Avalanche sweep Blues, advance to second round

  

The Colorado Avalanche defeated the St. Louis Blues 5-2 Sunday to sweep the series and advance to the second round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. It wasn’t the best game of the series for Colorado, but the broadcasters on Altitude TV mentioned the team was rolling all four lines despite a regular season feel. But for some reason, there wasn’t much desperation for it being an elimination game.

Regardless, the game came down to the wire with the Blues trying their hardest to push the series to a fifth game. Unfortunately for them, it was too hard to stop the Colorado Avalanche who proved to be the better team.

First Period

Mark Rycroft of Altitude TV was asked before the game how we will know if the Avalanche are on track to win the game? His response was, “Tape to tape passes versus Tommy turnovers in the first ten minutes of the game.”

The pace was slow to start the period with both teams feeling each other out. The Avalanche did have some close chances, but none went in. Blues forward Ryan O’Reilly had an opportunity to try and bank the puck off of Avalanche goaltender Philipp Grubauer’s shoulder, but Grubauer made a great save to keep the Blues off the scoreboard.

Similar to in game one, Coach Bednar called for short shifts, trying to get the momentum going. Alex Newhook took a big hit from a Blues defenseman and slid into the boards looking like he injured his back. He slowly made it to the bench then left for the dressing room to not return.

Late in the period, Ryan O’Reilly put the puck on net and Grubauer missed it as he was screened. But Ryan Graves saved the day again, just as he had in game one. The first penalty of the game came when Mikko Rantanen was called for tripping St. Louis forward Vladimir Tarasenko with two minutes left in the period. The Blues weren’t able to capitalize and the period ended with no score with shots on goal nine for Colorado and four for St. Louis.

Second Period

The Avalanche started the second period with time to kill on the penalty and they did that successfully. With 15:35 remaining in the period, Tarasenko sprung loose on a breakaway and scored the first goal of the game.  It was the first lead of the series for St. Louis.

Nearly halfway through the period and the shots on goal were the Avalanche 16 and Blues 9.

With 8:23 remaining, Cale Makar found Brandon Saad in the slot on the powerplay who let a wrist shot go and it hit the back of the net tying the game at one. Philipp Grubauer had passed the puck out to Cale Makar who then sent the puck to Saad, so Grubauer registered his first assist for the Playoffs.

That goal gave the Avalanche the momentum they needed when three minutes later Gabe Landeskog tipped in a Samuel Girard shot to give the Avalanche the lead.

Third Period

Brandon Saad was interviewed in the second intermission and when asked what the Avalanche needed to do in the third period he responded with “Keep it simple. The only chances they get are the ones we give them.”

The third period was going to be make or break time for the Blues. Avalanche players were peppering the net with good shots and at one point Jordan Binnington was laying on the puck as it was the only way to stop the Avalanche from scoring.

The commentators noted that at this point in the series that Connor Timmins and Patrik Nemeth were the only two Avalanche players without points on the entire team. That shows the depth of this team.

Mikko Rantanen silenced the crowd at Enterprise Center when he put the Avs in front 3-1 on a beautiful pass from Nathan MacKinnon.

With just under two minutes remaining in the period, the Blues pulled Binnington. Not long after that Nathan MacKinnon was hit with a high stick and a double minor was called that sealed the game for the Avalanche.

This, of course, put Colorado on the power play but with the empty net, it remained five on five hockey as the Blues put an extra attacker on the ice. This didn’t stop the Avalanche’s Nathan MacKinnon from scoring the first of two empty-net goals, with the second by Valeri Nichuchskin with only two seconds remaining.

The final score was 5-2 giving the Avalanche the first round sweep.

Gabriel Landeskog in his post-game interview said “Our defensive game is what’s gonna get us through. It was tonight.”

Center Ice Forums Avalanche sweep Blues, advance to second round

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