The St. Louis Blues and Colorado Avalanche will have to work through major injury concerns as their second-round Western Conference playoff series continues Monday.
The Avalanche lead the best-of-seven series 2-1 after winning 5-2 in Game 3 Saturday. Game 4 will be played Monday in St. Louis.
Colorado lost defenseman Samuel Girard for the rest of the playoffs due to a broken sternum. He suffered the injury on a big hit into the end boards by Blues forward Ivan Barbashev early in the first period.
Then the Blues lost starting goaltender Jordan Binnington to a knee injury suffered when Avalanche forward Nazem Kadri and Blues defenseman Calle Rosen crashed into him. The Blues, who led 1-0 at the time, appeared deflated after Binnington hobbled off.
“Obviously, ‘Binner’ is the heart and soul, playing unbelievable,” Blues captain Ryan O’Reilly said. “I think it kind of took the momentum away and took us a little too long to kind of get it back going again. Things like that happen. We’re a deep team, and we could have done a better job of getting the momentum back and adjusting.”
Binnington, who is 4-1 with a 1.72 goals-against average and a .949 save percentage in six playoff games, has been ruled out the rest of the series. Ville Husso replaced Binnington Saturday and allowed four goals.
“No goalie likes traffic, so we tried to do that as much as we could,” said Avalanche forward Logan O’Connor, who started the scoring surge against Husso with a clean break-in. “We’ll probably reassess, depending on what happens with their goaltending situation. We’ll look a little deeper into the strengths and weaknesses of (Husso’s) game.”
Husso likely will start Game 4 and be backed up by Charlie Lindgren, who arrived from Springfield of the AHL on an emergency recall.
“We have two real good goalies, and Husso’s been unbelievable for us all year long,” Blues defenseman Colton Parayko said. “That’s the beauty of those two. Two great goalies keep us in every single game, give us a chance to win, and that’s all we can ask for.”
Husso began this postseason as the Blues’ starter before Binnington replaced him during the first round. Husso is 1-3 with a 3.38 GAA and .891 save percentage during the postseason.
Blues coach Craig Berube said the Blues must rally behind him rather than seek vengeance on Kadri.
“We’ve moved on from it,” Berube said Sunday. “I really don’t want to talk about it anymore because it doesn’t do anything to talk about it anymore. We’ve got to get focused for tomorrow’s game, and focusing on that play and focusing on Kadri doesn’t help our team.”
Girard played 20 or more minutes in five of the first six Colorado playoff games. He scored a goal and earned two assists in seven games. In his absence, Bowen Byram and Erik Johnson will have to carry a bigger load.
His injury is a major blow to the Avalanche, but Colorado coach Jared Bednar didn’t complain about the legality of Barbashev’s hit.
“Looking back on it, I mean, it’s a heavy collision,” Bednar said. “He just catches him in a bad spot. But I thought it was legal check, to be honest with you. He kind of goes in on his head side, but he got a lot of body there. (Girard) was turned the wrong way, and he went in awkward, and it was a heavy check.”
–Field Level Media