Opening its Twenty fifth-anniversary season at dwelling with a brand new uniform ensemble didn’t go properly for the Avalanche on Wednesday.
The St. Louis Blues, the 2019 Stanley Cup champions, dominated the first interval and scored twice within the third to skate away with a 4-1 victory at Ball Arena.
The Avs struggled at each ends of the ice, and goalie Philipp Grubauer — who missed the first three days of coaching camp as a result of of COVID protocol — was not on his game.
Leading 2-1 early within the third interval, Blues fourth-line grinder Kyle Clifford beat Grubauer with a wrist shot earlier than the goalie raised his glove, and Colorado’s tried comeback changed into panic mode. St. Louis’ third aim was simply the 62nd of Clifford’s penalty-filled 677-game NHL profession.
Eight minutes after Clifford struck, Oskar Sundqvist added his second of the night time and the rout was on.
Avs celebrity middle Nathan MacKinnon, in the meantime, was held pointless and his line didn’t rating at even-strength.
With solely relations of Avalanche gamers in attendance, the group honored former basic supervisor Pierre Lacroix, who died Dec. 13 of COVID-related points, with a video tribute and second of silence. And then he Avalanche scored first however in any other case had a poor first interval.
St. Louis produced 18 of the 23 photographs within the body and bought objectives from Sundqvist at 9:29 and Jordan Kyrou at 13:15 to take the lead it could by no means relinquish.
The Avs, nevertheless, got here out a special group within the second interval, producing 15 of the first 18 photographs and getting lots of high quality possibilities on St. Louis’ Jordan Binnington. But no pucks bought behind the goalie, regardless of two Avalanche energy performs, and it stood 2-1 getting into the third.
The Avs couldn’t get a lot going offensively within the remaining body and had been outshot 9-7.
Winger Andre Burakovsky bought the game’s first aim on the Avs’ second energy play, capping a damaged play with an enormous slap shot from the suitable circle 4:55 into the game. J.T. Compher bought the first help, however his supposed one-touch go to Nazem Kadri went via Kadri’s legs and slid to the suitable circle the place Burakovsky slammed it in.
This was the first of eight video games against the Blues, as all eight West Division opponents play one another eight occasions within the 56-game common season. Game 2 against St. Louis is Friday when the groups full a two-game sequence in Denver.
Tempers are certain to aptitude because the Avs and Blues have already got a rivalry. Before COVID suspended play in March final season, the Avalanche stood second within the Central Division and the Western Conference with 92 factors — two behind the Blues, who had performed one further game than the Avs.
Footnotes. The Avs fell to 4-1 in season openers underneath coach Jared Bednar. Colorado is 16-6-3 in dwelling openers, together with 14-4-2 mark at Ball Arena. … Former Avs middle Ryan O’Reilly made his debut because the Blues’ captain. He replaces defenseman Alex Pietrangelo, who signed with the Vegas Golden Knights. … Former University of Denver and Dallas Stars head coach Jim Montgomery made his debut as a St. Louis assistant.