Game Report: Avalanche 2, Blues 1 (shootout)

By Nicholas Hand

A lackluster performance against the worst team in the NHL was still enough for the Blues to clinch a playoff spot but not enough to defeat the Colorado Avalanche on Friday night as they lost in a shootout.

Ryan Reaves scored the lone goal for the Blues in the first period with Jake Allen making 31 saves and being a large reason the Blues guaranteed they will make a sixth consecutive appearance in the playoffs.

The Blues gained a point in the standings pushing them two points ahead of the Nashville Predators for the third seed in the Central Division with 91 points. The two teams meet on Sunday afternoon in St. Louis with just five games remaining in the regular season. Nashville could tie the Blues for third if they can defeat Minnesota at home on Saturday.

By getting the one point Friday night the Blues eliminated the Los Angeles Kings, which also clinched a playoff spot for the Calgary Flames.

St. Louis controlled the play in the first period and took a 1-0 lead with 7:31 remaining in the first stanza.

Reaves fifth goal of the season came on a deflection of the Scottie Upshall shot that eluded Avs goaltender Calvin Pickard. Defenseman Jordan Schmaltz assist on the goal for his first NHL career point.

The Blues finished the first period with a 13-5 shot advantage over Colorado.
The Avalanche flipped the script in the second period dominating much of the action while outshooting St. Louis 15-4.

Colorado evened the score on J.T. Compher’s third of the season at 11:49 of the period. Nathan MacKinnon created the opportunity with an impressive rush following a pass by Tyson Barrie.

MacKinnon zipped into the Blues zone and fired a shot at Allen with the rebound coming straight to Compher’s stick for the open net goal.

The Blues were fortunate to enter the third period tied due to the goaltending of Allen keeping Colorado to only one goal despite the barrage.

The Blues failed to rebound with Colorado getting the better of the scoring chances for the second consecutive period but were unable to make St. Louis pay for a below-average third period.

The Blues also had luck on their side as the Avalanche hit both a crossbar and then a post in the final five minutes of regulation.

The overtime session failed to produce a decision but provided end to end action with both teams having several chances to end the game.

Matt Duchene and MacKinnon scored for the Avs in the shootout . Alexander Steen and Vladimir Tarasenko failed to score on their attempts for the Blues, who are now 11-1-2 in their last 14 games
Of Note:
Robert Bortuzzo left the game in the second period with an upper-body injury and didn’t return.

Looking Ahead:
The Blues return home for a pivotal matchup against the Nashville Predators on Sunday afternoon. The starting time for the game has been moved up to 3 p.m.