The St. Louis Blues may have left everything until the end of the season, due to their ups and downs. Still, they have everything to play for in their final game of the 2017-18 regular season.
These sorts of things happen all the time in baseball and occasionally in other sports. St. Louis Blues fans are not accustomed to waiting until the final day of the season to know their fate.
For the past six seasons, the Blues have always been comfortably in a playoff spot by this point in the season. Normally, they were jockeying for home ice advantage or even the Presidents Trophy
Due to some extreme highs and lows, no we are not talking about the crazy weather, the Blues have left everything until the very end of the season. Now, it comes down to one final game against the Colorado Avalanche to determine who faces Nashville in the first round and who gets out the golf clubs.
St. Louis will have a small advantage in tonight’s game. By winning in Chicago last night, they now only need a point. So, as long as the Blues can force the game into overtime, they will make the playoffs. A loss in regulation sends them home, but any other result puts the Blues in the playoffs.
Know Thy Foe
Colorado has normally been a tough customer for the Blues. This season has been different as every game has been decided by two or more goals except for one.
The Avalanche, theoretically, have some momentum going into this game. The last time these two teams faced each other, the Avs won 4-1 on March 15.
Colorado is coming off a devastating loss, however. They fell 4-2 to San Jose in their last game, which made today’s game a must-win in regulation for the Avs.
The Avalanche are 42-30-9 this season, one point behind the Blues with 93 points. They are 4-5-1 in their last 10, which is not great, but they are 27-11-2 on home ice.
Colorado’s offense has carried them this season. If they were to miss the playoffs, and that’s a big if, they would have the second most goals scored of any team not in the postseason. Only the Islanders would have scored more.
Jonathan Bernier is no slouch with a 2.87 goals against and a .912 save percentage. He is 4-8-0 lifetime against St. Louis though and 0-3-0 this season.
The Blues are up against it in Denver, given the Avalanche’s home record. One of those 11 losses did come to St. Louis however, as the Blues won 4-3 back in October.
St. Louis enters this game a point ahead and two ahead in the in column. St. Louis has a record of 44-31-6. Even with a loss, the Blues would have more regulation wins, but their inability to get games into overtime has cost them precious points this year.
St. Louis has had decent luck in Denver in recent history though. The Blues are 4-1-1 in their last six games against the Avs in the Mile High City.
Despite an outcry of fan dissent, the Blues will be starting Jake Allen tonight, barring any last minute changes. Allen is 6-3-2 lifetime against Colorado.
Professional athletes are creatures of habit. So, last night’s game in Chicago may have helped out more than just winning the game. Since the game was at 7:30, their schedule moved back a half hour from normal. That puts their pregame prep much closer to the 8 pm start in Colorado, which makes it less of a shock to the system.
Projected Lineup: Check back this afternoon, but other than Allen, it should look pretty similar to last night’s lineup.
Where To Watch
Fox Sports Midwest, Altitude, NHL Network
Fox Sports Go, NHL.tv (subscriber fee)
KMOX, KMOX.com, Blues app
The puck drops on tonight’s game at 8 pm Central Time.
As a fan, there is no way to go against the St. Louis Blues in this one. You have to believe they can win if you want to believe they can do anything in the postseason.
As an objective analyst, or trying to be, the Avs have every reason to win this game as well. That could make for an intense, nail bitter of a game.
For some reason, I just don’t see it working out that way. Regardless of who wins, I have a feeling someone will jump out to a lead and just stay there.
I hope it is the Blues. Colorado is missing their best goaltender and one of their best defensemen.
We had that same scenario just a couple days ago with Chicago and it did not work out so well. Admittedly, that was due to some poor goaltending.
So, as much as I hate the idea and usually think it is over-simplistic, this game may boil down to Jake Allen. If he plays well, the team has been doing well enough they should win. If he falters, the Blues may likely fall with him.
It’s a shame this team has been inconsistent enough for it to come down to one game. It should make for an entertaining night, however.