ST. LOUIS — The Blues are marching into the second round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the first time since their magical 2019 run.
The second-round series from that year gave us the unforgettable Pat Maroon Game 7 double-overtime goal to beat the Dallas Stars.
This year's second-round could provide some more memorable moments.
The Blues are matched up against the mighty Colorado Avalanche, and if they want to advance, it's expected to be a tall task.
So, here are some things Blues fans should know about the Avalanche:
The Avalanche have been the Cup favorites basically all season
After a hard-fought second-round playoff loss to the Vegas Golden Knights in 2021, the Avalanche came into this season as the odds-on favorites to bring home The Cup.
As the playoffs dawned, that was still the case. And heading into the second round, the Avalanche are still the favorites.
By most betting outlets, the Avalanche are about 2/1 odds to win The Cup heading into round two. That's head and shoulders above the rest, and way above the Blues who are hanging around at about 17/1. The Blues have the longest odds left of any team in the playoffs heading into the second round.
The Avalanche backed up their hype with the best season of any team in the Western Conference.
Colorado racked up 119 points, going 56-19-7 and claiming the best record in the conference by six points.
The only team with more points in the 2021-2022 season was the Florida Panthers with 122.
The Avalanche also outscored their opponents by 78 goals this season, which was good for third-best in the NHL.
For good measure, the Avalanche swept the Nashville Predators in four games in the first round of the playoffs, outscoring the Preds 21-9.
Although, if you look to history as a guide, the Avalanche have been knocked out in the second round three seasons in a row.
The Blues and Avs played each other tight in the regular season
You likely can't take too much away from how these teams played each other during the regular season, but it was a tight series.
Colorado took two of three games against the Blues in the regular season, with the first two games between the teams coming in the first two weeks of the season back in October.
In their most recent game, the two teams squared off in the penultimate game of the regular season. Colorado took the game 5-3, but there was not much to play for for either team, as playoff matchups had already been determined.
The loss did snap the Blues' franchise-best 16-game point streak.
The Avalanche have an almost endless supply of offensive firepower
There's loaded, and then there's the 2022 Avalanche.
The team boasts four 80-plus points scorers in Mikko Rantanen (92), Nathan MacKinnon (88), Nazem Kadri (87) and Cale Makar (86).
Vladimir Tarasenko was the Blues' only 80-point scorer in 2021-22.
The Avalanche also have four other players who registered at least 50 points, in Valeri Nichushkin, Devon Toews, Gabriel Landeskog and Andre Burakovsky.
At just 23, Makar has already proven to be arguably the best defenseman in hockey. He led all defensemen in goals with 28, and was second in points with 86. Makar was also a whopping +52 on the ice this year, a mark only eclipsed by his Avalanche teammate Toews.
Of course, the Blues also have one of the most balanced teams in the NHL, too, with nine players scoring 20 goals or more.
The Blues are looking for payback from 2021
Last season, the Avalanche sent the Blues packing with a 4-game sweep. The Blues may not come right out and say it themselves, but that has to leave a sour taste in their mouths.
To add insult to injury, the series was marred by an ugly hit from Colorado forward Nazem Kadri that knocked blues defenseman Justin Faulk out of the playoffs and gave Kadri an 8-game suspension.
Hockey teams don't forget very easily, and you should expect this series to be a physical one between two teams that have a lot of history with each other.
The Stan Kroenke angle
Speaking of having history...
Infamous St. Louis/Los Angeles Rams owner Stan Kroenke also owns the Colorado Avalanche.
While the lawsuit between the city and the Rams may be over, and the Rams have won a title in Los Angeles, there is no love lost between our town and Kroenke.
Expect to hear and see some anti-Kroenke sentiment during this series.