The Colorado Avalanche are one of the best home teams in the NHL. Coming off an eight-day break they came out and continued their home dominance in Game 1, beating the Blues 3-2 in OT, in a game that, at times, never quite felt as close as the score suggested.
That helped continue a ridiculous run of 55-11 in their last 66 home games (an astounding 35-5 this season) including being perfect so far in the playoffs. The Avalanche face the St Louis Blues tonight in Game 2 in Colorado on TNT.
Colorado got off 54 shots in Game 1, the most they have attempted so far in the playoffs. It’s also the most the Blues have given up. Despite that they could only manage two measly goals in regulation due to an incredible performance from Blues goalie Jordan Binnington.
Where’s the Offense?
Looking back on the regular season, these teams have clearly proven they have firepower, both ranking in the top 5 in the league offensively. For Colorado, that performance was driven by their star players. Mikko Rantanen (92 points), Nathan McKinnon (88 points), Nazim Kadri (87 points), and their young superstar defenseman Cale Makar (86 points) have been the primary contributors all season long. However, in Game 1 none of the 3 goals scored by the Avs came from those listed above.
When you have that kind of firepower and you are scoreless and playing at home that means one thing: these guys are going to be fired up tonight to get on the score sheet, especially after watching 15 goals combined from the other Western Conference playoff game.
These teams met three times in the regular season and those games saw 8, 7, and 8 goals. Looking at their previous round playoff performances, the Blues had 15 goals in the last three games against Minnesota and the Avalanche scored 21 goals against Nashville with two games of 7 goals.
The Avalanche felt they should have had more goals in Game 1 and recognized the incredible performance Binnington put on. “Their goalie played good for them,” said Avs winger Gabriel Landeskog, who assisted on the game-winner in OT. “He made some saves that we felt like we had empty nets and he stuck a leg out or a hand out or whatever. He played really well.” The main question around Game 2 is how long can Binnington keep up this current run of form?
Can the Blues do enough in Game 2?
We can’t totally forget about the Blues, though. They did everything required of them to stay in this game and try and steal a one in Colorado, including taking advantage of a Power Play late in the third period to tie the game and force overtime.
The Blues have lost eight straight games to the Avalanche in the playoffs over two the past two decades so the players and their fan base is eager to get one on the board against this Colorado team. The Blues still have quite a few players on the team from their 2019 Stanley Cup winning season, so they look to lean on that playoff experience coming off of a tough OT loss.
With both teams coming off bad offensive performances, we expect these two typically high scoring teams to get back to their scoring ways tonight in an all-important Game 2. With the total set at 6.5 goals, we like the over at -130 at Caesars. This game should have at least 7-8 goals and would not be surprised if they get 9 tonight. Take the over in 6.5 in Game 2 and let’s start with an easy winner on the ice tonight in Colorado.