The St. Louis Blues were too concerned about getting hits on Nazem Kadri. The Colorado Avalanche center was too concerned with winning a hockey game.
The Avalanche scored four goals in a span of 4:53 – including three on three consecutive shots – in the second period, lifting them to a 6-3 victory over the Blues on Monday. Kadri had two goals in that burst and finished with his first career playoff hat trick. The win gave the Avs a 3-1 lead in the series.
Here are three takeaways from Colorado’s Game 4 victory:
Kadri Silences Crowd
After Blues goaltender Jordan Binnington left Game 3 with a knee injury, many fans – and Binnington himself –focused their scorn on Nazem Kadri. The blame went to the Avalanche veteran for causing the injury. That ire spilled over into Game 4, with Blues players drilling Kadri every chance they got. Colorado’s standout center kept his cool and calmly recorded the first playoff hat trick of his career.
Targeting Kadri started early. Brayden Schenn got in his face right off the opening faceoff, and he was targeted by a tackle from David Perron and a cheap shot cross-check from behind from Pavel Buchnevich early in the second. Kadri kept his cool, and the Avalanche got a 5-on-3 power play for St. Louis’ efforts. The Avalanche didn’t score on the power play, but Kadri scored his second of the game seconds after the penalties expired, giving the Avalanche a three-goal lead. The goal off of the penalties also proved to be the game-winner.
The goal gave Colorado a 4-1 lead and was their fourth in a span of 4:53. Kadri also had the second goal in that surge. He is coming off of a career year, where he rattled off highs in assists (59) and points (87). After Monday’s game, he has five goals and four assists in the postseason.
Johnson Gets Things Started
Erik Johnson has never been known for his scoring prowess, especially in the playoffs. The veteran defenseman scored the first goal of the game for the Avalanche, slipping a patient low wrister from the point past St. Louis goaltender Ville Husso early in the second. The goal kicked off Colorado’s buzzsaw of four goals in the span of 4:53 to take a 4-1 lead.
The goal was Johnson’s first of the postseason, which wasn’t a surprise. It was his first postseason goal since May 5, 2019, and only the fourth of his career. It was also his first point of the second round. He had three assists in the four-game sweep of the Nashville Predators in the first round.
Johnson has only played for two teams in his 14-year NHL career – the Blues and the Avalanche. He was taken by the Blues with the first overall pick in the 2006 NHL Entry Draft and played his first two-plus seasons for them before they traded him to Colorado late in the 2010-11 season. None of the other players – Duncan Siemens, Jay McClement, Ty Rattie, or Chris Stewart – are still in the NHL.
Toews Continues Great Postseason
Devon Toews isn’t the first name that comes to mind when thinking of the high-powered Colorado offense. The defenseman is starting to get his name right up there with the rest of the big guns, though. He scored his fourth goal of the playoffs – coming just 19 seconds after Kadri’s first goal – to keep the big second-period surge by the Avalanche going.
All of the attention was on Cale Makar after the first-round sweep of the Predators, as the standout defenseman piled up 10 points in the four games. Lost in that shuffle was the series Toews had. He scored three goals and two assists across that quartet of first-round games. The goal on Monday was his first point of the second round, but he has been very active on offense. In the four games against St. Louis, he has 10 shots on goal.
Entering the postseason, Toews had just four goals in 40 playoff games in his career. He’s matched that total in these playoffs and is just four points away from matching his career high for points in a single postseason. The victory pushed Colorado to 7-1 against the Blues in the postseason over the last two campaigns. They now lead the series 3-1 as it heads back to Colorado for Game 4 on Wednesday.
Lifelong storyteller and experienced hockey reporter that has covered everything from major juniors to the NHL. Worked for various newspapers across Minnesota and North Dakota, and now covering the Colorado Avalanche for THW.