Both the Blues and the Colorado Avalanche are facing a nemeses this round. The Blues, of course, are facing the Avalanche.
The Avalanche are facing the second round.
Colorado hasn’t made it to the Western Conference Final since 2002, and the Blues have never beaten the Avalanche in the postseason. Last year, of course, Colorado bounced the Blues in four games before being eliminated themselves by the Vegas Golden Knights. The favorite to represent the West in the Stanley Cup Final last season, the Avalanche find themselves in familiar territory this year as many pundits’ odds on bet to make it all the way. Their postseason started off in similar fashion to last year. Instead of bumping the Blues in four games, they bumped the Predators - and have been waiting around since May 9th for this round to start.
If this were any other team in the West, the Blues could pounce on the Avs’ pause in play, but the usual assumption of rust doesn’t apply here.
“They’re a great team, Colorado, we all know that,” St. Louis coach Craig Berube said. “They’ve got a lot of high-end players. You’re going to have to do a lot of things right and you’re going to have to be real disciplined and stay out of the penalty box against them.”
Special teams will make or break this series just like it made the series against the Wild. Without Torey Krug or Marco Scandella to start the series - or maybe even to finish it - the Blues’ power play is going to need a boost. Scott Perunovich’s success in round one is going to be relied upon here twice as much to power through the Avalanche’s penalty kill, which is not as solid as one would expect. That’s their Achilles Heel right there, and if the Blues can exploit that - and goad the Avalanche into losing their cool - this series is going to last longer than most people expected.