Stanley Cup Playoffs 2022: Avalanche vs. 2nd Round Preview Blues

(1C) Colorado Avalanche vs. (2C) St. Louis Blues

Avalanche: 56-19-7, 119 points; defeated the Nashville Predators 4-0 in the first round

Blues: 49-22-11, 109 points; defeated the Minnesota Wild 4-2 in the first round

Series of the season: COL 2-1-0; STL 1-2-0

Game 1: Tuesday (9:30 p.m. ET; TNT, SN, CBC, TVAS)

The Colorado Avalanche is desperate to get past the second round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. This time, it’s the St. Louis Blues who stand in his way.

The Avalanche haven’t been to a conference finals since 2002, when they lost to the Detroit Red Wings in seven games. They have lost in the second round each of the last three seasons.

The Blues are through to the second round for the first time since winning the Stanley Cup in 2019.

Colorado won the Central Division with 119 points, 10 more than St. Louis, which finished third. But the Blues went 14-4-2 in their last 20 regular-season games and eliminated the Minnesota Wild in six games in the first round.

“They’re deep; they’re extremely deep,” Avalanche coach Jared Bednar said. “The numbers prove it; 109 points, [nine] 20-goal guys, the best special teams in the league. All of it. Everything makes it a tough test.”

But Colorado was the second-best team in the regular season, finishing three points behind the Florida Panthers. The Avalanche outscored the Nashville Predators 21-7 in a four-game sweep.

“Colorado is a great team, we all know that,” St. Louis coach Craig Berube said. “They have a lot of high-level players. You’re going to have to do a lot of things right and you’re going to have to be very disciplined and stay out of the penalty area against them.”

That’s the game plan the Blues followed against the Wild, so they know how to do it. Additionally, they said they are aware of how dangerous the Avalanche can be after being swept last season in the first round by Colorado, when they were outscored 20-7.

“I think we’re a better team than last year for sure,” Blues captain. Ryan O’Reilly saying. “It’s going to be a very tough challenge for us. They’re one of the best teams in the League, if not the best, this year. It’s going to be a fun and tough challenge for us again.”

[RELATED: Complete Avalanche vs. Blues series coverage]

colorado defender Cala Makar leads the Avalanche with 10 points (three goals, seven assists), the fourth-highest total in the playoffs. gabriel landeskog he has six points (three goals, three assists), Nathan Mackinnon has scored five goals and Mikko Rantanen He has five assists.

Berube said those players provide a unique challenge because they are big, heavy forwards who can be a problem for the defence.

Goalkeeper darcy kumper he was 2-0, allowing four goals on 61 shots before suffering an eye injury in Game 3. He is expected to be ready for the start of the second round.

St. Louis forwards David PerronO’Reilly and Vladimir Tarasenko each scored five goals in the first round.

Goalkeeper jordan binnington replaced ville husso for Game 4 against Minnesota and won three straight, allowing five goals on 88 shots.

Binnington started all three regular-season games against the Avalanche, going 1-2-0 with a 3.78 GAA and an .897 save percentage.

“They’ve been getting good goalies from both guys, and if one guy struggled, the other guy came in and gave them exactly what they needed over the course of the entire season and the playoffs so far; use both guys in the first round,” Bednar said. “I can’t pinpoint anything, one singular thing. Just one guy gets hot, they ride him. If he gets cold, they go to the next guy.”

game switches

Avalanche: MacKinnon has 75 points (33 goals, 42 assists) in 54 NHL playoff games. His 1.39 points per game average is the best among active players and third all time behind Wayne Gretzky (1.84) and Mario Lemieux (1.61) among those who played at least 35 postseason games.

Blues: Tarasenko showed his ability to change the face of a game and a series with his performance in Game 5 in a 5-2 victory against Wild. The series was tied 2-2 and the game was 2-2 entering the third period before the forward scored a natural hat-trick. He has 57 points (40 goals, 17 assists) in 84 playoff games.

