Colorado Avalanche win controversial Game 3, give “good answer”
After just one shift, Samuel Girard left Game 3 of Round 2 and was sent to the hospital with a broken sternum.
The absence of a key piece for the Colorado Avalanche wasn’t the biggest impact exit of the game. St. Louis Blues starting goalie Jordan Binnington went down a few minutes later after a collision with a few players. Colorado added two more in the second period and won 5-2.
Husso didn’t cost St. Louis the game, making 19 saves, but he wasn’t good either. Allowing a goal on the second shot he saw and the dagger goal on a miscommunication about being pulled. Colorado did not generate that many great scoring chances and the Blues’ best chances were stopped by Darcy Kuemper.
“I think there was a little bit of momentum swing there, but I think even before that, we felt our game coming a little more,” Logan O’Connor said. “We weathered it early. They were hard on us to begin with early.”
O’Connor made his series debut after not playing since May 9th as a healthy scratch. He scored 11 minutes in, tying the game at one. In doing so, he silenced some of the criticism head coach Jared Bednar faced for his decisions.
“Anytime a goalie comes in after maybe not playing for a little bit, you just want to get pucks on net and get traffic,” O’Connor said. “No goalie likes traffic, so we tried to do that as much as we could. We’ll probably reassess tomorrow depending on what happens with their goaltending situation but look a little deeper into the strengths and weaknesses of his game.”
Husso started the Blues Round 1 series as the starter before Binnington took the net.
Binnington’s injury came in controversy as the collision was with Nazem Kadri. The Avs veteran forward faced a lengthy suspension after an indecent in last year’s playoff series with the Blues.
“Look at Kadri’s reputation; that’s all I have to say” Blues coach Craig Berube said.
Bednar responded by saying, “Reputation doesn’t mean anything; it’s either a legal play or not. Both guys went in there as hard as they can go going after the puck, and they collide. It’s unfortunate. A legal play.”
Bednar also called the hit that injured Girard unfortunate. He’ll miss the rest of the postseason with a broken sternum. While he’ll be missed, Bednar shared his confidence in Colorado’s other defenseman stepping up.
Kadri netted the Avs’ go-ahead goal in the second period; then the team pulled away behind Artturi Lehkonen. The Blues shrank the gap to 3-2 in the third, but Colorado’s empty netters made the score more distant than the game was.
Nonetheless, the Avs stole back home ice after a tough Game 2 loss.
“It was a good answer from the last game,” Lehkonen said. “But we still know that we can clean up some stuff in our game and we just gotta move on to the next one.”