EDMONTON, Alberta (AP)Nazem Kadri scored a buzzer-beating power-play goal to give the Colorado Avalanche a 2-1 comeback victory over the defending Stanley Cup champion St. Louis Blues in Western Conference round-robin play Sunday night.
Kadri’s shot crossed the goal line with 0.1 seconds on the clock. The NHL reviewed the play for several minutes before calling it a good goal.
”I knew there wasn’t much time left,” Kadri said. ”I didn’t hear a buzzer. I tried to stay on top of the puck, and luckily it worked out.”
Colorado took an early lead in the seeding race among the top four teams in the West. The Avalanche, Blues, Vegas Golden Knights and Dallas Stars have byes into the traditional first round of the NHL playoffs and will each face the winner of a best-of-five qualifying round series.
The frenzied finish included St. Louis captain Alex Pietrangelo going off slowly after taking a shot off the side of his right knee, teammate Alex Steen taking a penalty and the Avalanche putting goaltender Jordan Binnington and the Blues penalty kill under siege and got even crazier with Kadri’s goal.
”At 0.1 it’s on the line and then at 0 it’s in the net,” said Blues forward David Perron, who scored on the power play in the first period. ”I’m sure it’s as close a goal as you’ll ever see.”
The Blues wasted a 36-save performance from Binnington, who was as sharp as he was during the 2019 playoffs. He made 16 saves in the first period.
”We relied on Binner a little too much, especially off that start where we were just kind of feeling it out,” Blues center Ryan O’Reilly said. ”We need to respond a lot quicker.”
David Perron scored a power-play goal for the Blues in the first period, and Ryan Graves tied it for the Avalanche in the third. Sandwiched in between was a penalty-filled second period in which Colorado captain Gabriel Landeskog boarded Zach Sanford – a two-minute minor penalty that may warrant a look from the league’s department of player safety.
Goaltender Philipp Grubauer stopped 31 of the 32 shots he faced, and the Avalanche carried over their domination of the Blues from the shortened regular season.
”Dvision rival, great team, so we’re happy to get the win,” Kadri said. ”That’s as close to a regular playoff game as you can get. That’s as good a preparation as you can get going forward.”
NOTES: D Vince Dunn was a surprise inclusion in the Blues’ lineup, making Robert Bortuzzo a healthy scratch. … Colorado’s Andre Burakovsky stayed in the game after taking a stick to the face in the second period.
Avalanche: Pavel Francouz is expected to start in goal in their next round-robin game Wednesday against Dallas.
Blues: Will be the ”home” team against the Vegas Golden Knights on Thursday.
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