Avalanche clinch playoff berth in return with win against Blues


ST. LOUIS — The Colorado Avalanche became the second team this season to clinch a Stanley Cup Playoff berth when they defeated the St. Louis Blues 4-2 at Enterprise Center on Thursday.

Colorado (31-9-4), which returned after it had three games postponed due to NHL COVID-19 protocol, joined the Vegas Golden Knights, who lead the Honda West Division by two points over the Avalanche.

Andre Burakovsky scored twice, Nathan MacKinnon had three assists, and Devan Dubnyk made 25 saves for his second win in as many starts for the Avalanche, who have won five straight and are 18-1-2 their past 21 games.

Jaden Schwartz scored twice, and Jordan Binnington made 25 saves for St. Louis (19-19-6), which has lost three straight and remained one point behind the Arizona Coyotes for fourth in the division with three games in hand. The top four teams will qualify for the playoffs.

The game was the first of a three-game set. The teams will also play here Saturday and Monday.

Schwartz gave St. Louis a 1-0 lead at 3:18 of the first period with a one-timer from the slot on the power play.

Brandon Saad tied it 1-1 with 32 seconds left in the first following a turnover by Zach Sanford near the blue line.

Burakovsky gave the Avalanche a 2-1 lead with a power-play goal at 6:45 of the second period before making it 3-1 at 11:29 of the third off a turnover by Marco Scandella along the boards.

Schwartz scored his second under the blocker of Dubnyk to cut it to 3-2 at 13:43, but Pierre-Edouard Bellemare scored an empty-net goal at 18:29 for the 4-2 final.

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