True to form, Colorado once again failed to show up for 60 minutes against a team that is not among the Western Conference elite. When faced with strong opposition, the Avs have put forth impressive efforts, but when going up against the lesser foes, Colorado’s play frequently seems uninspired. Last night’s game-winning goal was the result of some sloppy work by Jordan Leopold, deep in his own zone. After jumping to an early 1-0 lead on a Chris Stewart goal, the Avs continued their strong showing for the rest of the first period. Almost immediately after the intermission the wheels started to come off, when less than a minute into the second period, T.J. Oshie scored on a deflection to tie the game. All of the momentum Colorado had going for them now swung completely in the Blues’ direction and the Avs seemed flat for the rest of the period. Three minutes after the Oshie goal, Leopold coughed up the puck behind his own net and Brad Boyes set up Keith Tkachuk at the top of the face-off circle, for a one-timer that blew by Peter Budaj. The Slovak ‘keeper could be forgiven for those two goals, but only thirty seconds later, Boyes lifted a backhand past Budaj to take a 3-1 lead. From that point on, Colorado showed no signs of life for the rest of the frame. David Perron added another insurance tally early in the third, which made any late efforts that Colorado could muster, utterly futile.
It would have been easy for the Avs to roll over as soon the team’s leading scorer, Milan Hejduk, went straight to the dressing room with the team trainer, early in the first period. Instead, the troops rallied, and played the rest of the first with grit and determination. Now this is pure speculation, but did the players learn something about Hejduk’s injury during the first intermission that took the peppers out of their salsa? A completely different Colorado team emerged from the break and they no longer played like a team on a mission. Coach Tony Granato announced, after the game, that Hejduk is to be evaluated today for his jaw injury and that he hoped that it was nothing serious, so we’ll keep our fingers crossed. If Milan was able to scarf down a bunch of bacon and steak at today’s charity brunch at the Marriott City Center, then there is no need to worry, but if you spotted him sipping on a smoothie all afternoon, you might want to hold off on booking that flight to San Jose in April. This
Man of the match for St. Louis: Boyes, who had the two points along with going +3, while sending 7 shots towards Budaj
Av of the match: Stewart, who sent 9 shots towards Chris Mason, five of which were on net, one of which found the twine