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Recap: Colorado avoids singing the Blues tonight

Mar 19, 2024; St. Louis, Missouri, USA; Colorado Avalanche right wing Mikko Rantanen (96) reacts after scouring his third goal of the game for a hat trick against the St. Louis Blues during the third period at Enterprise Center. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

Make that seven in a row, folks. Tonight saw the Colorado Avalanche take on the St. Louis Blues for the fourth and final game of this recent road trip that they’ve been on. It would be the Avs to ultimately come out on top by a final score of 4-3.

Let’s break down all the action from tonight!

First Period

Colorado would end up getting on the scoreboard first. At the 6:36 mark, Mikko Rantanen scored his 35 goal of the season. This play would start with Nathan MacKinnon gaining the offensive zone simply by willing his way down the wing. Rantanen entered the zone right behind MacKinnon and found the soft spot right in the middle of three St. Louis players. MacKinnon was able to find him with a pass, and Rantanen ripped the puck past Jordan Binnington from the top of the circles.

As both of these teams need all the points they can get in their respective scenarios, the Blues did have some pushback in this period. At the 8:48 mark, Nathan Walker would tie the game up for St. Louis. Colorado ended up getting stuck in their zone for an incredibly long shift before this goal. Walker was left all alone at the top of the zone and just had all sorts of time to walk the puck to the faceoff dot. Kevin Hayes also set a screen in front of Justus Annunen, and Walker wired the shot past Annunen.

Second Period

Well, this sport is just incredibly weird sometimes, what the heck are you gonna do? At the 4:44 mark in this period, Alexey Toropchenko gave the Blues a go-ahead goal. There’s nothing special to this goal, no offense meant to St. Louis, but this goal is kind of a Plinko game ultimately. Justin Faulk initially threw the puck toward the Colorado net, and Annunen made the initial save. However, he was unable to hold onto the puck, and Toropchenko was able to push it home past Annunen.

After that, at the 6:41 mark, Casey Mittelstadt would tie the game up at two for Colorado. This goal would start with Mittelstadt winning a faceoff in the offensive zone. Samuel Girard would take the puck and work it down behind the St. Louis net. Mittelstadt would then find some space right in front of the Blues’ net, Girard would put a perfect feed right out in front for Mittelstadt, and he would find the back of the net.

St. Louis wasn’t too keen on going away tonight, however, and they would get another go-ahead goal at the 8:43 mark of this period. What started as a faceoff in the Colorado zone would ultimately turn into a 2-on-1 for the Blues. Cale Makar was left all alone to defend it, and he took away the shot option from Jake Neighbors. Neighbors would pass the puck to Brayden Schenn, and he would bury it to give the Blues a 3-2 lead.

Before the second period was over, however, Rantanen would net his second of the night to tie the game. Colorado would start this play by going to work on the powerplay. Valeri Nichushkin was camped down in front of the net and initially fed the puck up top for Jonathan Drouin. Drouin was then able to find Rantanen with a shot-pass, who was right in front of the St. Louis net, and he deflected it in at the 18:46 mark.

Third Period

Finally, it was Colorado’s turn to get a go-ahead goal. At the 4:15 mark of the period it would be, guess who, Rantanen scoring his third of the night for the lead. For this play, it actually started as what initially looked like a routine breakout for the Blues. However, Nichushkin was an absolute puck-hound in the St. Louis zone and forced a turnover. At that point, Rantanen was able to get off the wall and head towards the front of the net with Nichushkin. Nichushkin would find Rantanen with a perfect pass, who would beat Binnington for the hat-trick.

Rantanen’s hat-trick goal would ultimately be the game-winner. St. Louis would pull their goalie for a 6-on-5 advantage in an attempt to tie the game but were unable to find the equalizer to force overtime as time expired.

Yeti Takeaways

First, just to get this out of the way quickly, the quality of the opponent should not put an asterisk on this win by any means. Because similarly to Colorado, St. Louis came into this game riding a four-game win streak of their own. They’re currently fighting for their playoff lives, and every single point matters just as much if not more than it does for the Avs. Tonight was going to be a tough matchup no matter what because of that. If anything, this win should prove the tenacity of this Avalanche squad. They were down by a goal not once, but twice during this game, and they managed to claw their way back every single time.

Rantanen has looked more and more like the dominant player that we saw last season recently, and tonight was certainly no exception. He put up an absolute monster effort tonight, ultimately ending up with a hat-trick. You definitely don’t expect him to net a hat trick every single night. But, in what was ultimately an incredibly tight game, you more often than not need that kind of effort from your super-star players to get you across the finish line in games like this one.

Annunen too, what a game from him as well. He’s had some phenomenal outings lately, but tonight was a game where you just needed him to be one save better than the guy across from him. The margin for error proved to be razor-thin tonight, as shown by the final score, and he was up to the task. Ultimately, Annunen stopped 30-of-33 shots for a .909 save percentage on the night.

Next on the Mountain

They say there’s no place like home. Colorado will return to Ball Arena on Friday, March 22 to take on the Columbus Blue Jackets for the first time this season. The puck will drop at 7:00 p.m. MST.

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