Avalanche stuns Blues with last-second power-play goal

Sudden death was replaced by suddenly dead.

In Western Conference round-robin seeding Sunday at Rogers Place, Nazem Kadri scored a power-play goal with 0.1-second remaining in the third period to give the Avalanche a dramatic 2-1 victory over St. Louis in Edmonton.

Officials took nearly seven minutes looking at replays before ruling that Kadri had indeed scored. They were making sure the puck fully crossed the line before there was 0.0 on the clock. The center-ice faceoff was made at 0.1 seconds — the amount of time Colorado led in the game.

“I was aware — not quite to the decimal point but I knew there wasn’t much time left,” said Kadri, who slapped in a rebound after Gabe Landeskog shot off the post. “I knew (the puck) hit the back of the net before the buzzer went off but I wasn’t quite sure if the buzzer was late.”

If the goal didn’t count, both teams would have been awarded a point, with an extra point to the 3-on-3 overtime or shootout winner. But Colorado, which trailed conference-leading St. Louis by a point with a game in hand when the NHL paused its season March 12, took both points to climb into the conference lead.

“As a team, as a whole, I look at that as a big step forward from our exhibition game,” Avs coach Jared Bednar said. “We got some guys who still got to pick it up and fortunately we have a couple games that we can still do that in before we get into the (16-team) playoffs.”

Colorado, which trailed 1-0 entering the third, tied it on Ryan Graves’s goal early in the final frame. Goalie Philipp Grubauer stopped all 28 shots he faced in the second and third periods after allowing a first-period power-play goal.

“Felt really good, even though it’s been a while,” said Grubauer, who hadn’t played in a meaningful game since Feb. 15, when he was injured in the outdoor game at the Air Force Academy.

Graves’ goal was his 10th of the season, and it came after he fumbled a first shot attempt from between the circles.

“I had a Grade-A shot. Obviously worked out. Sometimes things just work out for you,” Graves said.

The Avs controlled play in the first period, outshooting the Blues 16-4, but entered the second trailing 1-0. The difference was David Perron’s power-play goal at 16:46.

“I was really proud of the guys for sticking in there and battling back,” Kadri said. “This is just one game, and we’re not going to get too high on it but it’s certainly nice to start off with a win.”

He added: “I suppose it feels a little bit better against these guys — obviously division rival, great team. So we’re happy to get the win. That’s as close of a regular playoff game that you can get and that’s good preparation moving forward.”

Final shots were 38-32 Colorado, which next plays Dallas on Wednesday. The Avs’ final round-robin game is Saturday against the Vegas Golden Knights.

The 16-team, best-of-seven series tournament begins Aug. 11.

Footnotes. Avs depth winger Matt Nieto, a primary penalty killer who had played in all 70 regular-season games, was a surprise scratch. He was replaced by Tyson Jost. Only Nieto and defenseman Sam Girard had not previously missed a game for Colorado this season, playing in all 20. “I really liked Jost’s competitiveness through training camp. I’ve liked the intensity he’s played with. He just seems real dialed in,” Bednar said. “To me, he earned the right to play in this game just based on having a better camp than some guys.” … The Avs finished 1-of-5 on the power play (9:14), scoring on their last opportunity. The Blues scored on their first and ended 1-of-4 (6:17).

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