Two nights ago, it all looked over.
At the halfway point, the Avalanche held a 3-0 lead thanks to two goals from Nathan MacKinnon and one from captain Gabriel Landeskog. But it all fell apart in the third period, and the Blues ultimately won the game 5-4 in overtime.
So, the two teams head back to St. Louis, with the Avalanche hoping to close the series and become the third team to advance to the third round of the Stanley Cup playoffs. But as Wednesday proved, trying to close things out against a team fighting for their lives can fall apart drastically if you give them any room to play.
Here's a look at the keys to winning Game 6 for both team:
Can the Blues start out stronger and avoid a need for a comeback?
The Blues were riding on pure adrenaline late in that game and forced a victory out of what should have been their demise. That works in an isolated situation, but that's asking a lot to do that again, especially if Nathan MacKinnon goes on another scoring rampage.
The Avalanche had one of the best seasons of any team this year, and, as we've been saying all playoffs long, the Avalanche don't need any excuses to get dangerous on the scoreboard.
St. Louis does have the proverbial "momentum" after their comeback victory earlier in the week and bringing that back home should help spark the crowd and, in turn, the Blues' energy. The key will be getting a goal early and forcing the Avalanche to play on the attack. It's dangerous, but the Blues proved they can get red-hot when everything's on the line.
They just don't have much runway. A win tonight forces Game 7 against a Western Conference heavyweight on their own turf. The Blues need more of what made their third-period charge so successful and extend that through the full 60 minutes if they're going to live to skate another day.
The Avs need to be mentally ready
Imagine being minutes away from a five-game series victory, only to have that taken away at the last second and forced to play another game on the road.
The Avalanche have the advantage in the series, but the Blues have the momentum from a big late-game comeback against a strong Avalanche team. St. Louis is thinking "Why not us?", while the Avs have to look ahead and rebound.
We all know desperate teams will throw everything they can to extend a series, and St. Louis did. The Avalanche played a fantastic 40 minutes before everything fell apart -- heck, there wasn't much more the Avs could have done in the closing stages of that game.
The Avalanche just need one more win to advance to the Western Conference final. They're favorites for the Stanley Cup. They've rarely been the worst team in any given period. All that combined should be more than enough to get this group jacked up and answer the bell against a determined Blues team looking for one more chance.
Colorado just needs to close it out and move on.