After Colorado’s dominant 3-2 overtime win over St. Louis in Game 1 of the second round, it looked like it might be yet another quick series for the Avalanche.
But on Thursday night, the Blues played to their identity and were rewarded with a 4-1 victory in Denver. With the series headed to St. Louis for Game 3, here are some observations.
St. Louis answered the bell.
Game 1 was bad all around for the Blues. About the only thing that went right was that St. Louis scored first, and Jordan Binnington willed his team into overtime. Blues coach Craig Berube lamented the lack of compete amongst his team.
Flip it to Thursday night, and from the opening faceoff, St. Louis looked completely different. The Blues had strong puck support all over the ice and outshot the Avalanche 14-8 in the opening frame.
One of the first things I noticed was how well St. Louis was able to break out of its own zone. The Blues were patient. They avoided long stretch passes in favor of short, quick movements up ice. And the defensemen led the way. Nick Leddy and Calle Rosen were especially noticeable on zone entries for St. Louis.
Without a strong start to Game 2, the Blues would have been in trouble. Instead, they came out with plenty of energy and were able to take the fight to the Avalanche.
Game 2 evened out after the first period, but the Blues’ start was key. St. Louis was able to possess the puck in the offensive zone and wear down the Avalanche. In a complete reversal of Game 1, The Blues made Colorado defend.
Both teams juggled lines throughout the game.
Berube threw a curveball by putting Pavel Buchnevich on the top line alongside Ryan O’Reilly and David Perron to start the game. That kicked Brandan Saad down to the third line with Robert Thomas and Jordan Kyrou.