Few things have come easily for the Avalanche lately, and the Blues didn’t exactly budge against them on Monday night. So, while Colorado obviously would’ve preferred to win against St. Louis, getting a “charity point” was very, very important.
The Blues generated a lopsided 15-2 shots on goal advantage in the first period, but only managed a 1-0 lead. The Avalanche pushed back in the second and beyond, yet when Vladimir Tarasenko made it 2-0 just 14 seconds into the third period, it looked like there would be a big win for the Blues — and, indirectly, the Arizona Coyotes.
Colorado stayed scrappy, however, and managed to push the game into overtime and then a shootout, with the Blues ultimately coming out on top 3-2 (SO).
A few players stood out for both sides.
- Each goalie was fantastic. Philipp Grubauer made plenty of tough saves, particularly when the Blues were skating circles around his Avs, and he’s been clutch for Colorado during a time when they’ve really struggled to score goals.
- Gabriel Landeskog was able to return to action earlier than his injury recovery window indicated, and he’s carved out vital points for the team he captains. Landeskog collected an assist in Colorado’s shootout win against Arizona, and then scored a goal and assisted on the last-minute tying goal by Alexander Kerfoot:
- Jordan Binnington remains a rock in net for the Blues, stopping 26 out of 28 shots.
- The Blues are getting great efforts up and down their lineup, making them a sometimes-relentless opponent.
- Ryan O'Reilly scored the only goal in the shootout against his former team:
With this win, the Blues now have 94 points in 79 games played, keeping them in the running as they jockey for position with the Jets and Predators for the Central Division title, or at least home-ice advantage in the first round. Monday might have been their toughest remaining test of the regular season, as the Blues’ final three opponents all are located outside of the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs.
The Avalanche have a tougher haul going forward, and the Coyotes pose a threat to their playoff positioning:
WC 2: Avalanche – 86 points with three games remaining, 34 regulation/OT wins.
Ninth: Coyotes – 84 points with three games remaining, 34 ROW.
It’s been a grind for the Avs, and their work clearly isn’t done yet, but finding a way to get points on nights like these might ultimately make up the difference between missing the playoffs or playing beyond game 82.
James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.