The St. Louis Blues stopped the Colorado Avalanche cold in their tracks Thursday night at Scottrade Center, netting four 2nd period goals in a 7-3 thumping of the visitors. The Blues countered the speed of the Avalanche with brute force as three fights broke out in the 2nd, all decisive St. Louis victories as well. Alexander Steen scored a pair of goals, Jay Bouwmeester notched his first of the season, and Jaroslav Halak stopped 21 of 23 shots in the win.
The St. Louis power-play was firing on all cylinders Thursday night and the Blues scored first for the 10th time this season when Derek Roy beautifully deflected in a shot by TJ Oshie in the 1st. Colorado tied it up 1-1 only a few minutes later with a power-play goal of their own, and it looked like we might have a tightly contested battle between the top two winning percentages in the Western Conference. The Blues had other ideas.
Power-play goals from David Backes and Chris Stewart, Steen’s goal and another by Vladi Tarasenko rocketed the Blues to a 5-1 lead by the 14:39 mark of the 2nd frame, chasing Jean-Sebastien Giguere for backup Avalanche goalie Semyon Varlamov, though Giguere returned in the 3rd after Varlamov allowed 2 goals on 6 shots.
After the offensive outburst by the Blues, the Avs were understandably in a sour mood, though they couldn’t have made poorer choices than picking fights with some of the St. Louis heavy hitters. Stewie earned an extra 2-minutes for unsportsmanlike conduct in destroying Cory Sarich near center ice and Vladimir Sobotka literally pounded Matt Duchene into submission along the end boards, all leading up to the title bout between Ryan Reaves and Cody McLeod. I don’t think McLeod knew what he was getting himself into.
Steen’s 2nd tally- his league-leading 16th of the season- came just 2 minutes into the 3rd but the Avs wouldn’t simply roll over and go away quietly. The teams traded goals through the remainder of the game as Duchene, apparently recovered from the beating he received from Sobie, scored minutes later, Bouwmeester wristed a seeing-eye puck through traffic at 8:36, and then Ryan O’Reilly closed out the scoring for Colorado at 11:06. Things got especially chippy in the final 2 minutes with two Colorado players receiving misconducts during multiple scrums along the boards.
The win was a loud statement by the Blues that one, they can bounce back from a poor outing and two, that Colorado, as hot as they’ve been to start the season, need to keep their head on a swivel as Winter progresses. The Avs still sit a point head of St. Louis in the standings, but the Blues aren’t going away and have a game in hand.
As a final note, Ian Cole continued to fill-in nicely for the injured Jordan Leopold who is out 8-weeks with a hand injury. With the addition of veteran Carlo Colaiacovo Cole may see some time in press box again, but he’s definitely playing himself into the lineup. St. Louis returns to the Scottrade ice tomorrow night for another Eastern match-up, this time against the Carolina Hurricanes.
GO BLUES! LONG LIVE THE NOTE!