Stastny helps Blues continue mastery of Avalanche
DENVER — Paul Stastny was happy he notched a milestone in his adopted hometown.
He was happier it came in a win.
Stastny reached 600 career points with a goal and an assist, and the St. Louis Blues survived a late flurry to beat the Colorado Avalanche 4-3 on Thursday night.
Jaden Schwartz, Vince Dunn and Robert Bortuzzo also scored, and Carter Hutton made 38 saves for St. Louis. Alex Pietrangelo and Vladimir Sobotka had two assists apiece for the Blues, who continued their recent domination over Colorado.
St. Louis (6-2-0) is 5-0-1 in its past six games against the Avalanche and has won 8 of 12 games at Pepsi Center.
This win is a little more special for Stastny, who won a national championship with the University of Denver in 2005 and was drafted by the Avalanche that year. He played eight seasons with Colorado, scoring his first 458 points with the Avalanche, before signing with St. Louis.
He lives and trains in Denver in the summer, so getting his 600th point here meant more.
“It’s kind of unique and special to get it here, home base for me,” he said. “If we don’t get that win, I don’t think it feels that special.
“It’s cool. It’s special. It’s something you don’t really think about it, just in the moment. When season is done or my career is done, I’ll reflect. My mindset has always been just enjoy the moment.”
Alexander Kerfoot had two goals and an assist, Blake Comeau also scored, and Jonathan Bernier stopped 24 shots for the Avalanche.
Colorado (4-4-0) lost its third straight and a couple players in the process. J.T. Compher left in the second period with what turned out to be a broken thumb, and Patrik Nemeth and Tyson Jost sustained lower-body injuries.
“You lose a couple guys to injury; (that) hurts you,” Avalanche coach Jared Bednar said. “We had a couple passengers that we stopped playing; that hurts you. A couple bonehead plays, you can’t make them. You’re playing the best team in the division for a tie in the division lead, and we had a couple guys who didn’t show up to play. Can’t do it.”
Despite the adversity, Colorado nearly rallied to send it to overtime after St. Louis took control with three goals in the second period to grab a 3-1 lead.
Stastny tied the score 1-1 with a goal for his milestone point 39 seconds into the second period. Schwartz, who had a hat trick against the Chicago Blackhawks on Wednesday, made it 2-1 with his sixth of the season at 12:33, and less than a minute later, Dunn scored his first of the year.
Colorado started its rally when Comeau scored at 4:03 of the third. Bortuzzo inadvertently pushed Hutton out of the crease, leaving the net wide open for Comeau. The Blues challenged the goal, alleging goaltender interference, but the call stood.
“I make a play on the puck and some of my momentum takes me into Carter,” Bortuzzo said. “I feel a bump in my back and I roll over his back. It’s a judgment call, and I had a tough time getting off his back.”
After Bortuzzo atoned for the miscue with his first goal midway through the third to restore the two-goal lead, the puck bounced oddly off the backboards to Kerfoot, who knocked it in at 15:40.
Colorado thought it had tied the game at 17:26, but Mikko Rantanen’s goal was overturned on an offside call after a review. A rule change this year gives coaches unlimited challenges for offside, and St. Louis took advantage of it.
“Some of the guys were a little confused on the ruling,” Kerfoot said. “We thought since they already challenged a call they weren’t allowed to challenge again, but they ended up getting the call right.”
Bernier came off for an extra skater with 1:41 left, but Colorado couldn’t tie it.
Kerfoot’s first goal of the game came on the power play and gave Colorado a 1-0 lead at 13:40 of the first period.
NOTES: St. Louis had killed off 30 of the previous 31 Colorado power-play chances before surrendering C Alexander Kerfoot’s first-period goal. Colorado finished 1-for-2 on the power play, while the Blues were 0-for-2 with a man advantage. ... Avalanche D Patrik Nemeth returned to the lineup after missing Tuesday’s game with a shoulder injury sustained in Dallas on Saturday. He replaced D Chris Bigras in the lineup but then left with a lower-body ailment. ... The Blues said D Jay Bouwmeester, who has missed the first eight games with a left ankle injury, will be re-evaluated next week.