DENVER (AP) – Jake Allen kept St. Louis in the game while his teammates found their legs. Once they did, they blew past the Colorado Avalanche and finished off an impressive road trip.
Allen made 26 saves, and Magnus Paajarvi and Jaden Schwartz scored in the third period to lift the Blues over the Avalanche 4-2 on Tuesday night.
Patrik Berglund had two goals, including an empty-netter to seal it for the Blues. They tied idle Nashville for third place in the Central Division with 83 points, and St. Louis holds the tiebreaker by virtue of more regulation and overtime wins.
The Blues finished 4-1 on their trip. They’ve won eight of 11 overall and 14 of their last 20 away from home.
“It’s been a great road trip,” coach Mike Yeo said. “At a crucial time the guys delivered. We don’t have a good start at the end of a road trip that was a real character win for us.”
David Perron and Zachary Stanford had two assists each for St. Louis, which played most of the game without center Paul Stastny after he was hit on the foot by a shot in the first period.
Yeo said after the game that Stastny wasn’t injured on the shot by Vladimir Tarasenko and shouldn’t miss any time.
“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.”
Allen was ready from the start, stopping 11 shots in the first period, including a save on Matt Nieto when he came in on an early odd-man rush.
“I think we were all a little tired from this whole trip. It’s been a long trip,” Allen said. “We are all ready to go home, but to find a way to get two points was huge. I wanted to give us a chance to win and I thought I did that. I thought I played well and our guys responded.”
John Mitchell had a goal and an assist, Mark Barberio also scored and Calvin Pickard made 25 saves for Colorado, which has lost three straight. The Avalanche, last in the NHL with 43 points, fell to 11-23-2 at home. Their 11 home wins are the fewest in the league.
The game was tied 1-all after two periods before Paajarvi deflected Ivan Barbashev’s shot past Pickard at 5:05 of the third. Schwartz made it a two-goal lead at 8:44 with his 15th of the season.
Barberio got Colorado within one with his second of the season at 14:50. Pickard came off for an extra skater in the final two minutes and Berglund scored his 21st goal into the empty net at 19:12.
Avalanche center Nathan MacKinnon hit the post moments before Berglund scored the clincher.
“It’s tough,” MacKinnon said. “It’s not going in.”
Mitchell’s first goal in 19 games and third of the season at 5:32 of the first gave Colorado a 1-0 lead. The Avalanche had the first eight shots of the second but it was the Blues who got the only goal of the period when Berglund scored at 16:50.
They continued to carry the play and took over in the third period to win their fifth straight against Colorado.
“This was really a character win,” Berglund said. “Like I said, we had a really tough start but we found a way to bounce back.”
NOTES: Blues RW Dmitrj Jaskin was out of the lineup for the fourth straight game with an upper-body injury. He has started skating but there is no timetable for his return. … Avalanche D Erik Johnson celebrated his 28th birthday. … Tarasenko has seven points (six goals, one assist) in his past eight games. Blues D Alex Pietrangelo has nine points (two goals, seven assists) in his last 12 games.
Blues: Host the Vancouver Canucks on Thursday night.
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