Ryan Graves celebrated his 26th birthday with a goal and two assists while leading the visiting Colorado Avalanche past the St. Louis Blues 5-1 Friday.
The Avalanche seized a commanding 3-0 advantage in the best-of-seven playoff series. Game 4 will be Sunday afternoon.
Alex Newhook, Tyson Jost, Brandon Saad and J.T. Compher also scored for the Avalanche and goaltender Philipp Grubauer made 31 saves.
Tyler Bozak scored for the Blues and Jordan Binnington made 21 saves.
The Blues played without defensemen Justin Faulk and Robert Bortuzzo, who suffered head injuries in Game 2. With Vince Dunn (upper-body injury) and Jake Walman (COVID-19 protocol) still sidelined, the Blues had to plug AHL defensemen Steven Santini and Mitch Reinke into the lineup.
The Avalanche were missing center Nazem Kadri, who started his eight-game NHL suspension for his head-high blind-side hit on Faulk in that game.
After both teams just missed on tremendous scoring chances during a scoreless first period, Graves put the Avalanche up 1-0 less than two minutes into the second period.
With the puck rolling into the Blues zone, Graves jumped out of the penalty box and raced after it. Binnington came out of his net hoping to claim it, but Graves got there first.
After Mikko Rantanen and Cale Makar hit posts with shots, Newhook put the Avalanche up 2-0. He scored his first NHL goal — regular season or playoff — with a rebound conversion from the right dot with 7:23 left in the period.
Jost made it 3-0 with 3:52 left in the period by banking home his own rebound off of a 2-on-1 rush.
The Blues were penalized for losing their challenge for goaltender interference on that play, but Bozak cut the lead to 3-1 with a shorthanded goal nine seconds later.
Saad scored off the rush to make it 4-1 in the third period, and Compher’s empty-net goal made it 5-1.
–Field Level Media