Shorthanded Avalanche collects late but loses to the blues – The Denver Post

It was a mix of hockey players in the Avalanche Salary Cap-compliant line-up on Saturday night.

Coach Jared Bednar said he would use a “blender” to create it and the Avs almost whipped it to a win.

But the COVID-19 protocol, injuries and a suspension limited Colorado’s firepower, and a handful of AHL regulars and goalkeeper Darcy Kuemper weren’t good enough against the St. Louis Blues at Ball Arena.

Some would consider it a moral victory, but the Blues, despite a shot and a late three-goal lead, scored 5-3 in their season opener thanks to the power of David Perron’s two goals and some luck at the end.

The Avs, who played their second game of the season, were missing star center Nathan MacKinnon, team captain Gabe Landeskog and much more.

However, towards the end of the third period they scored two goals, making it 4-3 with 3:42 times remaining, and a minute later they appeared to be level. But Tyson Jost’s second goal didn’t count as officials said he kicked the puck past goalkeeper Jordan Binnington.

Former Avs center Ryan O’Reilly scored with an empty net 19.3 seconds to go.

“We are proud of the way we fought tonight, especially the fact that we lost 4-1 late,” said Avs striker JT Compher, who scored the third goal and made it a 4-3 game. “Nobody in the bank gave up. We are proud of the commitment.

“Everyone remained committed. Like I said, we never gave up. “

Defender Jack Johnson became the Avs’ fourth loss in the opening week of the season when the team announced they would join MacKinnon on the COVID log. Strikers Landeskog (suspension) and Valeri Nichushkin (upper body injury) were also not available. Defender Devon Toews and goalkeeper Pavel Francouz started the season as injured reserves, leaving the Avs six players short of an ideal line-up.

Colorado only had 17 skaters and two goalkeepers on their line-up to be compliant with the league.

“Put it that way, it’s going to be a mixer,” Bednar said of his lineup after morning skating.

After the game, Bednar said: “A loss is a loss, but I think you know me well enough by now – I won’t always judge our team based on results. I think the guys played hard – they were resilient the whole game. “

The Avs had shrunk to 10 strikers when Stefan Matteau, who was recalled by the AHL’s Colorado Eagles along with striker Dylan Sikura on Friday, left the game with a lower body injury early in the second period.

Shortly thereafter, Blues striker Brayden Schenn rolled past the new Avs defender Kurtis MacDermid and defeated Kuemper with a wrist shot to give the guests a 3-0 lead. At this point in time, Kuemper allowed three goals with only 14 shots.

MacDermid, who was the only healthy scratch in Wednesday’s 4-2 opening win over the Chicago Blackhawks, replaced Johnson.

St. Louis outperformed the Avs 2-1 in the second period, despite Colorado producing 16 of 21 shots during that period. Andre Burakovsky had the Avs goal, and the ice had tipped in the hosts’ favor in the third period, until rookie Sampo Ranta was classified as minor and Perron hit Perron four seconds before the end in the power play.

“You never want to lose and we don’t come into play tonight and say, ‘Oh, I might as well just try.’ Our goal was to win tonight, ”said Avs defender Cale Makar. “Of course I didn’t make that up, but at the same time it’s a disadvantage that we knew it would be tough and I’m proud of the team.”

Colorado (1-1) embarks on a three-game road trip through the Washington Capitals on Tuesday, the Florida Panthers on Thursday, and the Tampa Bay Lightning on Saturday. Landeskog will end his suspension against the Capitals. MacKinnon, who had a positive COVID test on Monday and also missed the start, could be back for the next game.

Footnote. Schenn and Avs-Center Nazem Kadri only fought 40 seconds into the game. It was obviously Schenn’s idea and in response to Kadri’s check-to-the-head from Blues defender Justin Faulk in Game 2 of last season’s first-round playoff series. Kadri was suspended for eight games for the hit that forced Faulk to miss games 3 and 4 of the series with a concussion. “I thought (Kadri) did a great job answering the bell and. And then it was over and we started playing hockey, ”said Compher.

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