The St. Louis Blues were supposed to win that one, but the Colorado Avalanche defense stopped them

For a myriad of reasons stemming from long breaks or unfamiliar game plans, Game 1 is usually identified as the one the team on the road is in the best position to steal. The adage that “a streak doesn’t begin until a home team loses a game” is generally true, and if the St. Louis Blues pulled a win out of their hat last night, there’s would have immense pressure on the Colorado Avalanche today. , as their final years of second-round playoff failures would become the focus of this series. Instead, the Avalanche picked up a win in a game they (almost) controlled from start to finish, and today St. Louis has to wonder if this was their best chance at winning a game. game in Denver.

The Corsi 5-on-5 chart reveals just how controlled Colorado was in this game after the first period as the Avs dominated the final forty minutes and counting, reaching a crescendo in overtime as they edged the Blues by a staggering number of 13-0.

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You can dig into the Natural Stat Trick archives and find countless lopsided games this year that looked like this where the Avalanche comfortably won. Luck last night was definitely on the side of Saint-Louis. From our seats at the end where all the bases were scored, my friend and I scored 5 hits for the Avs, not to mention Erik Johnson’s missed golden opportunity in a wide-open net when the puck rolled on him and Blues goalkeeper Jordan Binnington just had his arm outstretched on the weak shot.

This game could very easily have ended 8-2.

Plus, while Ryan O’Reilly’s series opener was the result of hard work from the Blues and poor turnover from Cale Makar, he was immensely lucky to having the ping pong puck from O’Reilly’s leg to Brayden Schenn’s leg before landing perfectly. past O’Reilly who did a great job of fixing the problem, then covered a beauty to down the Avs 1-0 early.

If St. Louis can’t win a game where Colorado beat Binnington eight times while scoring just three goals, you can’t help but wonder what it will take to steal a game from a building where the Avs are. gone 54-9-6 in the regular season the past two years.

Avalanche Defenders Shine

Evan detailed the dramatic shift at the back before this series, and the opener proved it prophetic. The Blues were kicked out of the building at 5-5 primarily because the Avalanche defensive corps took control in Game 1, with Sam Girard and Josh Manson scoring game-breaking and game-winning goals, respectively. Aside from a first period where the Blues won a few lunge runs and got their sticks on angled pucks, the vast majority of their 5-on-5 shot attempts were limited to corners or bad angles. The outline of all unblocked shots from last night reveals the dramatic difference between the two teams in Game 1, as the Avs heatmap engulfs virtually the entire offensive zone, while the Blues were mostly forced into shots at low percentage hoping for a lucky bounce. .

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On the attacking side, the backline was the driving force behind last night’s tremendous 5-on-5 performance, as Cale Makar, Devon Toews, Samuel Girard and Josh Manson all finished around 1.5 goals expected, with Both Eric Johnson and Bowen Byram. landing around 0.8 goals expected, while Makar’s 1.6 lead the team. Comparing that to St. Louis puts their dominance in stark contrast, as the Blues with the highest expected goal tally last night was Colton Parayko at 0.68, with Ryan O’Reilly being his only other team-mate to finish higher than 0.5.

If every game this round feels like last night 5-on-5 and the Avs can stay out of the box to hold off dangerous St. Louis special teams, the Blues have no chance of winning this. series. They got almost all the breaks they could have hoped for between 51 saves from Binnington, several Avs posts and the Blues’ first goal bouncing off two legs before landing in the perfect spot, and it still wasn’t enough. to achieve a victory. Despite all the hope that this year would be different with a healthier and deeper Blues squad, Game 1 looked a lot like last year’s four-game sweep.

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