After a hard fought game on Friday night against the Carolina Hurricanes, the Colorado Avalanche headed to the “Gateway City” to duel with the St. Louis Blues. With precious points on the line, the Avs needed to play some of their best hockey of the season Saturday night against a tough Blues team. Well, it was the same ol’ song and dance with Colorado playing exceptionally well but coming up a goal short in the extra frame.
Colorado drew first blood by scoring off of a face-off win to the right of Blues net minder Brian Elliot. David Van der Gulik won the draw and got the puck back to Shane O’Brien who fired a shot from the top of the faceoff circle. The puck found a path through a slew of bodies and rang off the far post past Elliot to give Colorado the early one goal advantage.
The next two goals both came from the stick of David Perron. Both goals also came while the Blues were on the power play. This has been a recurring theme for the Avs throughout the season. When they are a man down, or even two like they found themselves with Perron’s second goal, Colorado struggles to prevent their opponent from capitalizing on the man advantage.
Perron’s first goal beat Semyon Varlamov on the short side on what was a very soft shot. The puck seemed to inch its way between Varly’s pillows and blocker to barely trickle across the goal line. The second power play goal came four minutes later when St. Louis cycled the puck very well in their zone, enjoying a two-man advantage, when Perron finally let a quick wrist shot go from the slot that found the back of the net.
Keeping with the work ethic of the Avalanche, Erik Johnson scored with less than a minute left in the first period with a canon blast from the left point to tie game at two goals. In recent games, Colorado has found ways to score in the waning moments of a period. This is a momentum killer for opposing teams and a huge momentum boost for the Avs.
Even riding the momentum boost, that would conclude the scoring in the regularly scheduled playing time. Varly and Elliot made some incredible saves in the second and third periods keeping their respective clubs in the game.
So it was off to overtime again for the Avalanche. Friday night the Avs pulled out a victory with 1.2 seconds left thanks to O’Reilly’s risky poke check. Saturday, however, would not go Colorado’s way. 3:18 into the extra session, Blues defenseman Carlo Colaiacovo let an innocent looking shot go from the top of the slot. The shot handcuffed Varlamov and arrived at the back of the net securing the game for St. Louis.
Gaining one point last night, the Avalanche now find themselves sitting in the #10 spot in the West, only two points out of eighth. The next three games are on the road as Colorado gets a picturesque tour of Canada starting in Vancouver on Tuesday. The Avs then go to Edmonton and finish their Canadian road trip against the Jets in Winnipeg. These next three games will be a great test of fortitude for Colorado. The Avalanche need to get at least three points on their northern exposure excursion to keep the #8 playoff spot in their sights.
- (L) Perron STL
- (L) Porter STL
- (R) Crombeen STL
-Note: Varlamov stopped 41 shots despite Colorado’s losing efforts.
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