Blues Take Down Colorado in Shootout, 3-2

Blues forward Ryan O’Reilly (90) buries the shootout winner past Avalanche goaltender Philipp Grubauer (31) to lift his team 3-2. (Photo courtesy: Bill Boyce, AP Photo)

ST. LOUIS, MO – The Blues didn’t fail to disappoint on 90’s night after a totally tubular win.

The St. Louis Blues (42-28-8) got an electrifying 3-2 shootout victory over the Colorado Avalanche (36-29-13) at Enterprise Center. Ryan O’Reilly scored in the shootout and Jordan Binnington stopped all three Colorado attempts to net his 22nd victory, tying Jake Allen for most wins by a Blues rookie goaltender. The Blues’ win improved them to 43-28-8 and gives them second place in the Central Division, tied in points with both Nashville and Winnipeg.

Alex Kerfoot tied the game for Colorado in the dying seconds of the game to secure one crucial point, giving them a two-point cushion over the Arizona Coyotes. Colorado holds the final wild card spot in the Central Division with three games left on the regular season.

1ST PERIOD

The opening shift for both teams could best be described as evaluative. Neither team started off at a quick pace and opened cautiously. The remainder of the entire period, however, would be some of the most dominant hockey the Blues had played all season. Ninety seconds in, Robert Bortuzzo gave Tyler Bozak a perfect feed to get the Blues a goal, but it was reversed when Colorado challenged the play for being offside.

The reversal did nothing to the Blues’ energy; they dominated in the offensive zone and were nearly perfect in their own zone pressure and exits. The hard work of all four lines finally paid off when Jaden Schwartz tipped in a feed from Oskar Sundqvist and David Perron 7:07 into the opening frame.

The Blues’ ferocity only picked up after Schwartz’s 11th of the season. The Blues had their way with Colorado for the entirety of the period, but Avs goaltender Philipp Grubauer showed his 6-0-1 record of late was no fluke. Colorado didn’t register a single shot until the last 5:12 of the period. However, an undisciplined boarding minor by Robert Thomas would give the Avalanche some life late in the first. St. Louis headed to the locker room up 1-0 and outshooting Colorado by a whopping 15-2.

2ND PERIOD

The Avalanche got their heads together in the second period and took St. Louis by surprise, practically reversing the momentum from the first period. Using the remaining power play time as a kickstart, the speed and forechecking of the Avs wore the Blues down completely, to the point where they could barely make shifts. Jordan Binnington remained as stoic as always in his net and proved to the Avalanche that he was no fluke, either.

The Avalanche pulled a complete reversal and dominated the second, while the Blues fell into sloppy turnovers and bad defensive exits. The final half of the period went without a single stoppage from 7:35 to 1:30 and remained a playoff-energy type of game until the buzzer. After 40, The Blues held their 1-0 lead by the skin of their teeth, getting outshot in the period 3-10.

3RD PERIOD

The Blues had a productive intermission and settled things down immediately. On the opening faceoff, Vladimir Tarasenko banked in his 31st of the season, just 14 seconds into the final frame.

Ryan O’Reilly provided the initial rebound and Brayden Schenn opened the sequence that earned the top line all three points. The Avalanche didn’t roll over, however: captain Gabriel Landeskog finally broke away from the defensive pressure that was smothering him all night, and managed to tip in a screened shot in front of Binnington. The goal cut the Blues lead in half, 2-1.

Both teams fought tooth and nail for any inch of ice they could find, but neither team could break through at even strength. The Avs pulled Grubauer for the extra attacker, and it paid off in the final minute of play. Another tip-in in front of Binnington courtesy of Alex Kerfoot tied it up with 47 seconds left in the game.

Kerfoot was assisted by none other than Landeskog and Nathan MacKinnon, who finally got on the scoresheet. The Blues conceded the regulation win and took the Avs into overtime, outshooting them 25-23.

OVERTIME

The high-flying action of regulation certainly took its toll on both teams, and overtime slowed down and opened up for 3-on-3 hockey. Grubauer and Binnington came in the clutch for their squads again, however, and overtime wouldn’t be enough to finish it. Colorado got three shots on net to St. Louis’s 2, and the biggest shootout contest for both goaltenders was about to unfold.

SHOOTOUT

Tyler Bozak opened the shootout for St. Louis with a wrister that Grubauer blockered away easily. Colorado’s superstar Nathan MacKinnon was on deck against Binnington for the first time, and Jordan got just enough glove on a rising wrist shot to make a huge save. Ryan O’Reilly was the hero in the shootout for the Blues, beating Grubauer’s stick side and putting his former club down.

Binnington made a save on Landeskog. Tarasenko’s shot was denied by Grubauer, and Sven Andrighetto just missed a tuck-in play that sealed the deal. St. Louis grabbed a pivotal win and two big points that brought them even with Nashville and Winnipeg in points. The win was enough to put the Blues in second place in the Central Division for the first time all season.

St. Louis improved to 43-28-8 while Colorado fell to 36-29-14. While Colorado holds the second wild-card spot, their final three games will all be must-wins, including a division rivalry against the Jets and a season finale against the Sharks. St. Louis swept the series against Colorado with tonight’s win, with three of the four matchups going into overtime this season.

Following the end of the shootout, Blues and Avalanche players all congratulated referee Tim Nowak, who officiated his final game this evening. It was his 1,731st regular season game and 26th year in the NHL as a referee. From the Blues Rants staff, a special thanks and congratulations to Tim Nowak on a very successful career!

POSTGAME

The Blues recognized the intensity of the game and the gravity of their victory tonight. “That was a desperate hockey team and they were pushing,” Jordan Binnington told the media after the game. “That was a good hockey game and we’re happy to get the win.”

“They’re playing for a playoff spot, so we knew it was going to be a game like this,” Vladimir Tarasenko told STL Today. “This game was really important for both teams, and playoffs are coming up, so it’s good for us to play games like these before the playoffs”.

While the shootout loss was a disappointing one, the Avalanche recognized getting a point to keep some skin in the standings was a positive. “We were able to get a point, which is huge coming down the stretch,” Avs forward Alexander Kerfoot said after the game. “It’s coming down to the wire here, so we need every point we can get.”

The Blues are headed to United Center to wrap up the season series with the Chicago Blackhawks on Wednesday while the Avalanche head home tomorrow for a rested and waiting Edmonton Oilers. To follow those two games, head to:

STL@CHI – NBCSN, KMOX 1120, WGN 720, NHL.tv

EDM@COL – ALTI, SNWest, CHED 630, KKSE 950, NHL.tv

For more local Blues stories, insights and more, visit bluesrants.com!

SHARE THIS ARTICLE:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *