Newhook scores on birthday, Avalanche beat Blues 4-2
DENVER (AP) — Alex Newhook scored on his birthday for the second straight season, and the Colorado Avalanche beat the St. Louis Blues 4-2 on Saturday for their seventh win in eight games.
Evan Rodrigues, J.T. Compher and Matt Nieto also scored for the Avalanche, and Logan O’Connor had two assists. Alexandar Georgiev stopped 26 shots.
Colorado had won six in a row before Thursday night’s 5-3 loss to lowly Anaheim. But the reigning Stanley Cup champions bounced back nicely in their final game before their bye week and the NHL All-Star break.
The banged-up Avalanche (27-18-3) could get some key players back after they return. Defensemen Josh Manson and Bowen Byram have been sidelined with lower-body injuries, but they have started skating in non-contact jerseys.
Ivan Barbashev and Brayden Schenn scored for St. Louis (23-24-3) in its fourth consecutive loss. Jordan Binnington made 27 saves.
“The positive of the game is we had a real good third period and we really pushed hard,” coach Craig Berube said. “That’s the competitiveness we need to see.”
The Blues were without second-leading scorer Robert Thomas, who left Thursday’s loss at Arizona with a lower-body injury.
Newhook, who turned 22 Saturday, scored his 12th of the season and third in the last four games at 9:22 of the first period.
“I think the celebration will be even better with the win,” he said.
Compher made it 2-0 when he scored on a rebound at 11:36, and Rodrigues made it 3-0 with his 11th goal 4:48 into the second on a return pass from Nathan MacKinnon.
“I gave it to him during the rush and caught it and shot it,” Rodrigues said.
Schenn scored on the power play at 16:27 of the second to get St. Louis on the board. Barbashev trimmed Colorado’s lead to 3-2 when he scored on a partial breakaway at 9:40 of the third. It was Barbashev’s ninth of the season.
Binnington came off for an extra skater with 1:26 left and Nieto scored into the empty net with 2.7 seconds left.
It was Nieto’s first goal since he was acquired in a trade with San Jose on Wednesday. It also helped prevent another third-period collapse for Colorado, which blew a lead against Anaheim on Thursday.
“I thought we played hard in the third period,” Colorado coach Jared Bednar said. “I don’t think we managed the puck well coming out of our zone but I thought we played hard.”
STOKING THE RIVALRY
Schenn’s power-play goal came a minute after Binnington took exception to O’Connor’s tap after a save. Binnington joined the scrum behind the net but no punches were thrown. He then skated to the bench while the sold-out crowd booed him.
“I love it. That was a fun atmosphere. And that was loud; 18,000 people hating on you, I don’t mind that,” Binnington said.
It added fuel to Binnington’s budding rivalry with the Avalanche. He was knocked out of a 2022 playoff series with a knee injury when former Colorado center Nazem Kadri collided with him in Game 3. Binnington threw an empty water bottle toward Kadri as he was doing an interview on national television.
St. Louis lost the series in six games.
Avalanche RW Valeri Nichushkin missed his second straight game with an upper-body injury. ... With Thomas sidelined, Nikita Alexandrov centered St. Louis’ fourth line after being recalled from the minors. ... The Blues have lost four or more games in a row three times this year.
Blues: At Winnipeg on Monday.
Avalanche: At Pittsburgh on Feb. 7.
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