Blues, Avalanche take 2-0 leads in NHL playoffs
PITTSBURGH (AP) — St. Louis and Colorado took 2-0 leads in their NHL first-round playoff series with wins on Saturday while Columbus won a postseason game for the first time in franchise history as they squared their series against Pittsburgh.
St. Louis notched its second-straight 4-3 overtime win over Chicago to leave the Blackhawks with an uphill task of successfully defending the Stanley Cup.
Colorado teenager Nathan McKinnon was irrepressible as the Avalanche won 4-2 at home against Minnesota to also take a strong grip on a passage to the next round.
Columbus’ Matt Calvert scored the winner in double overtime to clinch the historic victory for the Blue Jackets.
St. Louis defenseman Barret Jackman scored on a drive through traffic to seal victory over Chicago.
The Blues rallied after Chicago defenseman Brent Seabrook received a five-minute major and game misconduct penalty for a vicious elbow to the head of David Backes, who had to be helped off the ice, went straight to the locker room and did not return for the extra period.
Vladimir Tarasenko forced overtime with his second goal of the series, beating Corey Crawford with a wrist shot that banged off the right post and in with 6.4 seconds to go. Kevin Shattenkirk had a goal and two assists for the Blues.
Duncan Keith, Seabrook and Michael Rozsival scored in a span of five shots to put the Blackhawks up 3-2 early in the third. But Seabrook’s penalty proved costly, and he could be suspended for Game 3 in Chicago on Monday.
Colorado’s Gabriel Landeskog scored twice and Semyon Varlamov stopped 30 shots to help the Avalanche beat Minnesota 4-2.
The Wild were unable to contain the quickness of MacKinnon, who had a goal and three assists.
Paul Stastny, the star of Game 1, also had a goal and three assists and his empty-netter sealed the win after Minnesota’s Marco Scandella had made it 3-2 with 1:19 remaining.
Charlie Coyle also scored early for the Wild.
Minnesota’s starting goalie Ilya Bryzgalov was replaced in the second period by Darcy Kuemper, who stopped all 14 shots he faced, giving the Wild a selection dilemma for the games ahead.
Columbus’ Calvert banged home a rebound 1:10 into the second overtime to secure the 4-3 win over Pittsburgh and a squared series.
Pittsburgh goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury blocked the initial shot by Cam Atkinson but Calvert stood all alone at the left post and wristed a shot into the open net.
Jack Johnson had tied the game with 6:01 left in regulation for the Blue Jackets. Ryan Johansen also scored the first playoff goal of his career for Columbus.
Pittsburgh’s Brian Gibbons scored twice and Matt Niskanen added his second goal of the playoffs but the Penguins were outplayed for much of the final three-plus periods.