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game recap

Blues lose in shootout but clinch playoff berth

St. Louis gets one point against Avalanche, extends third-place lead in Central

by Rick Sadowski / Correspondent

DENVER -- The St. Louis Blues clinched a berth in the Stanley Cup Playoffs with a 2-1 shootout loss to the Colorado Avalanche at Pepsi Center on Friday.

The Blues (42-28-7) needed one point to qualify for their sixth consecutive trip to the postseason and 41st in their 50-year history. They have a two-point lead over the Nashville Predators for third place in the Central Division. Each has five games remaining.

"We wanted to get into the playoffs, that was goal No. 1, and we're there now and it's something we should be pleased about," coach Mike Yeo said. "Now we want to make sure we're on top of our game and we're in a good spot when we go in. We recognize as a group we need to be better than tonight."


WATCH: All Blues vs. Avalanche highlights


The Blues, who are 6-0-2 in their past eight games, host the Predators on Sunday.

"It'll be a fun game," Yeo said. "I'm glad that we're playing big, meaningful games at this time of the year. Hard games force you to be at your best and it challenges us to get better as a group. We're happy that we got in, we're not happy with this game and that's the process that we've been trying to follow the last couple of months, that we're trying to get better every day."

Matt Duchene and Nathan MacKinnon scored against Jake Allen in the shootout, and J.T. Compher scored in the second period for the Avalanche (21-53-3), who ended a seven-game losing streak.

Calvin Pickard, who stopped Alexander Steen and Vladimir Tarasenko for the Avalanche, had 27 saves. Allen made 31 saves.

"It's been tough," Pickard said. "The last seven, eight games we've had good portions and we just didn't find a way. It's nice to finally find a way and break the losing streak."

Video: STL@COL: MacKinnon uses nifty hands for SO win

Ryan Reaves gave the Blues a 1-0 lead with his fifth goal at 12:29 of the first period. Kyle Brodziak won a faceoff in the right circle and drew the puck back to Jordan Schmaltz, who passed down the right-wing boards to Scottie Upshall for a shot that Reaves tipped past Pickard.

"I think we came out hungry for the two points and hungry for the playoffs, but once we got the lead we started coasting a little bit," Reaves said. "When you do that against teams that are trying to show for next year, they bury you.

"It's obviously a huge point for us getting in the playoffs. Looking back at where we were a couple months ago, I think we've played a lot of good hockey."

The Avalanche tied the game 1-1 at 11:49 of the second period on a power-play goal by Compher, who put in the rebound of MacKinnon's shot.


Goal of the game

MacKinnon used his speed and stickhandling ability to weave through the Blues defense before shooting against Allen. Compher was in good position on the left side to score his third goal of the season.

Video: STL@COL: Compher buries juicy rebound for a PPG


Save of the game

Allen denied Mikko Rantanen on a breakaway with 31.5 seconds left in overtime after Rantanen stole the puck from Blues defenseman Alex Pietrangelo.

Video: STL@COL: Allen stones breakaway with big save in OT


Highlight of the game

Pickard was at the top of his crease when he moved to his right to make a pad stop against Blues forward Jaden Schwartz with two seconds to play in overtime.

Video: STL@COL: Pickard robs Schwartz as time expires in OT


Unsung performance of the game

Blues defenseman Joel Edmundson had seven blocked shots and four shots on goal while playing 21:23, nearly four minutes more than his season average.


They said it

"We got three out of four [points] on this road trip. I don't think we can in any way be happy with the way the game went tonight, but we were able to get a point. Bottom line is we got enough to get into the playoffs." -- Blues coach Mike Yeo


"Amazing, a dream come true. I know it's a cliche, but it really was. It's something I'm going to remember for a long, long time. Having my family come down and being in the crowd is pretty special. They've done a lot for me throughout my life here. I can't wait to go see them and give (my mom) a big hug and tell her thank you for everything she's done for me, and my grandparents, too. Just an awesome experience." -- Avalanche center Tyson Jost on his NHL debut


Need to know

Blues defenseman Robert Bortuzzo sustained an upper-body injury in the second period and didn't return. Yeo said he would have an update Saturday ... Jost, who was Colorado's first-round pick (No. 10) in the 2016 NHL Draft, played 13:25 while centering for Matt Nieto and Rene Bourque. He had two shots, won five of 10 faceoffs, and was stopped in the second round of the shootout ... Schmaltz, in his fourth NHL game, had a first-period assist for his first NHL point.


What's next

Blues: Host the Nashville Predators on Sunday (4 p.m. ET; FS-MW, FS-TN, NHL.TV)

Avalanche: At the Minnesota Wild on Sunday (6 p.m. ET; FS-N, ALT, NHL.TV)


Video: MacKinnon, Pickard lead Avs to 2-1 SO victory

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