Avalanche beats Blues 3-2 with backup goalie, extends unbeaten streak to 13 games – The Denver Post

The NHL’s hottest team continued to roll Friday night with its obscure backup goalie in net.

Jonas Johansson got his second start with the Avalanche to give NHL wins leader Philipp Grubauer a break to begin a consecutive-night stretch against the St. Louis Blues at Ball Arena.

Johansson, acquired last month from the Buffalo Sabres, allowed a goal on St. Louis’ first shot but was good enough to collect his first win of the season and just the second of his career as Colorado extended its unbeaten streak to 13 games (11-0-2).

The Avs got two goals from superstar center Nathan MacKinnon and prevailed 3-2 to reach a league-high 52 points. It was the first game with paid fans at Ball Arena since March 11, 2020.

Johansson (25 saves) improved to 1-5-2 season and 2-8-3 in his NHL career. Grubauer is scheduled to start in the rematch with the Blues on Saturday night.

The Avs, who scored goals on their first two power plays, outshot the Blues 8-0 to open the second period and had a 3-1 lead at 15:23 and were going on another man-advantage. But then everything went wrong. Mikko Rantanen took an interference minor during the man-advantage to make it 4-on-4, and then Sam Girard was whistled for throwing a stick 45 seconds later. Cale Makar had lost his stick and Girard was attempting to lift it towards his defensive partner with his own stick, and that’s a penalty.

The Blues scored during their 4-on-3 power play shortly thereafter and it stood 3-2 heading into the final frame.

MacKinnon scored Colorado’s second and third goals. He gave the Avs a 2-1 lead at 14:43 of the first period during the Avs’ second power play, making a superstar move from the goal line and flipping the puck over goalie Jordan Binnington’s left shoulder.

MacKinnon then made it 3-1 with a quick shot off the rush from the right circle. The Avs were in control until Rantanen and Girard were sent to the penalty box.

The teams traded goals within 26 seconds early in the first period. Brandon Saad scored a power-play goal off a rebound at 3:24 and Mike Hoffman answered at 3:50 on the Blues’ first shot of the game.

Footnotes. Forward Liam O’Brien made his Avalanche debut on the fourth line and drew a penalty on his first shift — a slash on Kyle Clifford. O’Brien was replacing Logan O’Connor, who was injured in the first period in Wednesday’s 9-3 victory over Arizona and is week-to-week with a lower-body injury. Kiefer Sherwood also stepped in on the fourth line after Valeri Nishushkin was a late scratch with a lower-body injury. J.T. Compher moved up to the third line to replace the big Russian. … Rantanen led the league in both points (25) and goals (13) in March and Landeskog was second in points (24). … Coach Jared Bednar discussed Wednesday’s signing of 2019 first-round draft pick (16th overall) Alex Newhook pregame. Newhook, 19, a Boston College sophomore forward, reported to the Colorado Eagles. “He’s obviously a player that’s developed real well, had a couple good college seasons and now we’re able to ink him to a contract,” Bednar said. “We’ll see how he does up the road with the Eagles and just monitor him and Joe will decide exactly what the plan is.”


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