The St. Louis Blues handed the Avs a crushing loss on Tuesday night in a game they won 3-1. The loss put the Avs behind 5 points to the Wild who handily beat the Blackhawks on the same night. For the Avs playoff hopes it was absolutely imperative that the Wild lose an that the Avalanche won, or at the very least that the Avs won to keep pace. Neither of those things happened and the Avs are once again falling out of the playoff race.
The first period started the story of night for the Avalanche as they went onto the power play less than 2 minutes into the first. It didn’t take the Blues long to convert the power play to a goal. David Backes scored his 20th of the season and put the Blues up 1-0 early in the first. The Blue continued to push the pace and control the game for much of the period.
The Avs would come back in the first to tie the game on a slick play by Tyson Barrie. Mikhail Grigorenko would take the pass from Barrie and shot it into the open net for the easy goal. It was just about the only scoring chance the Avs had in the first and they executed it well to earn some momentum going into the second period.
The second period was much of the same from the Blues as they dominated for most of the period. Another power play goal for the Blues from Troy Brouwer put them ahead for good, but just for safe measure Vladimir Tarasenko put one away to put the Blues ahead 3-1. Tarasenko scored the goal on an easy giveaway from Chris Bigras who tried to pass the puck but couldn’t put anything on it as it went on its edge.
The Avalanche came out with some energy and desperation in the third period and outshot the Blues 10-3, but none of the 10 shots found the back of the net and the Avs lost the game. Overall, the Blues early domination and possession eliminated any chance that Avs had of winning this game. The Avalanche only got 11 shots in the first two periods and simply could not get anything going. Missing Duchene and MacKinnon, along with playing the night before, certainly played into the game, but a team in the position of the Avs needed to play with desperation and they just couldn’t score when they needed it or make the stops.
The Avalanche get a couple of days off before playing the best team in the league, the Washington Capitals, on Friday night. The game could see Duchene or MacKinnon back, and it is an absolute must win for the Avalanche if they want any hope for the playoffs. This season is essentially over though and the coaches should focus on getting Zadorov and Bigras quality minutes in hopes of preparing them for a hopeful next season playoff run.