The St. Louis Blues take on the Colorado Avalanche tonight for the third time this season. They are in dire need of a good performance, not just for playoff seeding but for their morale.
The St. Louis Blues are in dire need of a feel good performance. That might be hard to come by given their opponent has been playing good hockey.
It’s amazing how one game can sour your perception of recent events. It’s easy to forget that the Blues just defeated the Colorado Avalanche on January 25, the middle game of a three game win streak where the Blues scored nine goals.
February has not been as kind though. St. Louis is 1-2-0 and only scored four goals, three of which came in losses.
It’s that disgusting performance against Minnesota that sticks in the craw though. The Wild are playing well and deserve credit for their performance, but the Blues should be beyond getting shellacked in such a fashion.
Apparently they are not. Despite the Blues need for a big turnaround, Colorado might not be the team to face at the moment.
We’ll get into their particulars in a moment, but Colorado is fighting for points. They just defeated San Jose a couple nights ago.
On top of that, the Blues have lost their ability to hold home ice. Of all the current playoff teams, only Calgary has a worse home record than St. Louis in the conference.
We’ve said this in the past and it rarely seems to happen. However, St. Louis is beyond roster changes and line tweaks. They need their players to dig their head from between their cheeks and play the way they can play.
Know Thy Enemy
The Colorado Avalanche are coming off an impressive win over San Jose on February 6. They won by a score of 3-1 against the second best team in the Pacific Division.
It should be noted that game was in Denver where the Avs are 19-7-1. Tonight’s game is clearly not in Denver and that might bode well for the Blues.
Colorado is 10-12-3 away from home and St. Louis has to take advantage of that. However, the 18-11-0 mark for the Blues at home does not instill confidence.
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The Avalanche are slightly better than the Blues over their last 10. They come in at 6-3-1, gaining one extra point than St. Louis over the same span.
Colorado has a better offense than the Blues do right now. They’ve scored 12 more goals having played three fewer games. The Avs also have seven players with double-digit goals, compared to five for the Blues.
Defense is where Colorado struggles. They’ve allowed ten more goals than the Blues.
Their goaltending can be good on nights and questionable on others. The Avs are running a true dual-goalie system with both guys having played 27 games. Their numbers are much closer to Jake Allen’s and many Blues fans are not happy with the Snake’s stats, though they could be much worse with how the team has played.
The Blues are 6-4-0 in their last ten, but it’s been a roller coaster. They won three straight to end January, got whipped by Boston, squeaked by Buffalo and then got crushed by Minnesota. To paraphrase Forrest Gump, you never know what you’re gonna get.
For their part, St. Louis has done well in this series. They’re 2-0 this season and 6-0-1 over the last two seasons. The Blues scored a total of seven goals in their two wins against the Avs as well.
The problem the Blues have is they seem to play to their opponent’s record. Instead of crushing opponents that are beneath them in the standings, they seem to think those teams will roll over and get rolled in the process.
It’s an odd lineup, but you knew there would be changes. The goaltender part puzzles me.
I’m fine playing Hutton to give him some redemption. However, that likely means throwing Allen to the wolves against Winnipeg tomorrow.
Where To Watch
Fox Sports Midwest or Altitude
Fox Sports Go, NHL.tv (subscriber fee)
KMOX, KMOX.com, Blues app
The puck drops, as usual, a little after 7 pm Central Time.
I’ve had a mixed bag of late with these. February has not been nice to my predictions or the Blues.
I think the Blues do show a little pride and win, but not in the convincing fashion we’d like. I think a 4-3 win seems likely since the offense will probably show up but the defending will not.
Additionally, the Blues know they have a game tomorrow night as well. Sadly, they tend to attempt leaving something in the tank for the next night and that often hurts them in the current game. Hopefully we see a motivated club, one way or the other.