Colorado Avalanche set to face St. Louis Blues in Round 2 of NHL Playoffs

The Colorado Avalanche playoff run started off really well. After sweeping the Nashville Predators in the first round of the NHL Playoffs, the team had to wait four days to find out who their next opponent will be. Once again, they will meet the St. Louis Blues.

The Blues took Game 6 against the Minnesota Wild on a 5-1 win. Now, they move on to face one of the Stanley Cup favorites for this year. And, the Avalanche playoff history against the Blues is very favorable.

Blues Find Themselves As Colorado Avalanche Playoff Obstacle Once Again

Avalanche vs Nashville

Everyone knew — or at least had an idea — that this series would not end well for Nashville. They started off by losing their #1 goaltender, Juuse Saros, even before the regular season ended. And he didn’t recover from his lower-body injury on time to help the team. David Rittich, their backup, didn’t have a good regular season with a 6-3-4 record and a .886 save percentage. He started Game 1, but allowed five goals in 13 shots and got pulled in favor of Connor Ingram.

Now, here’s the thing: if a team is not very well structured defensively and offensively, they can’t hold Colorado back. That definitely won’t happen when a third-string goalie is in net. That’s not saying that Ingram is bad, and he wasn’t the problem throughout this series. But making saves is not enough when the team can’t score. Nashville had a lot of problems scoring, with only nine goals in four games.

Colorado did an amazing job holding them back, and an even better job at finding chances to score. Defenceman and Norris Trophy finalist Cale Makar had three goals and 10 points in four games, Nathan MacKinnon had five goals and six points. Everyone was contributing! That’s what they’ll need as the Avalanche playoff run continues.

Blues vs Wild

The Blues started off the series against Minnesota with a 5-0 win, and that should’ve been a look into the future on how this would end. However, in Game 2 defenceman Nick Leddy was hurt. In Game 3, defenceman Torey Krug was also injured — and the Blues lost both games.

They bounced back in Game 4, but lost Marco Scandella for Game 5. Again, the Blues were facing a series full of injuries that could seriously hurt their playoff chances. But they managed to stick together and win three straight games to take the series, even without both Krug and Scandella, two of their main defencemen.

Now, here are a few key factors that will influence a second round between the Avalanche and the blues.

Key factors for Colorado Avalanche vs St. Louis Blues


Both teams have amazing goaltenders. Even though Ville Husso struggled a bit in the first round, he still had a .906 save percentage. Jordan Binnington went back to the 2019 Blues playoff run and got his game back together. He had a .943 save percentage against the Wild and won all three games, allowing only five goals. Both were great in the first round and were key factors for the Blues advancing to the second round.

For Colorado, it is a very similar situation. Darcy Kuemper, their starter, was injured in the first period of Game 3 and Pavel Francouz had to take over. However, Francouz had stellar performances on both Games 3 and 4 to finish the series, holding Nashville winless. Now, Kuemper is good to go, according to Jared Bednar after Thursday’s practice, which is good news for the team.

Even though it is still unknown, this probably means he will be the starter against the Blues. Against the Predators, Kuemper had a .934 save percentage, only allowing four goals in three games started. He’ll try to help the Colorado Avalanche playoff run continue and the team move on from the second round for the first time since 2002.

Special Teams

Something to keep an eye on is the special teams for both teams. Colorado has a better power play, with a 30.8% success throughout four games in the playoffs. However, the Blues also have a better penalty kill, with 83.3% success in six games. This should be an interesting match-up. When these teams faced each other in the first round of last year’s playoffs, the Avalanche had a 50% success on the power play, which didn’t make much of a difference — they still swept the Blues. However, it shows how strong the Blues’ penalty kill was.

Now, they’re without both Scandella and Krug, both being huge factors for their PK. But, to succeed in stopping the Colorado Avalanche playoff run from continuing beyond the second round, they’ll have to find a way to stop Colorado’s power play first.

Cale Makar #8 of the Colorado Avalanche advances the puck against Nathan Walker  #26 of the St Louis Blues in the second period at Ball Arena on April 26, 2022 in Denver, Colorado.
Photo Credit: Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

What to expect from this series

As we wait for the rest of the first round to finish and the second to start, there are a few things to know about Colorado vs. St. Louis. The first one is that this will be a physical series, with the Avalanche trying to repeat last year’s success and the Blues trying to get their revenge.

But this shouldn’t be a high-scoring series. Both teams have amazing goaltending and a solid defensive system which means that, if everything works out well and no injuries happen, we should have some very close games. A seven-game series is likely between these two — unlike last year’s first round.

