DENVER – Josh Manson scored 8:02 in overtime, Darcy Quemper made 23 saves, returning to the net due to an eye injury, and “Colorado Avalanche” overcame a sluggish start, beating the “St. Louis Blues” 3-2 on Tuesday night in the first game of their second round series.
Manson aimed a shot near the blue line across a sea of players that passed just over Jordan Binington’s shoulder.
Valery Nichushkin and Samuel Girard also scored for Avalanche, which had a week-long break after beating Nashville. It also turned out early before they found their step. They outscored the Blues 54-25, including 13-0 in the out. Also, the “Avalanche” hit three racks and two crossbars.
Ryan O’Reilly scored in the first period and Jordan Cyrus equalized late for St. Louis. Binington held the Blues next to one stretched save after another. He stopped 51 shots.
Game 2 – Thursday.
In Game 3 of the Predators series, Kumper had a terrible eye accident when a stick blade went through his mask and caught his eyelid. It took several days for the swelling to go away.
Kira scored in the game by force and tied the score at 3:14. The Blues were strong in power games, going from 9 to 27 during the playoffs.
Girard bet on Colorado 2-1 in the middle of the second period after a shot that went through Binington’s pads. Defender Eric Johnson nearly had a few more moments earlier with the goal wide open, but was unable to get anything from his shot. Binington held out his gloved hand while on the ground to stop the puck rolling.
O’Reilly took advantage of Kayla McAr’s turn to score early in the first period. O’Reilly has scored in five playoff games in a row, corresponding to the longest streak of playoff goals in Blues history. According to NHL statistics, he equaled Phil Robert (1972) and Joe Mullen (1982).
The avalanche didn’t look sharp for the first 20 minutes. Arthur Lekanen hit the post, and Nazem Kadri and Mika Rantanen hit the crossbar.
At the start of the game, Colorado captain Gabriel Landeskog, who is retiring after knee surgery at the end of the season, did not accept the rust argument.
“Everyone wants to make it a reality,” Landescag said. “Rest in the bank will be good.”
It was the eighth consecutive playoff win over the Blues in a series dating back to the 4th game of the 2001 Conference Finals. Last season in the playoffs, “Avalanche” bypassed “St. Louis”.
NOT A GAME IN THE ARM
NHL Commissioner Gary Batman has said he has not filled the playoffs.
“If that were true, people would say bad things or question what you don’t need to question,” said Batman, who attended Tuesday’s game. “I’m probably not a very good forecaster.”
Blues defender Justin Folk received a header from Kadri in Game 2 last season and did not return to the series, which was won by Colorado. Kadri was disqualified for eight games per hit, missing the last two games against the Blues and all six games against Vegas when Colorado was expelled.
Asked if the case was settled, Folk replied: “We’re here to play hockey and play a series, and that’s our focus.”
WENT, BUT NOT FORGOTTEN
There remain fans who still appear in O’Reilly’s Avalanche sweater. In 2009, O’Reilly became 33rd under Colorado’s overall pick, scoring 90 goals in 427 career games with Avalanche.
“Had a great time here,” O’Reilly said. “It’s always nice to see people appreciate it.”
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