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AP Sports Writer
DENVER (AP) — Between the new line combinations and wrinkles — using five forwards on a power play — there was one big-time constant for St. Louis: Jordan Binnington.
Stellar in goal yet again.
David Perron scored twice as St. Louis juggled its offensive pairings, Binnington made 30 saves and the Blues beat the Colorado Avalanche 4-1 on Thursday night to tie their second-round series at a game apiece.
Jordan Kyrou added a goal and Brandon Saad sealed it with an empty-netter for the Blues, who rode another superb performance from Binnington. The Blues goaltender stopped 51 shots during a 3-2 overtime loss in Game 1.
Binnington’s flashing his 2019 form, when as a rookie he led the Blues to a Stanley Cup title with a 16-10 mark and a 2.46 goals-against average.
It was also his 20th career playoff win. There are only two other goaltenders who have as many postseason wins as him since 2019 — Andrei Vasilevskiy (40-21) and Tuukka Rask (22-16), according to NHL Stats.
“We played a connected hockey game,” Binnington said. “We talked about just controlling the puck and tracking back hard and trying to outnumber them all over the ice. We did a great job.”
Gabriel Landeskog scored on a power play early in the third for Colorado to make it 2-1. But Perron answered right back with his seventh goal of these playoffs.
Darcy Kuemper stopped 28 shots. Two of the goals he allowed were redirected off the stick of a defenseman.
The difference in the game was this: Nathan MacKinnon and the Avalanche found open ice a scarce commodity against a physical, hard-checking and more determined Blues squad.
“We didn’t have our jump tonight,” MacKinnon said. “Our execution was off. Yeah, just weren’t feeling it, just fighting it out there. It’s unfortunate, but it’s 1-1.”
Game 3 is Saturday in St. Louis.