St. Louis (AFP) – The St. Louis Blues eliminated the Minnesota Wild in the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs with a mid-series goalkeeper change and an unconventional lineup.
Now, the team heads to Colorado to face a top-seeded avalanche in the second round.
“I don’t mind starting playoffs on the road,” Blues striker David Peron She said. “I think a lot of times you have nerves just sitting at home and when you start on the road you’re in the hotel kind of sitting with the guys.”
The Blues have met a playoff avalanche twice before, losing both games, including a first-round sweep of last season.
The Blues are confident that they are in a better position to compete with Colorado than they were last year.
“I think we’re a better team than last year for sure,” said Blues captain Ryan O’Reilly. “It will be a very difficult challenge for us. You know, they are one of, if not the best, team in the league this year. It is dynamic and deep as well.”
The Blues have had nine players who have scored at least 20 goals this season, the most in the National Hockey League.
“We are deeper this year than we were last year,” said Blues coach Craig Behrop. “In the foreground we are deeper, and in the background we are deeper. So, I think it will be a difficult series for sure.”
Blues line depth tested against the wild. St. Louis lost Nikki Lady, Robert Borzozo And Tori Krug For injuries in the first three matches of the opening round.
Leddy and Bortuzzo are back for Game 5, but the Krug (lower body) is still up day in and day out. Injuries have prompted the coaching staff to hire 11 forwards and seven defenders in their last three games against Minnesota.
“There’s a lot that goes into that,” Blues Striker Tyler Bosak She said. “They (the coaches) see the game different from what we see. They watch all the time and they kind of have a really good feeling for who is going well and what they think is going to work for us. So, obviously they made some really good decisions in this series.”
Scott PeronovichKrug, who was an emergency call-up after Krug was injured, is seventh defender and has taken Krug’s place in strong play, who scored 8 for 26 against Wilde, scoring at least once in every game.
“I know we used a lot of (the defense men) in the series, but they all have a job to do and they’ve done it,” Birubi said. “That’s what it boils down to. And that was a big reason we stuck to the Seven.”
The Blues have won their last three matches against Wild after switching to goalkeeper Jordan Bennington In game 4. Bennington stopped 84 of the 89 he encountered with a save ratio of 0.944.
“I tried to have the mentality of going out there and just competing and giving the team a chance to win,” Bennington said.
The next Blues opponent had plenty of time to rest.
The avalanche was the first team to advance to the second round this post-season, and swept the Nashville Predators.
Colorado trailed in its opening series by a total of 4 minutes 57 seconds, all in game 4.
Avalanche averaged 5.25 goals per game and converted 43.8% on the man’s advantage.
The penalty shootout allowed the Blues four goals in 24 attempts (83.3%) in the first round.
“Everyone trusts each other to do the right thing and support each other,” Bozak said. “I think it starts with goalkeeping. First of all, your goalkeeper has to be the best penalty shooter and our goalkeepers have been fantastic all year.”
Avalanche is in the Western Conference semifinals for the fourth consecutive season.
The Blues will have to find a way to slow down Cal Makar, who had 10 points in the Colorado sweep. He is the first defensive man in NHL history with 10 points in a four-game streak.
It’s a great team, Colorado, we all know that,” said Birubi. “They’ve got a lot of quality players. You’re going to have to do a lot of things right.”
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