The NHL is back and set up with a great Friday night of hockey. Five games will be up on the board throughout January 15. One of these games will be between the St. Louis Blues and the Colorado Avalanche. These two teams will meet in the second game of a back to back in this one. This matchup will drop the puck at around 9:00 PM Eastern time on EPSN+.
St. Louis finished out last season with a record of 42-19-10, which put them in first place of the Central Division. The Blues were eliminated in the first round by the Vancouver Canucks. St. Louis came out strong to open up this season with a win on Wednesday night. The Blues will look to earn a second win over Colorado on Friday night.
The Avalanche earned a record of 42-20-8 throughout last season, which had them in second place of the Central Division. Colorado knocked out the Arizona Coyotes in the first round of the playoffs, but lost in seven games to the Dallas Stars. The Avalanche got hit hard by injuries throughout the playoff last season and will look to come out strong this season.
These two teams are battling it out at the top of the West this season. St. Louis was able to earn a big win to open up the season, but I expect the Avalanche to come out strong in this one. The Blues are looking to come out hot and dominate this season though after a surprising first round exit. I expect another tight game between these two on January 15.
The Blues and the Avalanche met up five times throughout last season. The first two games were in St. Louis. Nathan MacKinnon and Mikko Rantanen both had a goal and an assist through those two games, but it was not enough. Vladimir Tarasenko had a goal and two assists in the first game, while David Perron had a hat trick in the second game. The Blues won the first two games 3-1 and 5-2.
The third and fourth game of the season series shifted to Colorado. Alex Pietrangelo had four points through those two games, while Ryan O’Reilly had three points. Samuel Girard and Nathan MacKinnon had four points in the third game. Andre Burakovsky, Ian Cole and Nathan MacKinnon all had two points in the fourth game. The Avalanche won 7-3 and 5-3 to tie up the season series.
The final game of the season series came in the bubble in the round robin games. David Perron opened up the scoring in the game with a power play goal in the first. Ryan Graves and Nazem Kadri each scored a goal for the Avalanche in the third period. Philipp Grubauer stopped 31 of 32 shots against him as Colorado earned a 2-1 win.
The first meeting of this season’s series was on Wednesday night. Andre Burakovsky opened up the scoring for the Avalanche, but that was it for Colorado. Oskar Sundqvist scored two goals, while Robert Thomas had two assists. Jordan Binnington turned away 26 of 27 shots as St. Louis rattled off four straight goals to win 4-1.
St. Louis had a dangerous power play throughout last season, but were average on the penalty kill. The Blues scored on 24.3 percent of their power plays throughout last season. St. Louis also killed off 79.3 percent of the penalties against them. To open up this season, the Blues went 0-2 on the power play and 1-4 on the penalty kill.
The Avalanche were around middle of the league on the power play and penalty kill last season. Colorado was able to score on 46-241 of their power plays, which was a 19.1 percent. The Avalanche gave up 39 goals on 210 power play opportunities, which is 81.4 percent penalty kill rate. Colorado found a way to score on the power play in the first game and will look to do so again.
These two teams will both look to get going on special teams early in this season. The Blues could not score on their two power play chances on opening night, while the Avalanche opened up the scoring on the power play. Colorado will look to capitalize on the power play again in this one, while St. Louis will look to improve on Friday night.
Jordon Binnington will likely get the nod in the crease for the Blues in this one. Binnington put up a record of 30-13-7 throughout his starts last season. He has put up a save percentage of .912 and a 2.56 GAA through those games. Binnington stopped 26 of 27 shots in the opening night game for a save percentage of .963.
Philipp Grubauer will likely get the start in the net for Colorado on Friday night. Grubauer had a strong performance throughout last season. He earned a record of 18-12-4 throughout the season. In those games, Grubauer had a .916 save percentage and a GAA of 2.63. On opening night, Grubauer turned away 28 of 32 shots for a .875 save percentage.
Binnington had a much better performance on opening night for the Blues. Grubauer had a bit of a tough performance and will look to clean it up in this one. Binnington shut down the Avalanche’s dangerous offense. Colorado will look to break through on Binnington in this one. If the Avalanche can break down St. Louis’ defense, it will give them a good chance to score more in this one.
The Avalanche are coming into this one after a tough loss on Wednesday night. I expect Colorado to come out quicker in this one. The Avalanche could not get the offense going, but had a better special teams performance. If Colorado can build upon that in this one, they should be able to earn a win. I expect the Avalanche to come out better on defense to as they look to tie up the season series.
BetOnline has Colorado listed as a -140 against the money line in this one. This implies that the Avalanche will win this game around 58.3 percent of the time. I agree with this line as Colorado is coming off a loss. Colorado and St. Louis have a good feel for each other and split the season series last season. I think that the Avalanche will come out better in this one as they look to shut down the Blues.