St. Louis Blues: 3 bold predictions vs. Avalanche in 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs
The St. Louis Blues managed to get past the Minnesota Wild in the first round of the 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs, but they have a far more difficult test awaiting them in Round 2. Their reward for fending off Kirill Kaprizov’s onslaught of goals is a date with Nathan MacKinnon, Cale Makar, and the Colorado Avalanche. The Avs are fresh off a 4-0 sweep of the Nashville Predators in the first round and will enter this series well-rested, but that doesn’t mean fans should write off the Blues. We’ll be making a few bold Blues-Avalanche predictions for their second-round series.
The Blues were able to fend off Kaprizov’s relentless goalscoring in their opening-round series, but the defense will need to account for their opponents’ star players far better against the Avs, who have star players across various lines. The likes of Gabriel Landeskog, MacKinnon, Nazem Kadri, Mikko Rantanen, Cale Makar, Valeri Nichushkin, and various more will all need to be accounted for and could cause the Blues problems.
That said, Colorado isn’t impenetrable defensively. The Blues have a bundle of lethal offensive players, including Jordan Kyrou, Vladimir Tarasenko, David Perron, Robert Thomas, Ryan O’Reilly, and more. Those guys can all be huge difference-makers in the series and may be able to get some goals past the Avs’ defense.
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3 bold Blues predictions vs. Avalanche in 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs
3. Jordan Binnington turns back the clocks
Jordan Binnington won the Stanley Cup in his first season in the NHL, showing his potential to become one of the game’s great net-minders. Unfortunately, he hasn’t lived up to the billing since then. This season, Binnington recorded just a .901 save percentage and surrendered over 3 goals per game for the first time in his career. Those aren’t terrible numbers, but he’ll need to be more effective if he’s to keep Colorado from running up the score. We’re expecting Binnington to have a huge series against the Avs and keep St. Louis close in games throughout the series.
2. Vladimir Tarasenko records a point in every game
Vladimir Tarasenko is one of the most experienced players in this series and he’ll be looking to leave his mark on each and every game. When he’s playing at his best, the Blues are a much better team, and now that he’s fully healthy they’ll look to show that. Tarasenko recorded 6 points in as many games against the Wild and we’re expecting him to stay hot against the Avalanche in the second round. This is Tarasenko’s ninth trip to the playoffs, and that experience could come in handy against the young stars in Colorado.
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1. Ryan O’Reilly leads the charge as St. Louis stuns Colorado
If the Blues are going to win this series, it’s almost certain to require seven games. They’ll have to poach a game on the road against the Avs, who were absolutely dominant on their home ice this year. That said, the Blues have some valuable leadership and Stanley Cup championship experience that can take them a long way. Having won it all just a few years ago, the team’s captain and leader Ryan O’Reilly will look to command his repeat his phenomenal playoff performance from 2018-19, during which he logged 23 points in 26 games. If he can keep rolling after logging 8 points in the opening series, there’s a chance St. Louis pulls off the miracle upset.