March 29, 2016 / Game 77
Scottrade Center / St. Louis, MO
Things did not start well for the Colorado Avalanche as Carl Soderberg took a delay of game penalty for sending the puck over the glass just one minute into the first period. The St. Louis Blues capitalized with a power play goal from David Backes (via a deflection off of Francois Beauchemin's skate), taking a one to zero lead before two minutes had passed on the clock.
St. Louis continued to pressure the Avalanche, preventing Colorado from entering the offensive zone cleanly. Halfway through the first, Gabriel Landeskog was called for tripping, putting the Blues back on the power play for the second time in ten minutes. While the Avalanche penalty kill was less than aggressive, it was successful enough to keep the score intact.
The kill seemed to energize the Avalanche as the players finally found their legs and generated some sustained offense. With less than two minutes remaining in the period, Tyson Barrie slipped into the zone to start a tic-tac-toe that eventually led to a goal by Mikhail Grigorenko, ending the Blues' shut out streak at 159 minutes.
Halfway through the middle frame, one that saw the Avalanche playing the best seconod-period hockey seen in weeks, John Mitchell went to the penalty box for tripping, giving the Blues the team's third power play of the night. It ended in a gorgeous goal by Troy Brouwer off a slick feed from former Avalanche Paul Stastny.
The Avalanche went on the power play at 13:08 in the third period as Backes was called for holding. Despite remaining in the Blues's zone for most of the man advantage and forcing Brian Elliott to make some quality saves, Colorado could not convert.
Patrick Roy pulled Varlamov with just over four minutes left in the game, but it was to no avail. The Avalanche dropped another two vital points in the 3-1 loss.
Alexander Steen (2 assists)
Brian Elliott (.952 save percentage, 20 saves)
David Backes (1 goal)
PLAY OF THE GAME
Colorado's lone goal was a thing of beauty, especially Tyson Barrie's moves to get into the zone and set up the scoring opportunity.
The Blues's third goal visibly deflated the Avalanche and killed any chance the team had of regrouping. Colorado succumbed to fatigue and momentum for the remainder of the game.
BY THE NUMBERS
With the Minnesota Wild prevailing over the Chicago Blackhawks tonight, this loss makes a playoff appearance for the Avalanche extremely remote. While the team has yet to be mathematically eliminated, it is facing too difficult of a schedule—with Minnesota facing too easy of one—from here on out to realistically think recovering the five-point difference between the teams is possible.
The Avalanche heads home for an April Fool's day tilt at the Pepsi Center against the Washington Capitals (7 pm MT).