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The Avalanche have the President’s Trophy, but a consistent Blues team could pull off an upset

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The Avalanche have taken Game 1 with a 4-1 victory, but they can’t take the Blues lightly.

NHL: Minnesota Wild at St. Louis Blues Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

The Colorado Avalanche won the President’s Trophy, which is an amazing achievement. But the St. Louis Blues could still pull off an upset in the first-round series.

The Blues are the underdogs in this year’s Stanley Cup Playoffs. They were also the underdogs in the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs. I’m pretty sure no one saw their deep postseason run coming, not even the biggest Blues fans out there. They were in last place to start 2019, but ended up going on an 11-game winning streak and becoming the seventh team in NHL history to make the playoffs after being placed last on January 1st. Blues goaltender Jordan Binnington played a huge role in the team’s turnaround from cellar-dwellers to world champions.

The Blues have to remain consistent if they want to avoid a repeat of last year’s first-round exit. They finished 0-3 in the round-robin, earned the fourth seed, and faced the fifth seed Vancouver Canucks, who won the first-round series in six games.

The Avalanche took Game 1 last night by a final score of 4-1. Cale Makar opened the scoring with a power-play goal at 15:15 of the first period. Jordan Kyrou tied the game 1-1 at 16:31 of the second period. Then, Colorado scored three unanswered goals in the third period. Two goals came from Avalanche center and alternate captain Nathan MacKinnon and the other goal came from Avalanche captain Gabriel Landeskog. Avalanche goaltender Philipp Grubauer made 22 saves on 23 shots in 60 minutes of time on ice. The Avalanche took a 1-0 series lead.

Whether you’re a Blues fan or an Avalanche fan, you have to admit that Blues goaltender Jordan Binnington had himself a game on Monday night. Binnington stopped 46 of 49 shots in 59:08 minutes of time on ice.

Blues captain Ryan O’Reilly told reporters: “There’s never a doubt with Binner (Binnington). He was our best player, he showed it tonight. We were right in that game, a couple of mistakes… if we make fewer opportunities for them, it’s only going to make it easier on us and him.”

The Blues worked hard for the fourth and final playoff spot. They’ll watch tape, refresh their minds, and continue to focus. They played competitively. They had a chance to take the lead and never look back. But they simply made mistake after mistake.

The Avalanche were the better team on Monday. They outshot the Blues 50-23. They were 1-for-3 on the power play. Their top line of Gabriel Landeskog, Nathan MacKinnon, and Mikko Rantanen overwhelmed the Blues. Their offense was pretty much unstoppable, despite the Blues’ physicality early on.

This series isn’t over just yet. The Blues and Avalanche will meet again at the Pepsi Center for Game 2 on Wednesday night at 9:30 pm CST on CNBC, Bally Sports Midwest, and Altitude Sports.