Avalanche gain on Blues with 50th win of season

Louie Korac  - Correspondent | Saturday, 04.05.2014 / 7:57 PM

ST. LOUIS -- The Colorado Avalanche aren't ready to concede the Central Division title to the St. Louis Blues.

But just in case the Avalanche do, in fact, play the Chicago Blackhawks in the First Round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs, home ice would be a nice reward.

Three goals in the first 10:25 of the second period, scored by Paul Stastny, Nathan MacKinnon and Nick Holden, gave the Avalanche the lead, and Semyon Varlamov made 31 saves in a 4-0 victory against the Blues on Saturday afternoon.

The Avalanche (50-21-6) won a 50th game for the second time in franchise history (they won 52 in 2000-01). They are within five points (111-106) of the first-place Blues (52-18-7) with five games remaining.

"I'm very happy," Avalanche coach Patrick Roy said. "Like I’ve said before, records are there to be broken and I'm just happy to be part of it."

Stastny had a goal and two assists, and MacKinnon had a goal and an assist for the Avalanche, who defeated the Blues for the first time in four games this season.

"Our power play was sharp, penalty kill was rock solid, goaltending was phenomenal again," Roy said. "I just felt like we dominated them."

The Blues, who play at the Chicago Blackhawks on Sunday, ended a five-game homestand 3-2-0. In the final three games, they scored two goals (against the Buffalo Sabres).

After defeating the Minnesota Wild 5-1 to open the homestand, the Blues finished with four goals in the final four games.

"For me, it's inactivity on the power play," Blues coach Ken Hitchcock said after this 0-for-4 game. "When you're not scoring goals, it puts a lot of pressure on a lot of areas. To me, it's getting our best players, helping them along to get them to play better at this time of year.

"We look slow offensively and we've got to get more energy built up there. Our top players are on the power play; we've got to get them playing better. We've got to look and be a lot more creative than we are from a goal-scoring standpoint. It puts a lot of pressure in other areas."

Blues captain David Backes said, "It's nothing that's unfixable. It's bearing down and making sure with five games left we need to get in playoff mode. Let's start to play the way we need to be successful and start bearing down. You take a game like tonight in the playoffs and all of a sudden it can be a difference-maker in a series. That's a playoff team."

Stastny, who's had his way against the team in the city where he grew up, scored for the 11th time in 24 games against St. Louis (30 points) when he knocked in a rebound at the side of the goal past Ryan Miller 1:14 into the second period after Vladimir Sobotka received an extra minor at the end of the first period for cross-checking Gabriel Landeskog.

"That first period, we had a couple big kills, and then the second period we had a power play and we took advantage of it," Stastny said. "After that, I think it really kick-started our team."

The Avalanche made it 2-0 off another rebound goal, when MacKinnon one-timed a shot from the left circle past Miller 6:20 into the second period, following up Jamie McGinn's shot from the top of the right circle.

Holden completed the three-goal period when he crashed the net and knocked the puck into the net with his skate at 10:25. The play went to review, and although there was a distinct kicking motion, the goal counted because, as Rule 49.2 explains, "a kicked puck that deflects off the stick of any player (excluding the goalie's stick) shall be ruled a good goal."

Ryan O'Reilly scored a power-play goal off a Stastny feed at 15:55 of the third.

The Blues had 99 penalty minutes, 91 in the third period following multiple on-ice altercations. The Avalanche finished with 68 penalty minutes.

"It's one thing to release [tension], but you can't let it to continue to boil and get away from your game," Blues defenseman Barret Jackman said. "It's something ... it happened. We should have focused energy on going to their net hard and banging their top players instead of maybe reacting too much.

"I think we went silent [Saturday]. They were playing us hard. They came at us with the fight that they wanted the two points. I think when things went tough, we got stuck in our zone because we weren't talking to each other. We kind of got off the page of moving the puck short little distances and working as a team to get it out. We were a little more as individuals tonight and that's not going to win you games."

Varlamov came into the game with a .936 save percentage against the Blues and a 4-4-1 record.

"Varly's been our best player, he's been phenomenal from the get-go," Roy said. "It's biased a bit by me, but he deserves to be part of the Hart Trophy [conversation]."

The Blues outscored the Avalanche 13-5 in three prior games.

"Every game we play against them has been better and better against them," Stastny said. "It's one of the teams we haven't beaten, so for us, it was kind of a big game. We played our game and then it got chippy at the end.

"For us, we just wanted to get the win. That's the most important thing."