What The Buffalo Sabres Can Expect From Owen Power

Owen Power
Photo by Fred Kfoury III/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The first overall pick from the 2021 NHL Draft is set to make his debut on Tuesday against the Toronto Maple Leafs

The Owen Power NHL debut has been long-awaited by the Buffalo Sabres fans since his name was announced by their general manager Kevyn Adams back in July. Now, the 19-year-old is about to make his NHL debut against the team he grew up watching. But what can Buffalo expect from the six-foot-six defenseman? That’s what will be answered here.

What Power did for the Michigan Wolverines

The young Canadian defenseman played the past two seasons for the University of Michigan. He was only 17 when he joined the Wolverines for the first time, but his talent and ability were clear. He belonged there. Power quickly became an important player for Michigan not only defensively but offensively too. He played 26 games, scoring three goals and 13 assists for 16 points.

In addition to a great season, Power was named the to Big Ten All-Rookie team and Second All-Star team. Due to a COVID outbreak, Michigan had to withdraw from the NCAA Frozen Four, but Power’s strong impression was already there.

The World Championship

After ending his first season in college, he was invited to join Team Canada at the Men’s World Championship in May. Power joined the team as an extra, as he was only 18 at the time, but quickly escalated from that to playing top-pair minutes. As had happened prior in Michigan, he quickly became a key player and helped the team win Gold against Finland. Power became a world champion before even getting drafted. Talk about having a good résumé.

Leading up to the draft

Power was cited by all the major NHL outlets as the #1 prospect in his draft class. Buffalo followed the lead. He was already 6’5″ and even though it can be hard for a guy that tall to skate well, it wasn’t for him. His vision of the game was great, his passing skills were amazing and his defensive game was almost perfect. Everything put together formed the perfect candidate for a first overall pick.

On July 23, when Adams announces their first overall pick, his name is cheered across the country. It was go time. But instead of doing what every first overall did in the past 10 years – go straight to the pros – he chose not to. The then 18-year-old chose to stay in Michigan for another year. With Matty Beniers (Seattle Kraken) and Kent Johnson (Columbus Blue Jackets) returning as well, he felt like Michigan had a real shot. He wasn’t wrong.

The post-draft 2021-22 season

What happened next is history. Power had a terrific 2021-22 season, playing even better than he did before. He had 32 points in 33 games and was playing top-pair minutes every night.

Besides being a star player for Michigan, Power got to represent Team Canada twice on the international level. The first time was at the U20 Men’s World Juniors, where he became the first Canadian defenseman to score a hat trick at the tournament. The WJC ended up being cancelled due to Covid, but history had already been made. Then, he was invited to join the team in the Winter Olympics, leading the team in ice-time averaging 21:38.

Going back to Michigan, the team had been preparing to end the season well and go to the playoffs. They went to the Frozen Four this year but got eliminated by Denver, the current National Champions, in the semi-finals. The next day, Power signed his contract.

Owen Power brings size, physicality and excitement to the young Sabres

Now that you know everything Power did in the past year and a half, let’s move on to what he brings to the table. Owen Power is a big defenseman, with his 6’6″ figure being the tallest on the team. As said before, his height is not a problem for him and he uses it to his advantage. He’s a really good skater and his long strides make him fast, which are good qualities for the Sabres. His hockey IQ is off the charts. And his stick reach helps him do poke checks and battle along the boards without much difficulty.

For a guy his size, it’s expected for him to be a little clumsy and take a lot of penalties. But as far as it’s been shown, Power knows his body and size enough to be careful. He’s not scared to go deep into the offensive zone to look for chances. That usually doesn’t end well but as mentioned, he’s fast. The 19-year-old can get back into position without much struggle.

He’s also a likable kid who’s been welcomed since day one by the entire team. After one morning skate on Sunday and a practice on Monday, everyone is excited to have him. During his media interview after practice, Power expressed his gratitude.

“I think every guy just been so good, especially to me coming in,” the rookie said. “Everyone’s been so welcoming and so nice to me. They’re always trying to include me in everything. I think they’ve done a great job making it easy for me to kind of come in and adjust.”

He’s here and he’s (almost) perfect

All of the above are big reasons why the Sabres are excited to have him. He’ll bring a much needed boost of energy into the roster and will help them for years. He’s not perfect and will need help from his teammates. But he’s as close to perfect as the team can get right now.

Power was paired with Henri Jokiharju during Monday’s practice. Head coach Don Granato expressed that the pair feels right and that’s a good indicator that he’ll keep the pair together for Tuesday night.