.
This team has responded well to poor performances in the past. This is where I’ve seen the growth the most within this team. When the Avs lost Game 2, they went into St. Louis and put up a solid 60 minutes. It doesn’t hurt that they are undefeated on the road as well. Confidence should be on their side after going 2-0 this past weekend in Blues territory. The playoffs aren’t easy. This team knows that and so do the Blues.
“We’ve got to move on, like Gabe said, and comeback and win Game 6 on the road. It’s a fun opportunity for us. Hopefully everything happens for a reason.” said Nathan MacKinnon after Wednesday nights loss.
It’s hard to pin Game 5 on anyone and their individual effort/performance. Each period the team progressively played worse and you could feel the tides changing. The Avs have played with a lead before and the know how to keep it. I truly believe it. Wednesday seemed like a mental lapse and a mindset issue. Having a 3-0 isn’t enough in the playoffs and it was a tough lesson to learn. I expect the Avs to keep the gas pedal down and no matter what the score is.
“You want to play safe at times, sometimes it comes back to bite you, so that’s what it did tonight. We just got to stay aggressive.” said Captain Gabriel Landeskog after the Game 5 loss.
There is one little, itty-bitty thing we need to see tonight and that’s Darcy Kuemper making the “big save”. If you read Player Grades after the game, you know I’ve talked about Kuemper not being able to make that save yet. There was a moment in Game 4 when he got across the crease and stopped the puck in the final minutes but that’s really been about it. Jordan Binnington before the injury, was making some incredible saves night in and night out. He was making the Avs earn their goals. We need a similar performance from Kuemper. The team in front of him didn’t do him any favors but they can’t always score seven goals. I know Tampa Bay doesn’t play perfect games every night and Andrei Vasilevskiy has to bail them out every now and then. There comes a time in playoffs where a goalie needs to steal a game. Just stand on his head and leave the broadcaster speechless. This is a big rebound game for the team but certainly for him.
The Avs will have a second chance to eliminate the Blues on Friday after failing to get the job done in Game 5 on Wednesday. Most oddsmakers have listed Colorado as -182 road favorites in Game 6 in battle that surely won’t disappoint. For all Colorado fans, pay attention as you can collect a welcome bonus of $1,100 risk-free bet from Caesars Sportsbook this weekend, one of the best promos in the sports betting industry today.
I feel good about this game. Life’s biggest lessons comes from failures and failing to close the series out on Wednesday was a big one. I don’t think they’ll make that mistake again.
Final score prediction :