Georgiev, Avalanche hold off Blues for 7th win in past 8

DENVER — Alexandar Georgiev made 26 saves, and the Colorado Avalanche held on to defeat the St. Louis Blues 4-2 at Ball Arena on Saturday.

Alex Newhook scored on his 22nd birthday, and Logan O’Connor had two assists for the Avalanche (27-18-3), who have won seven of their past eight games. Colorado lost 5-3 to the Anaheim Ducks on Thursday.

“I liked the game, I thought it was a good hockey game,” Avalanche coach Jared Bednar said. “I thought we were in complete control of it until they got some life off power plays at the end of the second period. I thought coming off a game [in which we lost], where guys can be tense, we know it’s a big four-point divisional game, [but] guys came out hard and played hard with good purpose.”

Video: [email protected]: Newhook buries own rebound to open scoring

Ivan Barbashev scored, Jordan Kyrou got his 100th NHL assist, and Jordan Binnington made 27 saves for the Blues (23-24-3), who have been outscored 19-8 in four straight losses.

“They start fast and they make you turn and go back for pucks a lot. I thought we were actually OK. We lost the puck battle on the one goal on the wall, and the second goal we got the puck out but they punched it back,” Blues coach Craig Berube said. “The positive of the game is we had a real good third period, and we really pushed hard. That’s a competitiveness we need to see all game.”

Evan Rodrigues gave Colorado a 3-0 lead at 4:48 of the second period. After tipping the puck at the St. Louis blue line, Rodrigues scored from the right face-off circle after receiving a cross-ice pass back from Nathan MacKinnon.

“I saw all three forwards in front of me, [and] I knew Nate was kind of turning out that way and just tipped it to him,” Rodrigues said. “I thought maybe if the [defense] stepped up on me, he might have enough space to just drive wide but just gave it to him during the rush and [then I] just caught it and shot it.”

Brayden Schenn cut it to 3-1 at 16:27 on a power play when he knocked in the rebound following a point shot by Torey Krug.

“They dictated the play in the first (period). They’re a team that starts fast, especially in their building, and we understood it,” Krug said. “At times we show that we’re still capable of winning games and still capable of beating good hockey teams; it’s been few and far between lately, but we have the ability. So, it’s just about showing up with the right mentality and doing the work and not making any excuses.”

Barbashev made it 3-2 at 9:40 of the third period when he knocked the puck away from Ben Meyers and outraced Brad Hunt to the loose puck before scoring stick side from the left circle.

“It just started from the defensive zone so, I kind of saw a chance to poke it from the guy,” Barbashev said. “Just glad I got a breakaway.”

Video: [email protected]: Barbashev displays power, effort for goal

The Avalanche were outshot 10-5 in the third. Georgiev made nine saves, including a glove save on a one-timer by Kyrou from the left circle with 18 seconds remaining. 

Matt Nieto, who was acquired from the San Jose Sharks on Wednesday, then scored an empty-net goal at 19:57 for the 4-2 final. It is his first goal since the trade and 35th in 253 games with Colorado.

Newhook gave the Avalanche a 1-0 lead at 9:22 of the first period when he received a chip pass off the boards from O’Connor and scored on his own rebound. It was his third goal in four games.

“Great puck by ‘OC’ there to get it past the [defense], and just coming through the middle [I] thought I could beat him with the first shot but came back to me and put it in,” Newhook said. “Feeling good, getting to the right areas, I think. Guys are getting me the puck, got to give a lot of credit to my linemates, too.”

J.T. Compher extended it to 2-0 at 11:36 when he banged in the rebound of a point shot by Samuel Girard.

“Look at any team that is at the top of the league,” said Rodrigues. “They’ve all [got] three or four lines that score, and our [defense is] contributing and we’re just kind of firing on all cylinders right now.”

NOTES: Colorado was playing its final game before the All-Star break. … Newhook became the first player in Avalanche/Quebec Nordiques history to score on his birthday in consecutive seasons. … Binnington played in his 200th NHL game (196 starts), joining Mike Liut, Jake Allen, Curtis Joseph, Grant Fuhr and Greg Millen as the only goalies in St. Louis history to appear in at least 200 games. … Blues forward Nikita Alexandrov had one hit and was minus-1 in 7:47 of ice time after being recalled from Springfield of the American Hockey League on Friday. … Colorado defenseman Cale Makar had one assist to extend his personal point streak to eight games (four goals, seven assists). 

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