Avalanche to beat Blues
St. Louis stunned Colorado in Denver with their overtime win in Game 5 to keep the series alive. It was an impressive last gasp from the Blues with Robert Thomas scoring in the final minute of regulation and Tyler Bozak squeaking a shot through Darcy Kuemper in overtime to thwart one of Nathan MacKinnon’s best playoff performances to date. The Blues are going to need that desperation again to force a Game 7.
I just don’t know if anyone is going to be able to string two wins together against this Avalanche team. Colorado has won seven of its nine playoff games, scoring four or more goals in six games including their Game 5 loss to St. Louis. If they keep scoring at that pace, it’s going to be hard for anyone to stop them.
Darcy Kuemper did not have his best game in net for the Avalanche, with that game-winner looking a little bit soft. After his only other loss of the playoffs – Game 2 against the Blues – Kuemper stopped 29 of 31 shots to win Game 3. He’s responded well to losses all season with only four back-to-back losses all season long. That’s not especially comforting for a Blues side that played well enough to steal a couple of wins in this series.
Colorado already knows that Edmonton is waiting in the wings for the Conference Final and the sooner they can dispatch the Blues the better and make sure the next time they’re playing on home ice it isn’t a Game 7 but a Western Conference Final Game 1 against Connor McDavid and the Oilers.
Despite taking the L in Game 5, the Avalanche were better in just about every element of the game than St. Louis. They dominated possession, scoring chances, shots on goal, high-danger scoring chances, expected goals and just about every other element, but lost the game. More times than not, the Avs are going to win games they dominate so handily. They’ve won both prior games in St. Louis, too. Colorado doesn’t really have to change a thing and they still should be able to win.
Under 6.5 total goals
If the Blues are going to be competitive in this game, they’re going to need to tighten up defensively. The Avs have really dominated them with the puck on their stick. Meanwhile, Darcy Kuemper should be a lot better than he was in Game 5, giving up five goals on 30 shots. It was not his typical game.
Only two games in this series have had under 6.5 goals, Game 1 and Game 2. But with this being another elimination game, plus the Blues being at home where they can work the matchups to their favor a little more, and the fact that I think Kuemper will be sharper, I think these two sides are going to play a tighter overall game where goals are harder to come by.
Nazem Kadri anytime goal scorer
Kadri is coming off arguably his worst game of the playoffs after having two of his best. He scored four goals over the two games in St. Louis. He has been a target of the Blues throughout the series, especially after his collision with goalie Jordan Binnington left the Blues netminder out for the remainder of the series. But Kadri has been a menace on the ice in the best way otherwise for the Avs.
Kadri has not been held off the scoresheet in consecutive games this postseason. He only has five goals the entire playoffs, including the Game 3 hat-trick against the Blues, but if the Avs are going to get back on track, you’d have to think Kadri is going to make an impact.
Cale Makar to score 2+ points
Makar has just three points in the series to date with one assist in each of the last three games, but has 15 shots on goal throughout the series to date. He’s come close to scoring a few times and will play major minutes. It just feels like he’s poised to break out at some point in this series.
Makar has played in two put-away games so far. He had an assist in Game 5 and had a goal and two assists in Game 4 to eliminate the Nashville Predators in the first round. It hasn’t all clicked for the dynamic defenseman in this series yet in terms of points, but he’s made a positive impact in just about every game. You’d have to think that the points are going to come in bunches at some point. I think it might be tonight.