Varlamov, Avs blank Blues 4-0
AP Sports Writer
ST. LOUIS — Semyon Varlamov tied the franchise single-season record for goalie wins held by Colorado Avalanche coach Patrick Roy and Paul Stastny had another big game in his hometown in a penalty-filled 4-0 victory over the St. Louis Blues on Saturday.
Stastny had a goal and two assists and Nathan Mackinnon had a goal and an assist for Colorado, which has won six in a row and has 106 points, third-most in franchise history. Roy became the fifth coach in NHL history to win 50 games in his first season.
Varlamov made 31 saves for his second shutout of the season and NHL-leading 40th win, matching Roy’s total in 2000-01. The Avalanche reached 50 wins for the second time in franchise history and tied the franchise mark with 24 road victories.
The Blues fell two points behind Boston, which beat the Flyers 5-2, for first place overall. They’ve been dependent on goalie Ryan Miller with Vladimir Tarasenko out since mid-March with a hand injury and Alexander Steen also sidelined, and scored two or fewer goals for the seventh time in 10 games.
There were several scrums and frustration boiled over for the Blues late in the third. Ryan O’Reilly scored his 27th goal on a power play with a two-man advantage after St. Louis captain David Backes and Barret Jackman both received 10-minute misconducts.
The Blues had 91 minutes in penalties in the third and finished the game with seven players on the bench.
St. Louis has been shut out on home ice for the first two times all season in the past three games, counting a 1-0 shootout win over Philadelphia on Tuesday.
Stastny, who grew up in St. Louis, has 29 points in 24 career games against the Blues. He has two goals and six assists in a seven-game point streak.
The first five games in Colorado’s win streak were decided by one goal, two in overtime and two by shootouts. The first three goals against St. Louis came on rebounds.
For the third straight Blues game, the first period was scoreless.
A scrum at the end of the period led to a double-minor penalty on St. Louis’ Vladimir Sobotka that helped the Avalanche get rolling.
Stastny scored his 22nd goal on a power play at 1:14 of the second and MacKinnon had a wide open net at 6:20, a little more than a minute after Blues coach Ken Hitchcock called timeout.
Nick Holden made it 3-0 at 10:25 after a lengthy review because he kicked the puck, but replays indicated the Blues’ Steve Ott’s stick touched the puck before it crossed the goal line.
Notes: The last coach to win 50 games in his debut season since San Jose’s Todd McLellan won 53 games in 2008-09. Tom Johnson won 57 games with Boston in 1970-71, Mike Keenan won 53 with Philadelphia in 1984-85 and Pat Burns won 53 in 1988-89. … Steen (lower body) did not dress for the second straight game and may not play Sunday at Chicago.
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