Scoring Summary
1st Period
2nd Period
01:14COL PPG - Paul Stastny (22) ASST: Nathan MacKinnon (36), Max Talbot (17) 1 - 0 COL
06:20COL Nathan MacKinnon (24) ASST: Jamie McGinn (17), Nate Guenin (8) 2 - 0 COL
10:25COL Nick Holden (10) ASST: Paul Stastny (34), John Mitchell (20) 3 - 0 COL
3rd Period
15:55COL PPG - Ryan O'Reilly (27) ASST: Paul Stastny (35), Gabriel Landeskog (38) 4 - 0 COL
Three Stars of the Game
Semyon Varlamov
Semyon Varlamov
SA: 31TOI: 60:00
GA: 0EV: 23-23
PIM: 0PP: 5-5
SV%: 1.000SH: 3-3
Paul Stastny
Paul Stastny
G: 1Shots: 7
A: 2Hits: 0
PTS: 3PIM: 0
+/-: 1TOI: 19:16
Ryan O'Reilly
Ryan O'Reilly
G: 1Shots: 3
A: 0Hits: 0
PTS: 1PIM: 0
+/-: 1TOI: 19:21
Penalty Summary
1st Period
07:52COL Brad Malone  Hooking against  Jordan Leopold
10:07STL David Backes  Roughing against  Max Talbot
10:07COL Max Talbot  Roughing against  David Backes
15:25COL Patrick Bordeleau  Interference against  Dmitrij Jaskin
17:39STL T.J. Oshie  Hi-sticking against  Nick Holden
20:00STL Vladimir Sobotka  Cross checking against  Gabriel Landeskog
20:00STL Vladimir Sobotka  Roughing against  Gabriel Landeskog
20:00COL Gabriel Landeskog  Roughing against  Vladimir Sobotka
2nd Period
03:48COL Brad Malone  Too many men/ice - bench
19:14COL John Mitchell  Hooking against  Jordan Leopold
3rd Period
05:35STL Kevin Shattenkirk  Hooking against  Patrick Bordeleau
07:59STL Barret Jackman  Unsportsmanlike conduct against  Patrick Bordeleau
07:59COL Patrick Bordeleau  Unsportsmanlike conduct against  Barret Jackman
09:55STL David Backes  Hooking against  Gabriel Landeskog
09:55COL Gabriel Landeskog  Diving against  Barret Jackman
10:49STL Brenden Morrow  Game misconduct
10:49STL Brenden Morrow  Cross checking (maj) against  John Mitchell
14:43STL David Backes  Roughing against  Nathan MacKinnon
14:43STL David Backes  Misconduct (10 min)
14:43STL Barret Jackman  Misconduct (10 min)
14:43STL Barret Jackman  Roughing against  Tyson Barrie
14:43COL Nathan MacKinnon  Roughing against  David Backes
14:43STL David Backes  Cross checking against  Nathan MacKinnon
17:52COL Nate Guenin  Misconduct (10 min)
17:52COL Brad Malone  Misconduct (10 min)
17:52COL Max Talbot  Misconduct (10 min)
17:52COL Jan Hejda  Misconduct (10 min)
17:52STL Roman Polak  Misconduct (10 min)
17:52STL Steve Ott  Misconduct (10 min)
17:52STL Alex Pietrangelo  Misconduct (10 min)
17:52STL Maxim Lapierre  Cross checking against  Patrick Bordeleau
17:52STL Maxim Lapierre  Misconduct (10 min)
17:52STL Maxim Lapierre  Slashing against  Patrick Bordeleau
17:52COL Patrick Bordeleau  Misconduct (10 min)
shots by period
Team Stats
Power Plays2/80/4
Faceoff Wins2934
Blocked Shots169
Penalty Minutes6899
2N. HoldenD1014020:49
4T. BarrieD0012014:22
5N. GueninD01101015:21
6E. JohnsonD0001022:40
7J. MitchellC0111218:14
8J. HejdaD00011022:26
11J. McGinnL0111015:42
24M. ClicheC0001017:41
25M. TalbotC01021217:24
26P. StastnyC1217019:16
28P. CareyC000107:27
29N. MacKinnonC1113215:37
42B. MaloneC0000125:52
44R. WilsonD000007:37
58P. BordeleauL00011411:14
61A. BenoitD0011022:14
90R. O'ReillyC1013019:21
92G. LandeskogL0110414:54
1S. Varlamov31311.00060:00
5B. JackmanD00-241413:42
9J. SchwartzL0003017:00
10B. MorrowL0001159:55
17V. SobotkaL00-13417:07
19J. BouwmeesterD0001024:37
21P. BerglundC00-13018:13
22K. ShattenkirkD0000220:21
26D. JaskinR000009:18
27A. PietrangeloD00021025:23
29S. OttC00-211014:22
32C. PorterL0000011:26
33J. LeopoldD0002019:19
40M. LapierreC00001411:15
42D. BackesR00031817:15
46R. PolakD00-221016:53
56M. PaajarviL00-2109:46
74T. OshieR0005217:54
75R. ReavesR000006:37
39R. Miller2529.86260:00