St. Louis Blues Pros/Cons 2022 Playoff Game 5 Vs Colorado Avalanche

The St. Louis Blues knew they had little margin for error in Game 5 against the Colorado Avalanche after a poor Game 4. It was win or go home and the Blues needed to be at their best from the start.

It seemed like the Blues were going to be just that. They had three quick chances on goal and Darcy Kuemper was giving up rebounds like crazy.

St. Louis couldn’t cash in during the first three minutes and it was all for naught. Despite the offensive pressure, the Avs got a three-on-two and Nathan MacKinnon knocked in his first of the series just before the four minute mark.

The Blues managed to keep at it. Vladimir Tarasenko had a good chance minutes later, in what could’ve been his final Blues game, but there was no goal and nobody there for the rebound.

St. Louis got a power play about nine minutes in. Kuemper made a couple big saves and Ville Husso had to make a great sliding, short handed save.

It seemed like the Blues would get to the locker room down 1-0, but the Avs goaded them into a late penalty. Colorado ended up with the expected power play goal to make it 2-0.

Things came unraveled afterward. Brayden Schenn took a stupid cross checking penalty immediately after the goal, though the Blues did get to the break only down by two.

The Blues got an early second period power play, but it might have been their most useless of the series. After an icing call, the Avs won the faceoff and scored via a tip off a shot from the point to make it 3-0.

Later in the period, the Avs got a power play when Niko Mikkola was called for a high stick on a follow through, which is not a penalty, but reviews aren’t allowed on minors. Fortunately, St. Louis killed that off.

The Blues got yet another power play shortly after that. It went by the wayside too making them 0-3.

Just when it seemed hope was fading, Tarasenko stepped up. He unleashed his patented wrister and scored to make it 3-1 with around five minutes to go in the second.

They could not get another late one. At least that Tarasenko snipe gave them, and the fan base, some hope.

That score also highlighted the lack of power play goals and the importance of that third Colorado goal.

Time was the enemy of the Blues. It kept ticking away, but finally Robert Thomas scored one with 10 minutes left to make it 3-2. Hopeful fans were asking if it might be enough to continue a comeback.

The Blues kept up the momentum and kept pressing. After a bit of a push and scramble, the fourth line finally chipped in, though Justin Faulk scored, to tie it 3-3.

Unfortunately, it’s hard to stop a man on a mission. MacKinnon went coast to coast and stuck a dagger in the Blues for a hat trick and 4-3 score.

This game just would not quit. The Blues pulled the goalie and kept the Avs in the zone. Tarasenko snapped one from the goal line and Thomas knocked it in with 56 seconds left.

The worry, as always, is that the next shot could end the game and, in the Blues case, the season. Colorado and the Blues went back and forth in the first couple minutes of overtime, but there was a feeling this one could last awhile.

Tyler Bozak was having none of that. He wanted to get home to his wife and her margaritas apparently, because he scored the overtime winner before four minutes had been played.

St. Louis won in improbable fashion. Now, fans in St. Louis will get at least one more home game at the Enterprise Center after a 5-4 win.

Pros: Third period

In the second half of the game, the Blues were the better team. Maybe the Avalanche let their foot off the gas, but it does not matter.

St. Louis took advantage, whether they were the better team on their own or if the Avs took their eye off the ball. No matter the reason, the Blues had to create and they did.

The Blues outshot Colorado in the third period 10-5. Other than that unbelievable individual effort by MacKinnon, the Blues dominated Colorado in that final 20 minutes of regulation.

In the first few minutes, the Blues would not let the Avalanche out of their own zone. It was a dictionary example of turning the tables on Colorado.

The Blues have been kept in their own zone for so much of this series – Game 4 in particular. It was nice to give Colorado some of their own medicine.

The ability to not hang your head after that fourth goal was amazing too. You battle back and fight so hard to score three. It was a fun period of hockey.

