DENVER — Cale Makar and Andre Burakovsky scored 22 seconds apart in the second period to chase All-Star goaltender Jordan Binnington from the game and the Colorado Avalanche held on to beat the St. Louis Blues 5-3 on Saturday.
The Avalanche used a three-goal middle period to turn a 2-1 deficit into a 4-2 advantage. Tyson Jost also scored in the period. Nathan MacKinnon added a goal in the first and Gabriel Landeskog clinched it with an empty-netter.
Makar scored his 11th goal of the season to break the franchise record for most goals by a rookie defenceman. Burakovsky’s goal seconds later was his first in 14 games and had the Blues pulling Binnington for Jake Allen with 3:12 remaining in the second period. Binnington allowed four goals on 11 shots.
Alex Pietrangelo made things interesting down the stretch by scoring with 12:37 remaining to make it 4-3. The Blues pulled Allen with just under 2 minutes remaining, but couldn’t tie it up. Landeskog sealed it with his empty-net goal with 1.8 seconds left.
David Perron and Oskar Sundqvist also had goals for the Blues, who will lead the Central Division heading into the All-Star break. Ryan O’Reilly added two assists, including a brilliant spin pass that set up Sundqvist.
Philipp Grubauer stopped 21 shots as Colorado moved to 2-0-2 on its five-game homestand.
After Sundqvist gave St. Louis a 2-1 lead 66 seconds into the second period, Jost tied it with his first goal since Nov. 30. That set off a wave of scoring with Makar and Burakovsky quickly following.
In the first period, it was St. Louis that rallied back when Perron scored a power-play goal with 1:56 left in the period. He also collected an assist on Pietrangelo’s goal.
Perron leads the Blues with 49 points (21 goals, 28 assists).
Colorado struck first 3:41 into the game as Samuel Girard intercepted a pass near centre ice and dished it over to Mikko Rantanen, who fumbled the puck right back to Girard. The Avalanche defenceman slid a pass through the goal crease to an open MacKinnon.
It was MacKinnon’s 28th goal of the season. The speedy forward is chasing his third straight 30-goal season (41 in 2018-19, 39 in 2017-18). That would join him with Hall of Famer Joe Sakic as the only Avalanche players to record three straight 30-goal seasons since the team relocated to Denver in 1995.
Girard’s assist was his 10th since Jan. 1. Asked to explain his recent assist surge, Girard simply responded: “I’m just trying to be myself.”
Blues D Carl Gunnarsson returned to the lineup for the first time since Dec. 12. He’s been out with an upper body injury. … Avs F Joonas Donskoi (concussion protocol) missed a fourth straight game. He’s skating in a non-contact sweater. … The Avalanche moved to 3-0 in day games this season.
Blues: Off until Jan. 27 when they play in Vancouver.
Avalanche: Host Detroit on Monday before the All-Star break and bye week.
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Pat Graham, The Associated Press
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