Blues at Avalanche Preview: The wait is over! The St. Louis Blues are back! The 2021 season, albeit, likely strange, is ready to “drop the puck”. The Blues, who have waited since being eliminated from the “bubble” back on August 22nd by the Canucks are back! The opponent for the 2021 season opener is a tough one.
The big, bad Colorado Avalanche will host the Blues in the first two games of the season. The Avalanche are coming off a second-round loss to the Dallas Stars that went 7 games. The Avalanche come into this game listed at -145. Let’s take a look at the 2021 season opener for your St. Louis Blues!
Blues at Avalanche Preview: Blues With Some Changes
Remember 2019? Yeah, we do too. The St. Louis Blues were Stanley Cup Champions. Then, the 2020 version of the Blues were really freaking good, then the pause came… Then the bubble came, and the Blues were not real good. Vancouver took out the Blues in 6 games. The Blues made some changes from those versions, but not too many changes.
First – Craig Berube is still the incredible leader of the team. Berube took over mid-season during the 2019 season, and now sits with a 80-38-16 record as the head coach of the St. Louis Blues. Berube’s leadership proved to be incredibly strong during that season and the 2020 season. That’s the biggest key for the St. Louis Blues.
Second – the St. Louis Blues lost their captain Alex Pietrangelo. One of the best defenders in all of National Hockey is now a member of the Vegas Golden Knights. While that loss is going to be tough to overcome, there is reason for hope. Now, Ryan O’Reilly is the new captain, and his toughness is unmatched. There should be no loss of toughness with the leadership of the St. Louis Blues.
Third – Torey Krug was brought over from the Boston Bruins to help with the defense, and also improve the power play. Krug is 29 years old, and has 67 goals and has dished out more than 265 assists during his career. Krug will be matched along with Colton Parayko to keep the opponents away from the front of goaltender Jordan Binnington.
Fourth – Jordan Binnington is back and ready for an incredible 2021 season. The third-round pick in 2011 from Richmond Hill Ontario, Canada. Binnington burst onto the scene during the 2019 Stanley Cup run, and has won 54 games in 83 career starts in the regular season. Binnington’s 2.56 goals against average certainly was higher than his rookie campaign, he still showed the skills to make him an elite goaltender in this league. He will face a tough task against one of the toughest offenses in the league on Wednesday against the Avalanche.
Fifth – the Blues got some offensive help. While Alex Steen retired, and Jay Bouwmeester retired, the addition of Mike Hoffman is a great find. The 31-year-old signed a $4M contract for this season. Hoffman led the Florida Panthers the last two seasons in goals scored with 65 in 161 games. He also added 64 assists. He will be a great addition, especially with the loss of Vladimir Tarasenko, who is out with a shoulder injury.
Blues at Avalanche Preview: Avalanche with Fire Power
The Colorado Avalanche come in with some incredible firepower. The Avalanche are going to bring a heavy dose of Gabriel Landeskog and Nathan MacKinnon, and now the addition of Brandon Saad will assist. Saad is just 28 years old, and brings all sorts of offensive experience to the table.
Phillipp Grubaurer will get the nod in between the pipes for the Avalanche. Head coach Jared Bednar chose him despite him missing the first three days of training camp due to COVID protocol. The goaltender started 36 games last year during the regular season. This will be his third season with the Avalanche. He sits with a career 2.29 goals against average in his career.
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Blues at Avalanche Preview: Wednesday Thriller
This should be a great game on Wednesday night. Friday will be interesting with both teams getting together again to start the season. It appears this first game may not be as physical as the season will eventually get, as teams try to feel themselves out. This is going to be an interesting season, with new divisional rivals playing out.
Have no doubts, along with Vegas, the Blues and Avalanche are favorites to win the Honda West Division. These two teams will play 8 times during the regular season, including three straight late in April. Look for this, again to be a feeling-out period.
The Blues are going to win this game on Wednesday. Why? Jordan Binnington. The goaltender is ready to stand on his head and show that 2019 was not a fluke. Also, look for Mike Hoffman to get the Blues on the board early in his career. In fact, the winning goal. The Blues win this game on Wednesday!
Bet the Blues as the underdog on Wednesday! LGB!
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