Blues beat Avs to keep streaking

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[March 22, 2017]  DENVER -- The Blues thought they were ready for the final game of a tough road trip, but when the Colorado Avalanche came on strong, St. Louis scrambled to stay in the game.

Thanks to goaltender Jake Allen, the Blues are headed home with a big win.

Allen made 26 saves, Magnus Paajarvi scored the tiebreaking goal early in the third period, Jordan Schwartz added to the lead later in the frame, and the Blues stayed hot with a 4-2 win over the Colorado Avalanche on Tuesday.

Patrik Berglund scored twice for the Blues, who finished their trip at 4-1-0 and have won eight of their past nine to move into a tie with Nashville for third in the Central Division with 83 points each.

The Blues hold the tiebreaker with 38 regulation/overtime wins.

"This was really a character win," Berglund said. "We had a really tough start, but we found a way to bounce back and win this game."

St. Louis (39-28-5) got a scare when center Paul Stastny left the game in the first period after taking a shot in the foot from teammate Vladimir Tarasenko. He played just five shifts before leaving, but after the game, coach Mike Yeo downplayed the injury.

"I don't think it'll be anything serious at all," Yeo said. "It was not the shot. That hurt, but it was not that, it was just a tweak of something, and I expect him to be ready for next game."

John Mitchell had a goal and an assist, Mark Barberio also scored and Calvin Pickard finished with 25 saves for the Avalanche (20-49-3). Colorado has lost three in a row and was coming off blowing a two-goal lead in the third period in Chicago on Sunday.

"We had a ton of chances," Avalanche center Nathan MacKinnon said. "Our line's been really good. Had a ton of chances in Chicago, a ton of chances tonight. They'll start going in, we just have to stay with it."

The game was tied at 1-1 before Paajarvi deflected a shot by Ivan Barbashev past Pickard at 5:05 of the third period. Schwartz made it 3-1 at 8:44, his 15th of the season after a 14-game goal drought.

"We're all happy for him," Yeo said. "It's almost impossible to play as well as he has and not score goals. We told him that first one was going to come around that blue paint, and it was good for him to get that monkey off his back."

Barberio's second goal of the year at 14:50 made it close, and the Avalanche pulled Pickard for an extra skater with about 1:40 left. Berglund scored into the empty net at 19:12 to seal it with his 21st goal after MacKinnon hit the crossbar at 18:51.

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 Blues right wing Vladimir Tarasenko (91) attempts a shot on goal in the first period against the Colorado Avalanche at the Pepsi Center. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

"That's frustrating to see," Mitchell said. "That's a six-on-five where we'd like to bury the puck and get to overtime and get ourselves a chance to win. That's just the way it goes."

Mitchell gave Colorado a 1-0 lead when beat Allen at 5:32 of the first period. It was Mitchell's third of the year and first in 19 games.

Colorado kept coming, outshooting the Blues 8-1 in the first 10 minutes of the second period. Allen's strong play kept the Avalanche from going ahead 2-0.

"It's been a long trip. We are all ready to go home, but to find a way to get two points was huge," Allen said. "I wanted to give us a chance to win, and I thought I did that. I thought I played well, and our guys responded."

The Blues tied it late in the second period when Zachary Sanford and David Perron worked the puck away from Avalanche players behind the net. Sanford fed Berglund in front, and Berglund's one-timer beat Pickard at 16:50.

Sanford and Perron finished with two assists each.

NOTES: Avalanche G Calvin Pickard has started seven of the past eight games. Since Semyon Varlamov was lost for the season in mid-January, Pickard has started 21 of Colorado's 30 games. ... St. Louis RW Dmitrij Jaskin has resumed skating but was out of the lineup for the fourth straight game with an upper-body injury. There is no timetable for his return. ... Blues C Jori Lehtera missed his sixth straight game with an upper-body injury. ... The Avalanche are 2 for 44 on the power play over the past 18 games.

[ 2017 Thomson Reuters. All rights reserved.]

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