We are almost set for the conference finals as really there is only one series, Rangers vs. Hurricanes, looking like it’s going to go the distance. Tonight the Avalanche are back home with a chance to finish off the down-and-out Blues missing their starting goalie Jordan Binnington, who is out for the remainder of the series.
Things got ugly last game as we saw the Blues more worried about fighting and taking out their frustrations on the Avalanche and Nazem Kadri than trying to even up the series. Kadri got the best kind of revenge by scoring three times as the Avalanche took a commanding 3-1 lead in the series coming back home to Denver. Will the Avalanche close this series out at home or will the Blues force a Game 6? We all know the answer to that so why not make some money off of it?
The Avalanche have lost just six times at home in regulation all season. Only 6 times! That is what we call a home ice edge and when you have a chance to win on your home ice and make it to the Western Conference finals for the first time in twenty years you know what you have to do. Add to the fact they’re facing a team with a backup goalie, this adds up to a pretty clear advantage for the Avs tonight.
When you poke the bear so to speak you better be ready for the consequences. The Blues poked a bear last game and they got what was coming as Kadri said it best, “It started with their head coach, probably. He made some comments that I wasn’t a fan of,” continuing, “I guess he’s never heard of bulletin-board material.”
The Blues are so mad about losing Binnington that they clearly had their heads in a different place as they got outshot by 16 and if it weren’t for a few late power play goals the Blues were never in the game. Likewise, getting outscored 11 to 5 at home doesn’t bode well for this team who goes on the road tonight facing the best home ice team in the league.
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The Avalanche did lose key defenseman Samuel Girard to injury, which will affect them tonight and in the next series should they make it. However, they did have a few other guys step in to try and fill that void. This game and series comes down to the fact the Avalanche offense is clicking while the Blues checked out when Binnington went down.
Their play in Game 4 hinted at them being mentally out of it and just playing out the string so to speak. It looks like the Blues have no confidence in goalie Ville Husso and we don’t blame them, as he gave up 4 goals on 23 shots in Game 3 in relief and 5 goals on 36 shots in Game 4. He has lost his last four games and has given up 22 goals. This series is over. The only question is how many goals does Colorado win by tonight.
Instead of worrying if they win by more than one we will trust the Avalanche to win this game in regulation with a fair line of -140 (excl. OT). This team has shown us enough and getting the extra rest is very important before the next round. Look for the Blues to be singing the Blues as this series ends and the players who have already checked out will officially check out and go home to pack for the last time.
The Avalanche will move on for the first time in 20 years to the conference finals, making GM Joe Sakic extremely happy as he was on that team twenty years ago (they lost in seven). Look for the Avalanche to pile it on tonight on TNT for your viewing pleasure and for your wallet.
Blues vs. Avalanche Game 5 Pick: Avalanche 3-Way Moneyline (in regulation, excl. OT) | -145 at BetMGM