Artturi Lehkonen scores twice to help Avalanche beat Blues 5-2


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Although they regained the lead in their second-round series, the Colorado Avalanche are not satisfied.

Artturi Lehkonen scored twice, Darcy Kuemper stopped 29 shots and the Avalanche beat the St. Louis Blues 5-2 in Game 3 on Saturday night to take a 2-1 best-of-seven series lead.

Logan O’Connor, Nazem Kadri and Gabriel Landeskog also scored as the Avalanche bounced back from a 4-1 home loss two nights earlier, and improved to 3-0 on the road in the playoffs.

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Colorado Avalanche goaltender Darcy Kuemper celebrates with teammates Nazem Kadri (91), Erik Johnson (6) and Andrew Cogliano (11) after a 5-2 win over the St. Louis Blues in Game 3 of an NHL Stanley Cup second-round playoff series Saturday, May 21, 2022, at St. Louis.
(AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)

“Of course it was a good response from the last game,” Lehkonen said. “We always know we can clean up some things in our game and we have to move on to the next one.”

Ryan O’Reilly had a goal and an assist, and Colton Parayko also scored for the Blues, who may have lost starting goaltender Jordan Binnington.

Binnington made three saves before leaving the game at 6:45 of the start of the first period after Kadri and Blues defenseman Calle Rosen collided with him after tangling their skates in the slot. No penalty was called on the play.

“Look at Kadri’s reputation,” said Blues coach Craig Berube. “That’s all I have to say.”

The coach added that Binnington was being assessed for a lower body injury.

“I just see a loose puck, really,” Kadri said. “I was just sitting behind him and just tried to push him with my stick. I think their defender collided with me and pushed me against him. If that hadn’t been the case, I don’t think I would have hit him at all.”

After the match, when Kadri was interviewed on television, he said a Blues player threw a water bottle at him and thought it was Binnington.

Ville Husso stopped 19 of 23 shots in relief to fall to 1-3 in the playoffs.

“I think there’s been a slight change in momentum there,” O’Connor said of the Blues’ goalie change. “I think even before that we felt our game coming a bit more. We got over it early. They were tough for us at first, really closing in the defensive zone. Then we started rolling things a little more, to get a little more confidence with the puck.”

Game 4 is Monday night in St. Louis.

Parayko scored his second goal of the playoffs on a slap shot from the point 3:55 into the game to give St. Louis a 1-0 lead.

O’Connor got his first at 11:54 to tie, and Kadri followed with his second of the playoffs when he deflected Cale Makar’s slapshot past Husso just after Pavel Buchnevich finished serving an interference penalty .

Lehkonen scored his third of the playoffs to give Colorado a 3-1 lead with 2:45 left in the second period. Nathan MacKinnon assisted on goal to give him points in seven straight playoff games.

O’Reilly capitalized on a Nick Leddy rebound for his seventh playoff goal to bring St. Louis to within one with 29 seconds left midway through the period.

“I think we were hoping for a little more play,” O’Reilly said of the third period. “We kind of lost our structure and kind of have our numbers where we need them to generate attack. It wasn’t the best push from us.”

Landeskog froze the game when he scored his fifth of the playoffs with 2:08 left after Husso started skating off the ice for an extra forward.

Lehkonen scored his second of the night with Husso retired to give Colorado a 5-2 lead in the final minute.

INJURED GIRARD

Avalanche defenseman Samuel Girard had to be helped off the ice after his header hit the boards on an Ivan Barbashev check 1:40 into the first period. After the game, Bednar said Girard had a broken sternum and would be out for the rest of the playoffs.

“I thought it was a legal check to be honest with you,” Bednar said. “It kind of goes in the side of his head, but he’s got a lot of body there. He just turned the right way and came in awkwardly. It was a big miss. Too bad.”

GROOVES

O’Reilly has at least one point in seven straight games. He has scored seven goals and four assists during his streak

BENCH PATTERN

Berube coached his 48th playoff game with the franchise which moved Ken Hitchcock to third place in team history.

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POWER OF THE HALL OF FAME

Former Blues defenseman and Hockey Hall of Famer Chris Pronger was shown on the Enterprise Center video board. Pronger, whose number 44 was retired by the club earlier this season, drank a beer to the delight of the crowd, re-enacting a scene from his shirt removal ceremony.


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