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St. Louis Blues vs. Colorado Avalanche Pick & Prediction JAN 15TH 2021

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St. Louis Blues vs. Colorado Avalanche Recap JAN 15TH 2021

Nazem Kadri's buzzer-beater with one-tenth of a second remaining in the game was the difference as the Colorado Avalanche claimed a thrilling 2-1 win over the St. Louis Blues in Sunday's Western Conference round-robin clash in Edmonton.

With the Avalanche on a power play and buzzing around the net with all kinds of chances, Kadri pounced on a loose puck in the slot and fired it home just before the clock hit zero in both teams' first clash since the NHL resumed play after the 4 1/2-month pause due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

It took a lengthy review before it was declared to be a good goal, and served as a thrilling finish as both clubs began gearing up for the upcoming Stanley Cup playoffs. Although the Avalanche, Blues, Dallas Stars and Vegas Golden Knights all have punched tickets to the Stanley Cup playoffs, they will play a mini-tournament to decide seeding in the opening round that will also feature teams advancing through the qualifying round series.

Despite the Avalanche holding a drastic edge in play, Blues forward David Perron opened the scoring with a power-play goal at 16:46 of the opening frame. Perron set up shop at the top of the left circle and hammered a one-timer over the glove of Avalanche goaltender Philipp Grubauer. It was just his team's third shot of the period compared to the 15 fired by Colorado.

Colorado defenseman Ryan Graves finally solved Blues goalie Jordan Binnington and cued the comeback when he evened the count at 5:33 of the third period. Graves, who led the league in plus-minus during the truncated regular season, whiffed on a pass attempt in the high slot and regained the handle before burying a high wrist shot to make it a 1-1 affair.

Grubauer finished with 31 saves to record the win, while Binnington stopped 36 shots for the defending Stanley Cup champions.

Colorado's next clash is Wednesday against the Stars, while the Blues return to action on Thursday against the Golden Knights.

--Field Level Media

The NHL scrapped its preseason to get to the real games sooner. The lack of exhibitions showed in the Colorado Avalanche's performance on Wednesday night, a 4-1 loss to the visiting St. Louis Blues.

The good news for Colorado is it doesn't have to wait long to get things right against the Blues -- the two teams meet again in Denver on Friday night.

For the Avalanche, it will be a chance to correct things while St. Louis will try to do more of the same. The Blues gave up the first goal but scored twice in the first and two more in the third to open the season with the victory.

St. Louis, the 2019 Stanley Cup champion, looked strong on offense, defense and goaltending. Two of the Blues' newest players, forward Kyle Clifford and defenseman Torey Krug, blended in seamlessly in their debuts. Clifford had a third-period goal that made it 3-1.

The other offseason signing, forward Mike Hoffman, wasn't available because his work visa had not yet been approved.

"It's next man up," said center Oskar Sundqvist, who had two goals Wednesday night. "It doesn't matter if it's me or someone else. It's always someone that's stepping up. That's one of our strengths with this team, that we got that mentality. No one really changes their game; they just move up the lineup and play the same style. It's nice to see."

Colorado's two newest acquisitions, forward Brandon Saad and defenseman Devon Toews, played Wednesday, though Toews had a scary moment when he took an elbow to the head from St. Louis forward Sammy Blais.

Toews went to the locker room but returned, logging 22:17 of ice time, third on the team.

Blais had a hearing with the league office on Thursday, but a decision isn't expected to come until Friday. Hoffman will likely be in the lineup in place of Blais either way.

Toews was on the top defensive pairing with Cale Makar and his presence is needed with Erik Johnson not with the team after testing positive for COVID-19. If everything goes well, Johnson could return to the team on Saturday.

Avalanche coach Jared Bednar is planning on changing his lines for Friday night. He said after practice on Thursday he will move left winger Gabriel Landeskog back to the top line with Nathan MacKinnon and Mikko Rantanen and drop Andre Burakovsky to the second line with Nazem Kadri and Saad.

Shaking up the lines is one adjustment, but Colorado needs a stronger effort. Turnovers led to goals against the Blues and mistakes have to be cleaned up or the risk falling to 0-2 in a shortened season increases.

Rantanen acknowledged the lack of preseason was a factor Wednesday night.

"Short camp, first game, so we just have to learn from it now," he said. "We didn't have a lot going. It's compete level, it's not system or anything, it's in our head. We have to be prepared. St. Louis plays like that every year, they're a heavy team, they check hard, so you have to respond to that. You can't sit back and watch like we did in the first. That's what cost us the most."

--Field Level Media

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GAMES

Last 10

W 40% L 60%
4 6
  • San Jose L 2 - 1
  • San Jose W 4 - 5
  • @Colorado L 0 - 8
  • @Colorado W 4 - 1
  • @Vancouver L 2 - 6
  • Vancouver L 4 - 3
  • @Vancouver W 3 - 1
  • @Vancouver W 3 - 2
  • Vancouver L 4 - 3
  • Vancouver L 5 - 2
W 56% L 44%
5 4
  • @Anaheim W 3 - 2
  • @Los Angeles L 2 - 4
  • @Los Angeles W 3 - 2
  • St. Louis W 0 - 8
  • St. Louis L 4 - 1
  • Dallas L 5 - 4
  • @Dallas W 4 - 1
  • Dallas W 3 - 6
  • @Dallas L 4 - 5
  • @Dallas D 0 - 0

