This is it. One game will decide it all. A regulation/overtime win or an overtime/shootout loss and the Blues will advance to the Stanley Cup playoffs. A regulation win by the Colorado Avalanche and the Blues season is over. Puck drops at 8:00 CT and can be seen on Fox Sports Midwest.
The Blues are coming off of a gratifying win last night against Central division foes the Chicago Blackhawks. While the blues were not technically in a need-to-win situation the regulation victory went a long way in boosting the team’s confidence heading into the final regular season game tonight.
Carter Hutton nearly captured a shutout in his first start in almost a month, stopping 19 of 20 shots.
Patrik “Hat Trick” Berglund recorded his second career three-goal game, scoring 3⁄4 of the Blues goals.
Kyle Brodziak had a two point night, assisting on two of Berglund’s goals.
The Blackhawks sucked, and are officially in the Blues rearview mirror for the rest of the season.
In a surprise move, the Blues elected to send Jake Allen to Colorado ahead of the team in order to give him a chance to recharge his batteries before the game tonight. Ville Husso was recalled from San Antonio to serve as Hutton’s backup Friday night.
While Hutton delivered another solid performance it is hard to believe that Mike Yeo reneges on his earlier decision to start Jake tonight, although he may be operating on an extremely short leash.
Other than a change in net look for tonight’s lineup to look the same as Friday’s.
According to naturalstattrick.com the line of Alex Steen, Kyle Brodziak and Patrik Berglund have generated 51 shots on goal in 93:24 minutes of ice time. The Blues top line of Vladimir Tarasenko, Brayden Schenn and Jaden Schwartz has recorded 66 SOG in the last 99:37 minutes of ice time while maintaining a 62.75% Corsi For%.
In the world of sports there is nothing better than a Game 7. Tonight will be as close to a regular season Game 7 as you are going to find.
As for tonight’s opponent, just like the Blues the Colorado Avalanche still control their own playoff destiny. All they need is a regulation win tonight and they will be on their way to their first playoff appearance since the 2013-14 season.
Unfortunately, they will be attempting this feat without two of their key players.
Starting goalie Semyon Varlamov suffered a knee injury at the end of last month and is out for the rest of the season.
Top defenseman Erik Johnson (you remember that guy) suffered a fractured patella and is out for the next five weeks.
Despite their recent injuries, this is not a team that is going to go down without a fight.
Backup goaltender Jonathan Bernier is sporting a respectable 91.2 save percentage and a 2.87 GAA in 36 games played.
Top line center Nathan MacKinnon leads the team in goals (38), assists (57) and points (95) [hockey-refrence.com]
The Avalanche’s 3.1 goals for per game ranks 10th in the NHL while their 2.9 GAA ranks 14th. Their power play ranks 8th in the league at 21.8% and they have the third best PK. [ESPN.com]
Going to be a tough game tonight, but we wouldn’t have it any other way.
It is almost always never easy.
Thanks for reading and Go Blues.