Video: [email protected], Gm6: Tarasenko’s ingenious power play goal

goal

Avalanche: Kuemper got off to a fast start this postseason and is expected to return after he had a .934 save percentage before an errant stick hit him in the eye in Game 3 and forced him to miss the rest of the first-class series. round. pavel francouz he had a .902 save percentage against the Predators.

Blues: Binnington has regained the title role he lost to Husso with his breakout performance against The Wild. His experience in big games (he won the Stanley Cup in 2019) served him well in the first round. Binnington went 0-4 with an .899 save percentage against the Avalanche in the playoffs last season. Husso had a shutout in his playoff debut against the Wild, but allowed nine goals in his next two starts.

numbers to know

Avalanche: 5.25 goals per game in the playoffs, the best among the 16 qualified teams. This after averaging 3.76 goals per game in the regular season, fourth best in the NHL.

Blues: Eight goals in power-play, the most in the first round. St. Louis scored at least one power play goal in each of six games against Minnesota. Colorado killed 76.9 of the power play opportunities he faced in the first round, which he ranked 11th.

Video: [email protected], Gm1: Colorado opens playoffs with 5 goals 1st

X-factors

Avalanche: Devon Toews is lost in the hype surrounding Makar, but the defender is also a force. He averaged 24:44 of ice time per game in the first round and had five points (three goals, two assists). His 15 shots tied for fourth on the team. He also sees time on the power play and the penalty.

Blues: scott perunovich he did not play until Game 4, pressured into action due to a series of defensive injuries. He hadn’t played since Jan. 15 due to a wrist injury, but stepped in right away and had three assists in three games, including two on the power play.

they said it

“They’re a different team this year and we’re a different team this year. So you can’t investigate [the sweep] last year too much because that’s in the past. We’re focused on the present and playing the St. Louis team this year and they’re a strong offensive team, very strong that we have to be prepared for.” — Devon Toews Avalanche Defense

“They have a lot of good players, we all know that. High level players with a very good D-body with Makar leading the way. You have to control well; it’s important that you try to neutralize their speed as much as possible, and individuals have to make a good job with certain players for sure. And as a team concept you have to get in there and you have to, as much as possible, be on the right side of things. I think when you look at how they score goals and the way they play , there’s a lot of odd man races, there’s a lot of misses and things like that. They separate you. And if you’re not above people and you don’t have numbers, that’s what happens.” — Blues Coach Craig Berube

You will win if…

Avalanche: They stay out of penalty trouble. The Blues want to turn this series into a special teams battle. Colorado can’t let that happen.

Blues: Binnington remains confident. He’s going to require a special performance to neutralize the high-flying Avalanche offense. Binnington is one of the goalkeepers who can do it, but only if he maintains the confidence that he showed by winning the last three games in the first round.

how they look

Avalanche Projected Lineup

Valeri Nichushkin –Nathan MacKinnon –Mikko Rantanen

Gabriel Landeskog. nazem kadriarturi lehkonen

Andre BurakovskyJT CompherNicholas Aube-Kubel

darren helmNico SturmAndrew Cogliano

Devon Toews-Cale Makar

samuel girardjoseph manson

Bowen–Byramerik johnson

darcy kumper

pavel francouz

Lined: Jack Johnson, alex newhook, Ryan Murray, Kurtis MacDermidMiska Hunter, Justus Annunen, Logan O’Connor

Injured: None

Blues Projected Lineup

brayden-schenn — Ryan O’Reilly — David Perron

pavel buchnevichRobert Thomas –Vladimir Tarasenko

brandon sadIvan BarbashevJordan Kyro

Alexei ToropchenkoTyler Bozak

nick leddycolton paraiko

Rosen Streetjustin faulk

Niko MikolaRobert Bortuzzo

scott perunovich

jordan binnington

ville husso

Lined: logan brownNathan Walker

Injured: Torey Krug (lower body), scandela frame (lower body)

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