Blues live on -- Bozak's OT goal sends series back to St. Louis

Jim Thomas, St. Louis Post-Dispatch on

Published in Hockey

DENVER — On eight occasions this season, the Blues put together winning streaks of three games or more. They won five in a row to start the season and won nine straight in April.

Well, they need one more three-game streak to keep their season alive, and got a start in that direction Wednesday with a 5-4 overtime victory over the Colorado Avalanche at Ball Arena. The oldest Blue, Tyler Bozak, scored the game-winner at 3:38 of overtime as St. Louis rallied from a 3-0 deficit.

With Game 6 of the second-round playoff series set for Friday in St. Louis, Colorado still leads the series three games to two. So the Blues still need to win the next two or call it a season.

During the regular season, the Avalanche tied for the NHL’s best home record at 32-5. But the Blues have now won two of three games here in the postseason.

Coach Craig Berube stuck with Ville Husso in goal, but after seven consecutive games using 11 forwards and seven defensemen he switched to the traditional 12/6 lineup. Nathan Walker, not seen since Game 2 of the Minnesota series, returned to action as the 12th forward joining Alexei Toropchenko and Tyler Bozak on the fourth line.

Defenseman Marco Scandella, not seen since Game 4 against the Wild, returned on the second pairing with Justin Faulk. The lineup moves meant Calle Rosen and Scott Perunovich were healthy scratches.


Berube also re-arranged his top three lines, most notably reuniting the potent Pavel Buchnevich-Robert Thomas-Vladimir Tarasenko line.

It all clicked as the team attempts to rally from a 3-1 deficit in a playoff series for only the third time in franchise history. (It happened previously in 1999 against the then-Phoenix Coyotes and 1991 against the Detroit Red Wings.)

Among everything else happening in this series, the Blues had done a great job keeping the lid on Colorado star Nathan MacKinnon, holding him without a goal through the first four games of the series. Well, MacKinnon had a coming-out party in the first period Wednesday, scoring twice.

After a pretty good start by the Blues, Colorado took off on a 2-on-1 rush that was finished off by MacKinnon in the slot. So just 3:51 into the contest, the Avalanche led 1-0. It marked the first time in the series they had scored first.


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