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Keys to Victory: St. Louis Blues vs. Colorado Avalanche (Game 5)

For the second time in the second round, we have an elimination game on our hands. Here's what you need to know ahead of Game 5 between the St. Louis Blues and Colorado Avalanche.
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For the second time in the second round, we have an elimination game on our hands.

The Colorado Avalanche have a 3-1 series lead over St. Louis, coming off a 6-3 win over St. Louis on Monday. The Avalanche have just one loss in eight playoff games and have clearly cemented themselves as a playoff favorite.

But the Blues are no strangers to playoff adversity, and they still have a lot of the same core that won the Stanley Cup in 2019. But the team's inability to ignore Nazem Kadri has given Colorado every opportunity to steal wins -- and they don't need help to do that.

Here's what to look for ahead of Game 5:

The Blues need to focus, focus, focus

Nazem Kadri is having one heck of a series, but, in all fairness, there's much bigger fish to fry on the team. But the Avalanche seem so focused on Kadri (except for three specific times in Game 4, apparently) that they allowed themselves to lose their cool and paid the biggest price on the scoresheet.

That's unacceptable, and now the Blues find themselves down 3-1. Everyone expected the Avalanche to win, but the Blues showed too much fight against Minnesota and even early in this series to just fall apart and collapse over something that happened in Game 3.

The Blues played good hockey in front of Ville Husso, making him one of the better goalies in the Central Division at points throughout the year. Sure, Binnington was their guy up until his injury, but Husso is a capable backup. But he can't do it alone, and the Blues need to focus on the big prize -- they did it three years ago and can do it again.

Colorado's stars need to stick to the course 

In four games, Kadri has seven points, Mikko Rantanen has five, Gabriel Landeskog has four, Nathan Mackinnon has three and Cale Makar has two. Trade deadline acquisitions Josh Manson and Artturi Lehkonen have had an impact on and off the scoresheet, too

Even for a quiet run for the latter two by their standards, Colorado's top players have been their top players, and that's all you can ask for in a playoff series. This is a team that has had very few bumps along the way, and they're on the verge of moving on and facing one of the Battle of Alberta teams in short order.

So, for the Avs, just sticking to their game and not falling for St. Louis' traps and attempts to get after Kadri is the path to success. It sounds simple, but if any team can get back to the basics and hit the jackpot, it's the Colorado Avalanche. 

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