Next Games

  • Los Angeles(10-24-19) W 2 - 5
  • Los Angeles(10-24-19) W 2 - 5
  • @Vegas(02-13-20) L 5 - 6
  • @Vegas(02-13-20) L 5 - 6
  • @Anaheim(03-11-20) W 4 - 2
  • @Anaheim(01-22-21) W 3 - 2
  • San Jose(01-16-20) W 0 - 4
  • San Jose(01-16-20) W 0 - 4
  • @Minnesota(07-29-20) W 3 - 2

Last Meetings

  • Blues @ Avalanche 0-8
  • Blues @ Avalanche 4-1
  • Blues @ Avalanche 1-2
  • Blues @ Avalanche 3-5
  • Blues @ Avalanche 3-7
  • Avalanche @ Blues 2-5
  • Avalanche @ Blues 1-3
  • Avalanche @ Blues 2-3
  • Blues @ Avalanche 3-0
  • Avalanche @ Blues 3-4

Eastern Conference

AtlanticWL OTPTSHOMEAWAYGFGAST L10
Montreal Canadiens3017 0-0-03-0-02416L13-0-0
Tampa Bay Lightning3006 2-0-01-0-0135W33-0-0
Toronto Maple Leafs3206 2-0-11-0-11515L13-0-2
Florida Panthers2004 2-0-00-0-0106W22-0-0
Boston Bruins2115 1-0-01-0-199L22-0-1
Detroit Red Wings2204 2-0-20-0-0910L12-0-2
Ottawa Senators1213 1-0-20-0-01114L31-0-2
Buffalo Sabres1302 0-0-21-0-11112L11-0-3

Western Conference

CentralWL OTPTSHOMEAWAYGFGAST L10
Winnipeg Jets3106 1-0-02-0-11310L13-0-1
Minnesota Wild3106 0-0-03-0-1119L13-0-1
Nashville Predators2104 2-0-10-0-0107L12-0-1
St. Louis Blues2104 1-0-01-0-11015L12-0-1
Colorado Avalanche2204 1-0-11-0-11410L12-0-2
Chicago Blackhawks0311 0-0-00-0-3920L40-0-3

Eastern Conference

MetropolitanWL OTPTSHOMEAWAYGFGAST L10
Philadelphia Flyers3106 3-0-10-0-01916L13-0-1
New York Islanders3106 2-0-01-0-196L13-0-1
Washington Capitals2015 0-0-02-0-01514L22-0-0
New Jersey Devils2104 1-0-01-0-1911L12-0-1
Carolina Hurricanes2104 0-0-02-0-196L12-0-1
Pittsburgh Penguins2204 2-0-00-0-21418L22-0-2
New York Rangers1202 1-0-20-0-088L11-0-2
Columbus Blue Jackets1224 0-0-01-0-21016L21-0-2

Western Conference

PacificWL OTPTSHOMEAWAYGFGAST L10
Vegas Golden Knights4008 4-0-00-0-0167W44-0-0
Calgary Flames2015 2-0-00-0-0116L12-0-0
San Jose Sharks2204 0-0-02-0-21314L22-0-2
Edmonton Oilers2304 1-0-31-0-01316L22-0-3
Vancouver Canucks2404 1-0-11-0-31828L12-0-4
Los Angeles Kings1124 1-0-10-0-01213L31-0-1
Anaheim Ducks1213 1-0-10-0-1610L11-0-2
Arizona Coyotes1202 1-0-00-0-21216L21-0-2

Last Injuries

Colorado Avalanche

  • Andre Burakovsky

    Upper Body
    Ques Sun | questionable

    Burakovsky has been held out of the previous three games with an upper-body injury, and it is unknown if he will play Sunday versus the Ducks.

  • Pavel Francouz

    Lower Body
    Ques Sun | questionable

    Francouz has sat out the last three games due to a lower-body injury, and it remains to be seen if he will be available against the Ducks on Sunday.

  • Erik Johnson

    Illness
    Prob Tues | questionable

    Johnson has been activated from the COVID-19 list, and he is expected to make his season debut against the Kings on Tuesday.

  • Devon Toews

    Concussion
    Ques Fri | questionable

    Toews exited the previous game to be evaluated for a concussion, and it is unknown if he will be available against the Blues on Friday.

  • Bowen Byram

    Illness
    Out Wed | out

    Byram is going through the COVID-19 protocol, and he will not be available for the season opener against the Blues.

St. Louis Blues

  • Robert Bortuzzo

    Upper Body
    Out indefinitely | I-R

    Bortuzzo will be on the injured reserve list for an undetermined length of time due to an upper-body injury.

  • Marco Scandella

    Undisclosed
    Ques Sat | questionable

    Scandella sat out the previous contest due to an undefined injury, and it is unknown if he will lace up Saturday versus the Sharks.

  • Sammy Blais

    Suspension
    Elig Wed | out

    Blais is serving a two-game suspension for an illegal check. He is eligible to return Wednesday versus the Sharks.

  • Vladimir Tarasenko

    Shoulder
    Early March | I-R

    Tarasenko is expected to be out of commission until at least the beginning of March after having left shoulder surgery, and he has landed on the long-term injured reserve list.

  • Mike Hoffman

    Personal
    Prob Fri | probable

    Hoffman sat out the last game dealing with a visa issue, but he is expected to lace up on Friday versus the Avalanche.