Tonight the St. Louis Blues begin their first-round playoff series in the COVID-era Honda West Division against the President's Trophy winners, the Colorado Avalanche (herein referred to as the Ice Kroenke's).
The Blues finished fourth in the West Division by a healthy margin finishing 12 points behind the third-place Minnesota Wild. The Blues, however, may be playing their best hockey, sporting only one regulation loss in their last ten games. The Ice Kroenke's sport an 8-2-0 record in their last ten, with one of those losses coming to the Blues (and if we went back one more game, you would find another). The Ice Kroenke's are lead by star players such as Nathan MacKinnon, Gabriel Landeskog, Cale Makar, etc. The Blues also have players, most notably Ryan O'Reilly, Justin Faulk, and David Per...well, maybe not.
Perron has appeared on the NHL's COVID Protocol list for the last couple of days, but hope remains that he is a false positive and will be eligible to play tonight. Coach Craig Berube has been tight-lipped about the situation regarding Perron, a sign that the tactics have begun and that the playoffs are truly here. Perron led the Blues in scoring this season, averaging a point per game. If Perron doesn't play in this series, it will be an even more, Herculean task to take down the Avs.
What must happen for the Blues to win the series?
Jordan Binnington will need to steal AT LEAST one game
David Perron needs to play in a majority of the games
Jordan Kyrou needs to play like Good Jordan Kyrou
Stay. Out. Of. The. Box.
Limit the big guns as much as you can. Seriously you won't keep MacKinnon, Girard, Burakovsky, Landeskog, Makar, Rantanen, and Kadri all off of the board.
Score more goals than the Avalanche in four games of the series.
This preview is an elementary look at how both teams performed, and I will do a deeper dive into each game with more stats/analysis as they conclude. This team feels a little bit like the team that won the Cup in 2019 as far as coming on hot later in the year, but I don't know how they will dictate the speed and skill of Colorado over the course of the year entire series. My prediction (which I hope is wrong): Ice Kroenkes in 6.