Initial observations from the Colorado Avalanche’s 6-3 win over the St. Louis Blues in Game 4 of their Western Conference playoff series.
1. Kadri’s sweet revenge
How do you respond when fans in a rival city are threatening your health off the ice and their favorite team — the Blues — are trying to take your head off while you’re on it? How do you get the last laugh? With your first playoff hat trick. And the first ever for an Avs skater on the road in the playoffs since the franchise relocated to the Front Range. St. Louis pundits termed the Blues’ meltdown in Game 3 “The Kadri Game” after the Avs center’s accidental spill into St. Louis goaltender Jordan Binnington. Close, but no cigar. After netting three goals, after all No. 91 had been through in the River City over the weekend, Game 4 was the real “Kadri Game.” And it always will be.
2. No Girard? No problem!
Samuel Girard’s pace and pluck were missed. But if there’s any roster that could absorb the loss of one of their top four defenseman, it’s this Avs bunch. Young d-man Bo Byram went into the game’s final four minutes with a new personal playoff best in points (two on two assists) while veteran Jack Johnson went into those final four minutes with a plus-2 rating in 14:21 of ice time. And those goals from Devon Toews and Erik Johnson didn’t hurt, either.
3. Silver lining of being down 1-0? History.
With the Blues getting on the board first (again), this marked the first time the Avs have given up the first goal in four straight postgame games since 1996. It happened once in Game 6 of the opening round vs. Vancouver (a 3-2 Avs win) and in Games 1-3 of the Western Conference quarterfinals vs. Chicago (the Avs opened that series down two games to one, then finished it by winning three straight). That spring wound up working out all right in the end, as Colorado went on to take out the rival Red Wings in the conference finals in six games and swept Florida in the Stanley Cup finals.