Avalanche Can Take Command
While Game 4 is not an elimination game, it is clearly the biggest game of the season for the St. Louis Blues.
The Blues erased Colorado’s home-ice advantage with a win in Game 2, only to give it right back as the Avalanche posted a 5-2 win over Saturday. If Colorado sweeps the first two games in St. Louis, that would put the Blues in the unenviable position of needing to beat Colorado three straight times, including twice on the road to advance.
According to the NHL Vegas odds, Colorado (+175) is the overwhelming favorite to win the Stanley Cup title. The odds moved up slightly from +200 following the Game 3 win. The odds for St. Louis fell from +1600 to +3300. In the odds to represent the Western Conference in the Stanley Cup Final, Colorado comes in at -165 while the odds for the Blues’ odds tumbled to +1400.
Lehkonen delivers for Avalanche
Artturi Lehkonen was an under-the-radar pickup at the trading deadline, although the price wasn’t cheap to acquire the 26-year-old winger. Colorado sent 2020 first-round pick Justin Barron and a future No. 2 pick to get Lehkonen. Lehkonen had six goals in 16 games for Colorado, who went 4-2-1 during the regular season when he had at least one point.
Lehkonen had two points on back-to-back wins against Los Angeles and New Jersey in mid-April, but his greatest contribution came when he scored twice in the Game 3 win over St. Louis. Lehkonen had no points and one shot on goal in the first two games of the series before putting five shots on goal in Saturday’s victory.
— Colorado Avalanche (@Avalanche) May 22, 2022
It was not the first team he came through in the postseason. While Lehkonen only scored three goals during 17 games as the Montreal Canadiens made a surprising run to the 2021 Stanley Cup Final, one of those games was in overtime in Game 6 against the favored Vegas Golden Knights as Montreal advanced to the Stanley Cup Final.
Three of Lehkonen’s eight goals since joining the Avalanche have been scored against St. Louis.
The NHL betting lines total has gone over in four of the last six times Colorado has played on the road.
Now or Never for Blues’ Stars
Ryan O’Reilly has been one of the best players on the ice in the first three games of the series against Colorado with two goals, two assists and a team-high 12 shots on goal. David Perron and Jordan Kyrou have two goals each, but many of the team’s best offensive players have struggled to contribute.
Pavel Buchnevich, Brayden Schenn, Vladimir Tarasenko, Ivan Barbashev and Robert Thomas combined for 134 goals during the regular season. They have yet to score in the series, although they do have six assists.
Jordan Binnington, who was knocked out of the Game 3 loss when Colorado forward Nazem Kadri ran over the St. Louis goalie, has been ruled out for the rest of the series.
For me, this angle shows what really happened: the rebound comes out of glove, Kadri, going for loose puck, collides into Rosen, Rosen then makes first contact with Binnington, then forward momentum carries both more into Binnington https://t.co/9oDus2IZGI
— Adrian Dater (@adater) May 22, 2022
Ville Husso started the playoffs as the No. 1 goalie for the Blues. He was replaced by Binnington after giving up nine goals in a two-game stretch in the series against Minnesota. In Husso’s last three games, he has a 4.55 goals-against average and .841 save percentage.
The Blues had more shots, more hits and won more faceoffs than the Avalanche in Game 3, but it was Colorado that emerged with a 5-2 win. The only statistic that matters is the score and it will be important for the Blues to capitalize when they have scoring chances.
Something to consider for those who bet online: Seven of the Blues’ last nine games against Colorado have gone over the total.
Blues vs Avalanche Head-to-Head
Colorado has won seven of the last eight games against St. Louis, including a four-game sweep in the 2021 playoffs. The Avalanche have won their last four postseason games on the road against the Blues, outscoring St. Louis 18-8.
Colorado has won the last five postseason games against St. Louis, featuring at least six combined goals.
St. Louis has scored first in all three games in the series.
The sportsbook is favoring Colorado to win in five games at a payout of +125. The Avalanche winning in six comes in at +250 and the odds change to +400 if St. Louis pushes Colorado to seven games. The odds for St. Louis winning in seven games is now at +850, with the odds of the Blues taking the next three games to stun the favored Avalanche in six games is +1200.
Avalanche vs Blues Game Information
- Game: Avalanche (56-19-7) vs Blues (49-22-11)
- Location: Enterprise Center, St. Louis, Mo.
- Day/Time: Monday, 9:30 p.m. ET
- Avalanche vs Blues Live Stream: NHL.TV
Avalanche vs Blues Betting Lines
Avalanche vs Blues Prediction
The loss of Binnington for the rest of the series is a big blow. Binnington leads all goalies with a 1.72 goals-against average in the playoffs.
St. Louis is still waiting for the return of defensemen Torey Krug and Marco Scandella. Scandella has a chance to be back for Game 4 while it is looking unlikely that Krug will be available for this series.
Colorado will also be short-handed on defense. Samuel Girard suffered a fractured sternum in the Game 3 win and will miss the rest of the series.
St. Louis has outshot Colorado 63-58 in the last two games and is +19 in faceoffs after the Avs dominated in both categories in the opening game of the series.
St. Louis figures to play like a desperate team to avoid going down 3-1 in the series. Will that be enough to even the series?
Pick: Colorado Avalanche -160
Pick: St. Louis Blues +1½ (-175)