St. Louis Blues on the brink of elimination in Game 4 vs. Avalanche

St. Louis BluesMandatory Credit: Jeff Le-USA TODAY Sports
St. Louis BluesMandatory Credit: Jeff Le-USA TODAY Sports /

The St. Louis Blues look to avoid being swept by the Colorado Avalanche in Game 4 of their first-round playoff series on Sunday. The Blues, missing the team’s regular-season points leader David Perron, have displayed major offensive woes through their first three postseason games and have lost all three games to the Avalanche by at least three goals. After putting together a three-game win streak and defeating the Minnesota Wild, 7-3 to finish their regular-season, St. Louis hit a brick wall and find themselves on the brink of elimination just four games into their 2021 Stanley Cup run. Sunday offers an opportunity to turn things around and spark a streak that would mark the first time in franchise history the team comes back from 3-0 down in a series.

The Blues need their offense to show up from the very start of the game. Too often St. Louis has a weak start to the game, fall behind early and are unable to catch up when they finally build momentum. If the Blues can pot some early goals, they might be able to change the pattern that seems to keep repeating itself and play a full 60 minutes of strong hockey. St. Louis has yet to score the first goal against the Avalanche this postseason, so getting that big first tally could also give the team a huge boost.

After three games, not a single player on the Blues has scored more than one goal, and only three players have at least two points; nobody has three. Ryan O’Reilly, Mike Hoffman, Brayden Schenn and Jordan Kyrou, who make up four of the top-five points leaders from St. Louis’ regular-season, have just one point thus far. If the offense can’t wake up on Sunday and play postseason-caliber hockey, it may be time for them to hit the golf course.

Jordan Binnington is expected to start in net for the Blues. After posting a .939 save percentage (SV%) in Game 1, he’s been left out to dry with a .879 SV% and .840 SV% in Games 2 and 3, respectively. The team needs to rally around their goaltender, who is putting everything he’s got into giving St. Louis a fighting chance against a highly-talented Avalanche side. Binnington has a knack for clutch performances, so we’ll see if he’s got another up his sleeve for Sunday.

The puck drops at Enterprise Center on Friday at 4:00 p.m. CT.

As per, the Blues’ projected lineup against the Avalanche is as follows:

Ivan Barbashev – Ryan O’Reilly – Jordan Kyrou

Jaden Schwartz – Brayden Schenn – Vladimir Tarasenko

Mike Hoffman – Tyler Bozak – Robert Thomas

Kyle Clifford – Zach Sanford – Sammy Blais

Marco Scandella – Colton Parayko

Torey Krug – Steven Santini

Niko Mikkola – Mitch Reinke

Jordan Binnington

Ville Husso

Scratched: Jake Walman, Klim Kostin, Dakota Joshua, Mackenzie MacEachern, Jacob de la Rose, Austin Poganski, Joel Hofer, Jon Gillies, Tyler Tucker

Injured: Justin Faulk (upper body), Robert Bortuzzo (upper body), Vince Dunn (upper body)

COVID-19 protocol: David Perron, Nathan Walker