The Avalanche took advantage of the Blues’ lack of composure and undisciplined play in Monday’s 6-3 Game 4 victory, pushing St. Louis to the brink of elimination.
NHL betting lines changed dramatically after the Game 4 result, with the Avs now pegged as astronomical -3333 favorites to slam shut the Blues coffin.
Down three games to one, St. Louis holds on to a mere flicker of hope, reflected by their +1200 odds.
A number of factors contributed to the Blues demise on home ice, none more pronounced than an uncharacteristic lack of discipline that led to a nigh wholesale collective meltdown.
Blues vs. Avalanche Odds, Moneyline, Over/Under
Moneyline: Blues (+200) | Avs (-250)
Spread: Blues +1.5 (-125) | Avs -1.5 (+105)
Total: 6.5 Over -110 | 6.5 Under -110
Blues vs. Avalanche Analysis
There is a lot to dissect from Monday’s emotionally fueled Game 4. It’s advantageous for a team in the playoffs to play on the edge, full-blooded and physically charged.
Playing with an edge, however, has its limits and can lead to an altogether destructive brand of hockey when raw emotion transitions to unchecked hysteria.
Completely preoccupied by seeking revenge on antagonist Nazem Kadri, who injured Jordan Binnington in Game 3, the Blues lost their collective composure, a surprising turn of events for a team awash with experience and maturity.
The Avs didn’t need any extra motivation but harnessed it expertly. Kadri scored a hat trick, thanks to players like David Perron and Pavel Buchnevich losing the plot, and played his most influential role since arriving in Colorado.
Ville Husso played fairly well but was unable to reach the indomitable heights set by Binnington in the series’ first two games. Aside from allowing an early goal and conceding two on the Blues’ formidable power-play, the Avs dominated every facet of Game 4.
Despite outshooting the Blues 15-3, the Avs went into the locker room a goal down after the first period. That relentless pressure had its desired effect in the second period when the Avs scored four goals in less than five minutes.
The Blues have relied on their power-play to bail them out for the duration of the postseason, which was again the case in Game 4. St. Louis scored two power-play goals late in the second, offering a lifeline going into the third.
Unfortunately for St. Louis, it was a case of too little too late. Husso wasn’t able to shut the door and Colorado, thanks to Kadri’s inspired outing, demonstrated why, according to NHL playoff odds, they’re the favorites to hoist the Stanley Cup.
In stark contrast to what transpired in Game 2, the Avs dominated the neutral zone and enjoyed a majority of their puck possession in St. Louis’ end. The top 18 individual expected goals percentages were all Avs’ players, another stat underlying the away team’s superiority.
When the Blues went down 3-1 early in the second, it felt like they lost faith in their ability to overcome the Western Conference’s top seed without Binnington between the pipes.
Even after their playoff-best power-play facilitated a way back into the contest, it was too late for the Blues to fully recover. You get the sense that sentiment now also applies to the series.
The Blues have too much pride, winning experience and pedigree to go down without so much as a whimper.
Expect a close contest in Game 5. However, the Avs should still prevail and close out the series at home on Wednesday.
Blues vs. Avalanche Best Bets
Spread: Blues +1.5 (-125)
Moneyline: Avs (-250)
Total: Over 6.5 (-110)