Nazem Kadri powers three-goal surge as Avalanche tops Blues to take 2-1 series lead

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ST. LOUIS — Colorado’s Nazem Kadri, the most booed player in the building, had a hand in consecutive second-period goals as the Avs defeated St. Louis 5-2 in Game 3 of the Western Conference semifinals here Saturday night.

Colorado leads the series, 2-1, with Game 4 on Monday night.

Gabe Landeskog scored what amounted to an empty-net goal with just over two minutes left to ice the game. Artturi Lehkonen added another empty-net score in the final minute.

The Avs built a 3-1 lead on second-period goals from Kadri and Lehkonen, the latter set up by Kadri. But Blues captain Ryan O’Reilly, the former Colorado center, scored with 30 seconds left in the frame to get St. Louis within 3-2 to begin the third.

Colorado goalie Darcy Kuemper had 29 saves.

Kadri’s go-ahead goal came seconds after an Avalanche power play expired — and a little more than two minutes after St. Louis was denied a glorious scoring chance because of Pavel Buchnevich’s interference minor. Right after Buchnevich was released from the penalty box, Cale Makar shot from the high slot and Kadri deflected the puck into the goal.

A little less than four minutes later, Kadri’s zone exit pass was picked up by Lehkonen in the neutral zone and created a 2-on-1 into the Blues’ end. Lehkonen looked off Bo Byram for the pass and wristed the puck past backup goalie Ville Husso for the 3-1 advantage.

Husso replaced starting goalie Jordan Binnington, who skated off with an apparent lower-body injury 6:45 into the game. Kadri and Blues defenseman Calle Rosen collided with Binnington in the crease while battling for a loose puck.

Earlier in the period, the Avs lost defenseman Sam Girard to an apparent head injury. Girard absorbed a big behind-the-net check from St. Louis forward Ivan Barbashev and appeared to hit his head on the glass, as well as the ice after he fell. Girard was transferred to a local hospital for further evaluation.

The teams traded first-period goals.

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