Avs blank Blues for 50th win
St. Louis, MO (SportsNetwork.com) - A big second period and 31 saves from Semyon Varlamov helped the Colorado Avalanche blank the St. Louis Blues, 4-0, for their 50th win of the season.
Paul Stastny, Nathan MacKinnon and Nick Holden scored in a span of less than 10 minutes in the second period before the game turned chippy with a skirmish- filled third.
Varlamov earned his NHL-best 40th win to tie head coach Patrick Roy's single- season franchise record.
Stastny added two assists in Colorado's sixth straight win, a run that matches a season high.
"I just felt that we dominated them," Roy said.
The Avalanche, who lead Chicago by three points for second place in the Central Division and home ice in the first round of the playoffs, reached 50 wins for the second time in club history. Only the Stanley Cup-winning 2000-01 squad registered more victories with 52.
Ryan Miller allowed four goals on 29 shots for St. Louis, which had outscored the Avalanche 13-5 in winning the season's first three meetings.
The Central Division-leading Blues fell two points back of Boston in the race for the Presidents' Trophy. The Bruins topped Philadelphia earlier Saturday.
The Blues had a 14-6 edge in shots in a contentious first period.
St. Louis forward Vladimir Sobotka cross-checked Avalanche captain Gabriel Landeskog at the end of the period.
Colorado opened the second frame on a power play and converted when Stastny scored from the left side at 1:14.
MacKinnon made it 2-0 at 6:20 after the Avalanche killed a penalty. Jamie McGinn put a shot on net from the right wing that Miller kicked out with his right pad. The long rebound went to MacKinnon in the left circle and the prohibitive favorite for the Calder Trophy buried it.
The Avalanche went up 3-0 after an extended sequence of sustained pressure in the St. Louis zone. Holden fanned with his stick at a rebound in the crease and wound up directing the puck into the net with his skate. After a video review, the goal stood because the puck made contact with St. Louis forward Steve Ott's stick before crossing the goal line at 10:25.
Ryan O'Reilly added a power-play goal in the prickly third period that saw St. Louis forward Brenden Morrow receive a five-minute major for cross-checking and Blues captain David Backes jump the 18-year-old MacKinnon.
"I think the first period we may feel pretty good about our game. The second period they stepped it up a notch and we didn't have a very good response," Backes said.
The Avalanche tied a franchise record with their 24th road win ... Roy became the fifth coach in NHL history to win at least 50 games in his first season as coach ... Varlamov equaled Roy's win total from 2000-01 ... Stastny has two goals and seven assists during a six-game point streak ... St. Louis forward Alexander Steen missed a second straight game with an upper-body injury.
04/05 19:38:21 ET