Blues: The Shots that brought down the Avalanche

The St. Louis Blues season seemed doomed. The Colorado Avalanche had St. Louis fans cussing up a storm, not once but twice. All-world Nathan MacKinnon was on a mission to do so.

In a span of four minutes and 46 seconds, those who cheer for the Note went from doom and gloom to hope, back to that sick feeling in your stomach to complete disbelief. And this was before the overtime period even started.

MacKinnon completed his second playoff hat trick in as many seasons, both against the Blues with just two minutes and 46 seconds remaining in the third. It felt as if destiny was fickle for Blues fans, and the end was quickly approaching.

What made all of this worse was the Avalanche were leading by three goals as late as 14 minutes and 42 seconds in the second period. While the Blues were tied with the Minnesota Wild and Tampa Bay Lightning as the third-best come from behind team, they had only come back from 3 goals down once this season.

Vladimir Tarasenko got St Louis on the board with a snipe from inside the circles that surprised everyone, especially Avs netminder Darcy Kuemper. The Blues would enter the third, down 3-1.

Again, things seemed bleak. The blues had only come from behind by two goals in the third once this season. They were playing the mighty Avalanche, after all. This Blues team and her fans have been taken through the wringer in the last 72 hours. Rightfully so or not, it is not fun when it happens.

A few rotten apples spoil the bunch, and the old adage works here. The ones who went there are the ones to blame, not the team or fan base. Please remember that.

On the BlueNote Fan Report, I say that it takes one to get two, which is what St. Louis did.

Pavel Buchnevich took the puck deep past the Avs net and put a perfect pass on Robert Thomas‘s stick. Thomas got his first goal of these playoffs at the perfect time. His second would “even be more perfecter.” (sorry, those were the best words my 10-year-old fan self could find)

What once seemed impossible became reachable. The deficit was now one, and there were just under ten minutes to minutes left in the game and maybe the season.

Enter Justin Faulk. The Defenseman. The Blues’ defensive core had taken its share of hits this postseason. Faulk, how had his postseason ended early in 2021 by Game four-star Nazem Kadri, got a little retribution, or so we thought.

With time winding down on the Blue’s hopes, Alexey Toropchenko fired an all-most point-blank shot at Kuemper’s pads that bounced to both Faulk and Jordan Kyrou. Faulk was initially credited for the goal, but the NHL changed it to Kyrou.

The team had dreamed the impossible dream, and they came all the way back—a tied game. You could feel the excitement throughout Blues’ Nation.

It would last all of 120 seconds. That is when MacKinnon, who had the first two goals of the first period and game, did this.

What could easily be the goal of the playoffs, or possibly the goal of the year, stunned the Note fans into complete silence. You could hear the curse words up and down the mighty Mississippi and Missouri rivers.

The season was over. The tears flowed as quickly as the Avs faithful rained down hats on the ice. Two minutes and 46 seconds were all that was left in the offensive explosion that was the 21-22 season for the Blues.

No one told Thomas or Nick Leddy or Faulk.

With the goalie pulled, Gabriel Landeskog, the Avs’ other goal scorer this game, had a view at the empty net that would have sealed the boys from under the Arch fate, but a heads up play by Faulk prevented the shot on goal and led to the shot that caused an avalanche of disbelief.

Tarasenko, who the fan base has criticized along with Thomas for not showing up this series, picked the final 56 seconds to shut them up.

Tarasenko repeated the move by his fellow Russian teammate and, from a sharp angle, put a puck off of Kuemper’s pad that left a rebound. Thomas was there to slam it home.

Just when it felt like the Avalanche had snatched overtime from the Blues, they found it again. The game was tied at four.

This postseason the Blues had not lost a game when scoring four or more goals. The Blues and old man Tyler Bozak kept that streak alive.

Ivan Barbashev, another player, admonished for not showing up in the playoff, crossed the blueline and, met with some resistance, fired the puck into the opposite corner, where Bozak was able to win the battle. He pushed the puck up to the blueline, where Leddy, who had a three-assist night, fought to keep the puck in the zone. He fired the puck toward the net, where it bounced off an avalanche player onto the waiting stick of one Bozak.

In less than 20 minutes, it felt as if the karma train had run smack into the Avalanche for a second time.

This series was always going at least six games. Blues fans will get one last chance for redemption. Karma and fate made sure it did.

To the faithful of the Note, now is not the time to gloat, pound our chests, or even say I told you so. Now is the time to show the hockey world how classy we can be. Cheer just a bit for Kadri. Let him know that was not the real fans.

Applaud the Avalance for what they have done so far. They are a great team. No matter what happens on Friday night, the boys in Blue have given you one last chance to show the world what it means to be a Blues Fan.

Till next time hockey fans.

Guy Bensing

Guy Bensing is a retired Navy vet and aspiring writer and journalist. He is a lifelong sports fan and follows mostly St. Louis Based teams including the Blues Cardinals and the City SC. He is the owner and operator of stlfanreport.com and hosts the BlueNote Fan Report on YouTube and Facebook

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