Cons: Power play

The more this game went on, the power play’s inability to score seemed like it was going to be the main reason the Blues did not win. They were given opportunities and could not get it done.

The worrying thing was that Colorado gave the Blues some looks. St. Louis was moving the puck reasonably well, at times, but they didn’t get anything going.

Kuemper made a save here or there, but the power play was not all that powerful.

0-3 doesn’t sound bad and, considering how good the unit has been, it’s a blip. When your season is on the line, you need to get those big goals and make your opponent pay for going into the box.

When the game was 3-1 and getting later, it just felt like the lack of power play goals was going to cost St. Louis.

Pros: Thomas

As fans, we love to find the guys we think have not performed up to their standards. Jordan Kyrou had been that player for me, but for many fans it was Robert Thomas and I have no argument there.

Thomas had been a non factor against Colorado for four games. He was getting top-line minutes and just not contributing anything or getting some bad luck.

It seemed like that was going to continue. Thomas looked better, but was not getting any bounces, even hitting the post early on.

The positive sign was that Thomas was taking the opportunity to get shots. He ended up leading the team with six shots on goal and was the leader in shots before he scored that game-tying goal too.

Thomas was not elite in the way we want stars to be, but he was justifying the position the team has regularly put him in – a top center. Just when we were most critical of the guy, he put the team on his shoulders.

He did it in ways we are unaccustomed to. We aren’t used to him being down low, up against the net, but that’s where he was to cash in on Tarasenko’s shot and tie it 4-4.

His first and the team’s second was another uncommon goal. It was a great individual effort by Buchnevich, but Thomas had to get in a soft area between the defense and have his stick in the right area.

It was a wonderful time for this guy to step up when the team needed him most.

Pros: Husso

This wasn’t the finest game we’ve seen from Ville Husso in his career. He won’t be happy with his save percentage, nor giving up four goals.

That said, it was a good bounce back effort after Game 4. Husso was not the main reason the Blues won, but he was part of that entire team effort.

When the Blues started facing adversity in the first period, Husso kept them in it. He wasn’t getting much luck with the bounces and deflections against him, but he kept it 2-0 in the first when it could have been out of reach, especially with the silly late penalties.

The stats aren’t sparkling, but Husso still made 30 saves. The shot totals dwindled late in the game, but that’s still a good performance, overall.

Husso will need to be as good, or better, in Game 6. He got the win here and it may have been the biggest of his career to this point.

Overview

What a game this ended up being. No offense, but even as a fan that never gives up, hope was low at 3-0 against and anyone that tells you they had not given up is boasting.

I got a little hope when Vladi scored. 3-1 going into the third period is a decent start to give yourself a shot.

When the game got halfway through the third, the heart began sinking again. Then, Buchnevich drives in like a bull and Thomas dinks one in and it was game on.

St. Louis just kept pressing and kept driving at the Avalanche, putting doubt in their heads. That Faulk goal was reminiscent to the emotion against the San Jose Sharks following the hand pass game, though in a completely different situation. It was still big.

When MacKinnon scored, as said above, it felt like the dagger. Yes, there plenty of time, but it just felt like that was the final nail and it was the moment MacKinnon staked his claim on the league’s best player.

The Blues said “hold my beer.” Not to keep the focus on 2019, but that Thomas goal felt like the reverse of the Maroon finisher against Dallas.

Instead of Thomas just missing out, he got the finish. Tarasenko had the balls to take a shot from a tight angle and got rewarded with the assist on a gigantic goal. Guess we should’ve traded him, right?

Of course, this game doesn’t quite have the significance of those. St. Louis only got their second win of the series and are still in elimination games for Game 6 and a potential Game 7.

However, to have the guts and will to force it back to St. Louis just shows how good this team can be when they’re at their best. The funny/sad thing is that the Blues can be even better.

Don’t fall down 3-0 and give yourself a shot to win it in regulation. But that battle back and ability to finish it off instead of letting that emotion be popped like a balloon was simply fantastic.