Team frustrated to come away without a result after Colorado scores three
times in second; Binnington pulled for second time in this building this season
DENVER -- It changed quickly on a dime.
And for the Blues, the change was for the worse and sends them into the All-Star break on a down note.
Playing a pretty decent road game, actually, against the Colorado Avalanche, the Blues were priming themselves for a big win heading into the All-Star break. They were gaining lots of zone time, creating chances and pinning the quick-strike Avs on their heels.
|(St. Louis Blues photo)|
Blues defenseman Alex Pietrangelo fires a shot against the Avalanche on
Saturday. He had a goal and assist on his 30th birthday in a 5-3 loss.
But what Colorado does in Colorado fashion, the Avalanche thrives off mistakes, and they took advantage of the ones the Blues gave them, and Jordan Binnington was pulled for the second game in a row at Pepsi Center in a 5-3 loss Saturday afternoon.
The Blues (30-11-8) limited the Avalanche (27-15-6) to 18 shots, which matches a season-low for both the Blues in shots allowed and for the Avalanche, shots for, and it's a season-low for Colorado in this building.
But the ones the Blues did allow were prime scoring opportunities, and the Avalanche cashed on them, and in the end, when the Blues made their push, seemingly on the doorstep of tying the game, they weren't able to overcome a two-goal deficit in the third period and go into the break on a down note.
"I thought it was a lot of good efforts tonight but it's disappointing not getting the result for sure," said Blues forward David Perron, whose power-play goal tied the game in the first period. "I think we're up 2-1 at some point and we've got to find a way to keep that and certainly not go down 4-2. It is what it is at this point. I'm very frustrated and disappointed about the result tonight for sure, but we've got to move on here, take the break and come back fresh."
The second period proved to be the Blues' and Binnington's undoing. Colorado scored three times in nine minutes, including two in a 22-second span to go up 4-2 and end Binnington's day after allowing four goals on 11 shots. He was pulled in a 7-3 loss here 16 days ago after giving up seven goals on 41 shots.
"I wanted to win tonight. It's frustrating," Binnington said. "I was pretty pissed off, but it is what it is. Just try to keep building, keep your head down and keep working.
"... It was more of a quality over a quantity game tonight. They capitalized on their chances. I've got to be there to make some big saves for the boys when we needed it. Unfortunately, it's a tough way to go into the break for me, but it is what it is. Just get some time away and come back regrouped."
Jake Allen came on and made six saves the rest of the way.
"Change the momentum," Berube said. "We needed a break. Instead of calling a timeout, I switched."
The Blues were playing a decent road game when Perron scored a power-play goal at 18:04 to tie the game 1-1, then took a 2-1 lead on Oskar Sundqvist's goal at 1:06 of the second period.
But Tyson Jost scored to tie it 2-2 at 7:48 after Jaden Schwartz was pinned along the wall just outside the Blues zone with the puck, it got loose and Vince Dunn overskated it to create a break-in alone for Andre Burakovsky. Binnington made the first save, but Jost followed up the rebound.
Then the Blues failed to clear a puck when Robert Thomas rimmed it around too strong for Alexander Steen, and Cale Makar circled from one side of the blue line to the other and beat Binnington with a snap shot through traffic at 16:26 to make it 3-2, and Binnington's night came to a close when Burakovsky beat him with a wrist shot short side from the right circle at 16:48 to make it 4-2.
Nathan MacKinnon scored Colorado's first goal in the first period off a turnover by Jay Bouwmeester.
"Everything they scored, we kind of gave them," said Blues defenseman Alex Pietrangelo, who celebrated his 30th birthday with a goal and an assist. "It seems we play them well at home, they play us well at their rink, it’s just two good teams going at it.
"We gave them a couple good chances. A couple bounces didn’t go our way. Usually we can find a way to win these games, but we fell a little short tonight. We poured a lot in, a lot of guys worked hard. It’s always different in an afternoon game, but we poured a lot in there and guys were focused, especially going into the break. It’s going to happen."
The Blues pushed in the third and pulled within one when Pietrangelo scored off a beautiful feed from Perron at 7:23, but as the Blues pushed and came close, they succumbed in the end when Gabriel Landeskog scored into an empty net with 1.8 seconds left after the Blues had ample zone time but couldn't find an equalizer.
"We had a lot of looks that we didn't put in, but they're a good team over there too," Perron said. "It's a tough building with the altitude and all that. I don't know if you guys realize or not, but as soon as you get your heart going or whatever, it seems like it catches you right away. We did a team decision probably early too to change early in the first period and I thought that worked out, we had a good first period and could have been better in the second."
"I felt like we had some chances, even 6 on 5 we had some pucks in there for a while, I thought we had a couple chances," Pietrangelo said. "We had a couple looks, a couple plays we wanted to get to and we just didn’t find a way to score.
"Mine dipped and got lucky when it hit the guy’s pants and 'Perry' had a stick, went over the net. Maybe the next game those go in for us. We’re drawing plays we weren’t running and we ran them."
Blues coach Craig Berube, although not happy with the result, liked that his team competed.
"They capitalized on some plays," Berube said. "I thought we took too many penalties again against these guys because last time we did too. But I liked our game. I thought our guys competed hard, they played hard, it was a playoff style game. We just came up short.
|(St. Louis Blues photo)|
Blues forward Ivan Barbashev (49) tries to fend off Avalanche defenseman
Erik Johnson in Saturday's game in Colorado.
"We don’t want to lose any game, whether we’ve got a break, it doesn’t matter. But it is what it is. We made a couple mistakes, they capitalized on them. We were right there but we just couldn’t tie it up.
"I thought we played a great third period. Would have liked our power play in the third to get a few more looks. I thought we played a real good third period."
Blues forward Mackenzie MacEachern sustained a lower-body injury in the second period and did not return. He played just four minutes, including one 15-second shift in the third.
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