Avalanche defeat Blues in Game 3, take series lead

ST. LOUIS — The Colorado Avalanche defeated the St. Louis Blues, who lost the goalie Jordan Binnington early in the first period because of a lower body injury5-2 in Game 3 of the Western Conference second round at the Enterprise Center on Saturday.

Binnington, who allowed four goals on 85 shots in the first two games of the series, sustained the injury at 6:45 after being knocked over by a teammate Calle Rosen and Avalanche Forward Nazem Kadrirunning hard for a rebound.

“I really only see a loose puck,” said Kadri. “I mean, I was kind of just sitting behind him and just trying to poke him with my stick and I think their defense attorney kind of collided with me and shoved me into him. So you know, if that hadn’t been the case, I don’t think I would have even met him. It’s a loose puck. I’m just trying to smash it.

St. Louis, who won Game 2 4-1, were leading 1-0 at the time of the injury.

“It’s always tough,” explains the blues captain Ryan O’Reilly said. “Obviously ‘Binner’ is heart and soul and plays amazing, but I think it kind of took the momentum out of us and it took a little too long to get it working again. Such things have happened. We’re a deep team and we could have done better to regain the momentum and adapt.”

[RELATED: Complete Avalanche vs. Blues series coverage]

Arturi Lehkonen scored twice, Kadri had a goal and an assist, and Darcy Kumper made 29 saves for the Avalanche, who are No. 1 in the Central Division.

“I thought we were a little hesitant in front of goal,” said Colorado coach Jared Bednar. “And then as we played a little bit, every minute got a little bit better and we got into the game. Not the ideal start you want. They could sense a little nervousness but I give our guys a lot of credit for going through it. Darcy found some big saves for us when we needed them tonight because we had some breakdowns, especially at the end of the second.

Video: COL @ STL, Gm3: Lehkonen shoots home puck at 2 on 1

avalanche defender Samuel Girard maintain a broken sternum and is out for the rest of the Stanley Cup Playoffs after being checked hard from behind his net by the Blues forward Ivan Barbashev 1:42 in the first.

“Looking back on it, I think it’s a serious collusion,” Bednar said. “He just catches him in a bad spot but I thought it was a legal check to be honest. He’s kinda going to the head side, but he’s got a lot of body there. [Girard] got turned the wrong way and he went in awkwardly and it was a tough control. It’s a shame, but to be honest I think it was a legal test.”

O’Reilly had a goal and an assist for the Blues, No. 3 Central. Ville Husowho was replaced by Binnington in Game 4 of Round 1 made 19 saves.

“I liked our game,” said St. Louis coach Craig Berube. “I thought we checked well. We did a lot of good things right. A lot of good things.

“The effort was there. I thought we played a solid game. Yes, there were some stretches where we might not have gotten pucks deep enough for some stretches in the second and third periods, but that’s hockey. I thought , we did a pretty good job overall, but obviously we didn’t score enough goals, so we have to do a better job.”

Colorado leads the best-of-7 series 2-1. Game 4 will be here on Monday.

Colton Parayko gave the Blues a 1-0 lead after 3:55 of the first game when his slapshot was blocked by O’Reilly after a faceoff win Devon Toews.

Logan O’Connor scored his first NHL playoff goal in the 1-1 tie at 10:57. Josh Manson gloved a loft pass over Darren Helmand as the Blues tried to knock the puck away, it was deflected to O’Connor, who hit Husso with a gloved side.

O’Connor was scratched the first two games of this series.

“I found out this morning, saw it on the lineup sheet,” O’Connor said. “It was nice to have the opportunity tonight.”

Kadri made it 2-1 at 13:38 of the second period and deflected a shot Kal Makar six seconds after a power play expires.

Video: COL@STL, Gm3: Kadri deflects a Makar shot into the net

Lehkonen pushed it up to 3-1 at 17:15, beating Husso with the short side in a 2-for-1 from Blues forward Brayden Nice had just missed two chances.

O’Reilly cut it to 3-2 with 30 seconds left in the second when he hit on a rebound in the slot.

Gabriel Landeskog Shot into an empty goal before Husso, who was on his way to the bench, could get back into position to put the lead 4-2 at 17:52 of the third period.

Lehkonen then added another empty goal at 19:02 to make it 5-2.

REMARKS: Berube said Binnington was still being evaluated and no information would be available until Sunday. … Makar has seven points (one goal, six assists) in three away games this postseason.

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