Avalanche on cruise control as they travel to St. Louis
Field Level Mediaon
The Colorado Avalanche will seek to extend their franchise-best start while visiting the St. Louis Blues Monday night.
The Avs earned 15 points (7-0-1) through eight games, topping their 2013-14 start of 7-1-0 for 14 points. They are the only NHL team without a regulation loss this season.
Conversely the Blues want to end their four-game winless streak. They have gone 0-2-2 after beginning the season 3-0-1.
The Avs roll into Enterprise Center after beating the Tampa Bay Lightning 6-2 and the Florida Panthers 5-4 in their previous two games.
"They're dangerous off the rush. They've got some real high-end talent. They can do a lot of different things," Panthers coach Joel Quenneville told the Denver Post. "They've got four lines that are dangerous as well, so they've got really good balance up front. And some dangerous guys on the back end."
Colorado has been able to maintain the powerful top line of Nathan MacKinnon with Mikko Rantanen and Gabriel Landeskog because of the addition of a new second line this season. Andre Burakovsky, Nazem Kadri and Joonas Donskoi built immediate offensive chemistry.
Burakovsky has four goals and four assists in eight games. Last season he produced just 25 points (12 goals, 13 assists) for the Washington Capitals.
"I've been talking and working a lot on shooting more," Burakovsky told NHL.com. "In previous years, I've always been looking up, trying to find passes instead of shooting. It's something I'm trying to get rid of. I'm still a passer but also if the opportunity is there, I'm just going to shoot."
The Avs are getting secondary scoring as well. Tyson Jost scored a hat trick against the Lightning on Saturday. He has four goals in eight games after scoring just 11 in 70 games last season.
"The Jost line, for me, was outstanding especially the first half of the game," Avalanche coach Jared Bednar said after that victory. "Those guys were a big difference maker tonight."
The Blues are looking to regroup after suffering a 5-2 loss to the Montreal Canadiens at home Saturday. They blew two-goal leads in their two games prior to that, a 4-3 shootout loss to the Vancouver Canucks at home and a 3-2 overtime road loss to the New York Islanders.
The Blues buckled against the Canadiens after back-up goaltender Jake Allen, getting a rare start at home, deflected a Brendan Gallagher dump-in into his own net.
Allen and No. 1 goaltender Jordan Binnington haven't been as sharp as the Blues would have liked. Binnington has a 2.93 goals-against average and a .909 save percentage this season, while Allen has a 4.17 GAA and .849 save percentage.
"Everybody's got to be better," Blues coach Craig Berube told reporters after the game. "That's goalies, everybody. Everybody's got to be better. ... It's not a buy-in right now, not enough of a buy-in to team play."
This team is still searching for the resilience that supported their Stanley Cup run last season.
"We've got to play better throughout our entire lineup," Blues captain Alex Pietrangelo told reporters. "Consistently, right? When we're on our game, when everyone's playing the same way and thinking the same way, doing the same thing, it almost becomes robotic at times because everyone's thinking the same. Right now, we're just making it look complicated, almost doing too much. When we're playing a little more easier it seems like we're more successful."