NBCSN’s coverage of the 2018-19 NHL season continues with Monday night’s matchup between the Colorado Avalanche and St. Louis Blues. Coverage begins at 7 p.m. ET on NBCSN. You can watch the game online and on the NBC Sports app by clicking here.
When the Colorado Avalanche acquired Philipp Grubauer from the Washington Capitals during the off-season, many assumed that he’d be the 1B to Semyon Varlamov‘s 1A. But when the Avs have needed victories, they’ve turned to the newcomer, instead.
“He’s the hot goalie. We’ll ride him as long as we have to,” head coach Jared Bednar said.
Thanks, in part, to Grubauer, the Avalanche have been one of the hottest teams in the NHL. They’re currently in a 6-0-1 stretch over their last seven games and the 27-year-old netminder has been between the pipes for each one of those contests. He’s also given up two goals or fewer in all but one of those games (he allowed three goals in a win over Vegas).
“He’s given us such security back there,” forward Sven Andrighetto said of Grubauer. “You play with so much more confidence if your goalie is doing well. He’s been great for us, and we feed off that, for sure.”
Even though things have been going really well for Colorado of late, they can’t afford to take their foot off the accelerator because they haven’t secured a playoff spot. Heading into tonight’s action, they hold just a one-point lead over the Arizona Coyotes, who are sitting in ninth spot in the Western Conference.
Tonight’s game against the Blues won’t be easy. St. Louis is fighting to move up the Central Division standings and they’ve been a tough out for Colorado this year. In the previous three matchups between these two teams this season, the Blues have won all three.
Interestingly enough, Blues goalie Jake Allen, who has taken a back seat to Jordan Binnington of late, has been in goal for each of those wins against the Avalanche. Allen has posted 1.64 goals-against-average and a .951 save percentage against Colorado in 2018-19.
Tonight’s game against the Blues will be the start of a very busy week for the Avs, who will play four games in six days to close out the schedule. After tonight’s clash, they’ll have home games against Edmonton and Winnipeg before heading to San Jose for the regular-season finale on Saturday night.
The fact that Gabriel Landeskog returned to lineup on Friday night was huge and it will continue to be huge. Now, if they could get Mikko Rantanen back, that would increase their odds of making it to the postseason.
“We’re doing different things on different nights to win hockey games,” Bednar said after Friday’s shootout win over the Coyotes. “We’re getting contributions from our whole lineup. Especially with the injuries, guys are stepping up and taking on bigger roles and excelling in those roles. It’s a team game and we’re playing like that right now. There’s no selfishness in our room, it’s all team first.”
Joey Alfieri is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter @joeyalfieri.