Vladimir Tarasenko's birthday is today, and he's being given the gift of another team that he scores well against: the Colorado Avalanche. He had three goals and an assist against the Avs last year. Not to be shown up, former Blue Erik Johnson has three goals and a couple assists against the Blues. The golf cart jokes power him on, so it seems.
Not much is powering the Avs on this season. They're three games below .500, and with their win against the Predators last night, have 27 points on the season. That places them tied with the Anaheim Ducks for last place in the West. Despite this, the Blues need to break their mindset of playing down to the competition, because the Avs can make the opposition pay.
The Blues also should probably look into playing a full 60 minutes of hockey. Last night's dominant, 17 shot first period was followed up by an anemic 2 shot second. Jake Allen kept the Stars off of the scoresheet; the 26 save performance will be worth repeating tonight.
The Colorado Avalanche don't have a Jamie Benn or a Tyler Seguin, but they do have Matt Duchene and Nathan MacKinnon. They bring 15 and 10 goals respectively to tonight's game. Limiting their space will be key. Hopefully the defense takes some shot blocking skills learned last night and carries them over to tonight. The D looked sharper Saturday, but still have a little ways to go before they look like the tight and confident group that started the season in October.
Of course, according to David Backes (in Tom Timmerman's recap), maybe a little bit of it boiled into Dallas putting some fear of God into the Blues.
"You play a team like Dallas with their offense, they’re going to scare us into playing the right way because if you don’t play the right way with their firepower, they’ll put up crooked numbers on you and make you look stupid and embarrass you. We had four lines and three sets of ‘D’ all doing the right thing and Jake was stellar in net."
If Dallas was a wake-up call, let's hope that Colorado isn't the snooze button.