McGinn scores twice and Avs beat Blues, 5-3
Posted at: 04/22/2013 12:05 AM
By PAT GRAHAM
(AP) DENVER - Jamie McGinn scored twice, Jean-Sebastien Giguere stopped 29 shots and the Colorado Avalanche prevented the St. Louis Blues from wrapping up a playoff spot with a 5-3 win on Sunday night.
Cody McLeod, Matt Duchene and Chuck Kobasew also scored for the Avalanche, who chased Brian Elliott from the game late in the second period. It was Colorado’s eighth straight win over the Blues at Pepsi Center.
David Backes, Jaden Schwartz and Kevin Shattenkirk had goals for St. Louis, which could have secured a postseason berth with a win over a Colorado team that’s last in the Western Conference.
After Elliott, one of the top goaltenders this month, gave up a fourth goal, the Blues pulled him in favor of Jake Allen. He allowed Kobasew’s third-period goal that gave Colorado a 5-3 advantage.
Giguere made the lead hold up down the stretch.
Elliott resembled the Elliott of three months ago, the goaltender scuffling in net, and not the one with an 8-1 mark in April along with a 1.01 goals-allowed average entering the game. He had three straight road shutouts before McGinn broke the scoreless streak midway through the opening period.
Out of the playoff race, the Avs are playing the role of spoiler. They’re 3-0-2 against teams in or contending for a postseason spot.
St. Louis was uncharacteristically careless with the puck, committing several turnovers that led to goals. The Mile High City hasn’t been particularly kind to the Blues, who’ve not won in Denver since April 12, 2009. Coach Ken Hitchcock said part of the reason is that his team tries to play a fast-paced tempo with the Avs, instead of their own game.
Colorado had the Blues in chase mode, especially after building a 4-2 lead after two periods. Giguere bottled up the Blues, but Shattenkirk made things interesting by scoring on a wrist shot from the blue line to make it 4-3 midway through the third.
Kobasew ended the drama by banking in a shot off Allen nearly 4 minutes later.
McGinn gave Colorado a 1-0 lead in the first period when his left skate deflected a shot past Elliott. The officials quickly reviewed the goal and upheld the ruling. It was the first road goal Elliott allowed in more than 200 minutes.
After that, things turned a little testy when McGinn decked Vladimir Sobotka, who stayed down on the ice for a moment before skating into the locker room. He returned in the second period.
Not even 30 seconds later, Backes tied up the game when he coasted up the middle and lifted a shot by Giguere.
But Cody McLeod put Colorado back on top just before the end of the period, tipping a shot by Elliott.
These days, that hasn’t been an easy task.
Elliott has been a completely different goaltender since his return from a one-game stint in the minors late last month. Before he went down to the Peoria Rivermen of the American Hockey League, he was hardly seeing any playing time and when he got into goal he wasn’t effective, going 3-6-1 with a 3.65 goals-against average.
But Elliott figured some things out and has been stonewalling opponents all month. His eight wins are the second-most by a Blues goaltender in April, one behind Brent Johnson (2001-02).
"Brian got rid of the anxiety of getting ready for a game," Hitchcock explained after the morning skate. "He’s resurrected the season for us. He’s really been the story here in the month of April."
Elliott’s turnaround also has coincided with the arrival of defenseman Jay Bouwmeester, who was acquired from Calgary on April 1.
For Bouwmeester, the change of scenery has been quite pleasant, considering he went from a scuffling Flames team to a squad that could soon be headed to the Stanley Cup playoffs.
"It’s been fun. I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t," Bouwmeester said.
NOTES: This was the first game of a home-and-home series with the Blues. The two teams play in St. Louis on Tuesday. ... Forwards Milan Hejduk and David Jones were healthy scratches for Colorado. ... McGinn also had an assist, giving him his second three-point game of the season. ... Blues RW Dmitrij Jaskin was in the lineup over F Adam Cracknell.
(Copyright 2013 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)