The Avalanche took a 2-1 lead in the best-of-seven series with a 5-2 victory over the St. Louis Blues in Game 3 on Saturday night, with two goals from Artturi Lehkonen and 29 saves from Darcy Kuemper.
The Avalanche rebounded from a 4-1 home loss two nights earlier with three more goals from Logan O’Connor, Nazem Kadri, and Gabriel Landeskog to improve to 3-0 on the road in postseason.
In Lehkonen’s opinion, “of course that was a good answer from the last game.” Even though we can still improve, we’ve had to move on to the next game.
The Blues, who could be without starting goalkeeper Jordan Binnington, were led by Ryan O’Reilly and Colton Parayko, who each had a goal and an assist.
Despite making three stops, Binnington had to be substituted at 6:45 of the first period after a collision between Kadri and Blues defenseman Calle Rosen in the crease. The play went unpunished.
He told Blues Coach Craig Berube: “Take a look at Kadri’s reputation.” All I have to say is that.
A lower-body injury is being investigated, according to the coach.
“I just see a loose puck, basically,” Kadri told the press. “With my stick, I poked at it from a distance behind him. I believe their defensemen drove me into him by colliding with me. There is a good chance that if it wasn’t the case, he would have gone unpunished.”
In relief, Ville Husso made 19 saves out of 23 attempts, although his postseason record now reads 1-3.
After the Blues switched goalkeepers, O’Connor noted, “I think there was a little bit of momentum swing there.” “Even before then, I think we had a better sense of what was to come. Early on, we were able to handle it. To begin with, they were ferocious in the defensive zone, suffocating us. When we got a bit more comfortable with the puck, we began to roll things over a little more.”
Game 4 takes place in St. Louis on Monday night.
St. Louis took an early 1-0 lead on a slap shot from the point by Parayko, who now has two postseason goals to his name.
As soon as Pavel Buchnevich finished serving an interfering penalty, O’Connor tied the game with his first goal of the postseason at 11:54. Kadri then followed up with his second goal of the tournament, deflecting Cale Makar’s slap shot past Husso.
With 2:45 left in the second period, Colorado went up 3-1 on Lehkonen’s third goal of the playoffs. After assisting on the goal, Nathan MacKinnon has now scored in seven straight postseason games.
In the dying seconds of the second period, O’Reilly poked in a rebound from Nick Leddy to put St. Louis within one goal.
O’Reilly reflected on the third period by saying, “I think we were kind of more hoping for a play.” “We’ve lost a little bit of our structure, but we’re still able to generate some offence. Our push wasn’t the best.”
Landeskog scored his fifth of the playoffs with 2:08 remaining after Husso had begun to leave the ice in order to bring in an extra attacker, effectively ending the game.
A late goal by Lehkonen put Colorado ahead 5-2 with Husso out of the game.
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