As far as the result of this game, it was fairly shocking for the Blues to come back and win on the road. It felt like the Avalanche had the majority of the energy and momentum all night. The Blues were incredibly resilient and were able to finish it off in overtime.
This game was the definition of what these NHL playoffs have been, offensive battles and electric back-and-forth play. The Blues are still down 3-2 in the series, but they had to have picked up some momentum and confidence with this win. The key stat of Game 5 comes from the physicality as the Blues had 47 hits to the Avalanche’s 31, it was a physical game and represented what playoff hockey is supposed to be.
Blues’ Incredible Comeback in the Third Period
The Blues entered the third period being down 3-1 and outshot 24-18, which is closer than it felt throughout the course of the first two periods. They withstood an early push from the Avalanche and made a push of their own around the 12-minute mark.
It’s important to note that Alexei Toropchenko was tremendous throughout the entire game on the forecheck and his general skating ability. He got an assist on the Justin Faulk goal that tied the game up at three with under six minutes to go. Pavel Buchnevich also made a few brilliant plays in this game, including a primary assist on the Robert Thomas goal that made it 3-2.
Oh, and it’s easy to forget that Nick Leddy had four assists in this game, which was his career-high in a playoff game. In 129 playoff games, Leddy has scored multiple points in only one other game, 2015 with the New York Islanders. That is a remarkable stat and another shocking part of Game 5. He continues to be a solid defenseman for the Blues after they acquired him at the trade deadline.
Robert Thomas Wakes Up
The Blues needed Thomas to wake up at some point, and he most certainly did in Game 5. He registered six shots on goal and had two goals while playing over 20 minutes. It certainly helped that Buchnevich and Vladimir Tarasenko played great games as well.
Thomas had just three assists in 10 games during these playoffs, and all of those helpers came in the first-round series against the Minnesota Wild. He has a much better shot than he seems to think, and he finally fired more pucks on net in Game 5 scoring two goals including the one that sent the game to overtime.
Clearly, the Blues felt they were playing with house money when they went down 3-0 and played much looser but in a good way. A more confident Thomas is great for the Blues, as he was fantastic in the regular season with 77 points in 72 games. Sometimes, players who have great regular seasons struggle in the playoffs, but Thomas is getting more time to redeem himself.
Back Home to St. Louis for Game 6
The Blues have two wins and three losses at the Enterprise Center in the playoffs, including an 0-2 record in this series. They have struggled for most of this series at home, being outscored 11-5 in those two games, but they can redeem themselves in Game 6.
They’re going to need a lot from Ville Husso to withstand the inevitable push from the Avalanche to start the next game. The Blues also need to get off to better starts. Despite getting the first goal in four of five games, they have been outplayed early.
This should be an incredible game as the Avalanche have their second chance to close the Blues out, and the Blues will once again play with their backs against the wall. Look for them to be physical and aggressive early in Game 6, while trying to neutralize the Avalanche’s lethal attack.
I have been covering sports for nearly a decade. I started with FanSided as a Baseball Contributor. Now I am writing about the NHL and the St. Louis Blues for The Hockey Writers. I grew up in Central Illinois as a huge fan of every sport. Finally, I do various podcasting across all major platforms.