December 13, 2015 Game 31
Scottrade Center, St. Louis, Missouri
In a bit of an odd situation, both teams - and both starting goalies - were in playing in the second game of a back to back. The period started out fairly slowly, but six minutes in, Jack Skille made a good read to get open as both the Blues players collapsed on Mikhail Grigorenko, then quickly fired it past Jake Allen's glove hand. 1-0 Avs.
A few minutes later, Semyon Varlamov made a jaw-dropping point blank save on Dmitrij Jaskin on one end of the ice, but John Mitchell beat Allen with a very similar shot seconds later. 2-0 Avs. The team finished out most of the rest of the period on the power play, including 20 seconds of 5-on-3, but wasn't able to capitalize.
The Blues came out with quite a bit of jump to start the second, forcing Varlamov to make a series of good saves. Apart from Nathan MacKinnon's newfound strength foiling Alex Pietrangelo's attempt to hit him and twisting the Blue's ankle instead, this period was fairly quiet from the Avalanche. Varlamov, however, was outstanding, saving all 17 shots fired at him.
During the third, the story was more of the same. The Blues buzzed the net, tripling the Avs in shots during the period, while Colorado's top minute eaters started to show the fact they played less than 24 hours before. Alex Tanguay was called for a penalty 12 minutes into the period, and Vladimir Tarasenko ended Varlamov's shutout bid on the power play after Erik Johnson fell and slightly hindered his motion. 2-1 Avs.
Allen headed to the bench with 1:23 left in the game. The Blues took a timeout to refine their 6-on-4 strategy, but the Avs stood tall and did a good job tying up the puck along the boards. With 21.8 seconds left, Carl Soderberg hit the empty net, sealing the final score of 3-1.
The Avs pick up an important two points against a division opponent tonight. While they're still pretty far out of the race, the team is now within one point of Winnipeg for 6th in the Central and six points back of a playoff spot.
The play of Semyon Varlamov was extremely encouraging as well. After a rough start to the year, this is now his fifth solid start in a row, indicating that he has found his game once more.
The roadtrip continues as the Avs get their chance to ruin Patrick Kane's streak in Chicago at 6:30 Mountain on Tuesday.