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Blues 3, Avalanche 1

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ST. LOUIS -- When a player has waited 10 years to earn a trip to the NHL playoffs, an extra 48 hours is really not that big a deal.

The St. Louis Blues could have ended defenseman Jay Bouwmeester's long wait and clinched a playoff spot Sunday by defeating the Avalanche in Colorado, but instead they lost.

The scenario was the same Tuesday when the two teams met again, and this time the Blues finally gave Bouwmeester the first playoff trip of his career with a 3-1 victory over the Avalanche.

The 29-year-old Bouwmeester made his NHL debut with the Florida Panthers in the 2002-2003 season, and except for the 2004-05 season lost because of a lockout, he has always seen his year end on the last day of the regular season.

One of the reasons Bouwmeester agreed to an April 1 trade from Calgary to St. Louis was because he thought it might finally mean a playoff appearance, which now will indeed happen -- after 764 career games.

Power-play goals by Chris Stewart -- his 18th of the year and 100th of his career -- and Patrik Berglund gave the Blues a 2-0 lead early in the second period, with Berglund's goal coming on a deflection of a shot by Bouwmeester. It was the first time the Blues scored two power-play goals in a game since Feb. 15.

Andy McDonald's goal increased the lead to 3-0 at 5:13 of the second period, with an assist from Stewart, the 100th assist of his career.

Colorado finally scored with 4:47 to go in the second period on a delayed penalty against McDonald, with Cody McLeod getting his fifth goal in the past five games.

Brian Elliott, who had been pulled from Sunday's 5-3 loss after allowing four goals, made the two-goal margin stand up throughout the third period Tuesday.

NOTES: Blues forward David Perron was dropped to the fourth line for the game. He has scored only one goal in his last 19 games ... The Blues recalled 20-year-old defenseman Jani Hakanpaa from their Peoria farm club. A fourth-round draft pick in 2010, Hakanpaa played most of this season in his native Finland before playing 14 games in Peoria. He did not play in the game ... Colorado defenseman Erik Johnson missed his fifth consecutive game because of a hand injury ... A week after undergoing surgery on his left ankle, Blues forward T.J. Oshie was back on the ice skating during the team's morning skate on Tuesday. There is no word on when he might be able to return to the lineup ... The Blues announced that they have reached a three-year affiliation agreement with the Chicago Wolves of the AHL ... Both Colorado and St. Louis have two games left in the regular season.

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