Binnington Injured in Game 3 Loss to Avalanche

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We had just one postseason contest on the docket for Saturday, a Game 3 matchup between the Avalanche and Blues. It ended up a painful affair for both squads. Early in the first period, St. Louis netminder Jordan Binnington was working to bring in a Colorado attempt on-goal when Colorado’s Calle Rosen and Nazem Kadri flew into the net, which was dislodged from the ice in the collision. When Binnington attempted to warm back up post-hit, he was noticeably labored.

While his subsequent replacement, Ville Husso, was a stronger performer during the regular season, posting a better GAA (2.56 to 3.13) and save percentage (.919 to .901), Binnington has had a far sharper postseason, allowing two or fewer goals in four of his five playoffs starts entering the weekend. Husso, in contrast, has largely struggled this postseason, surrendering 13 combined goals – including four on Saturday – over his last his last three playoff starts after opening the season endgame with a shutout of Minnesota.

Husso is more than capable of stepping up if Binnington requires a little extra rehab time, but with the disparity between how the two have played this postseason, any longer absence from Binnington could be enough to turn a competitive series in Colorado’s favor. The Avalanche did not get out free and clear from the contest, either, as Samuel Girard was taken to the hospital following a hard hit by Ivan Barbashev. He is being evaluated for a possible upper-body injury. The defenseman’s absence thins Colorado’s depth, but not to a crippling degree.

One final note before we dive into Game 3 – Penguins forward Bryan Rust agreed to a six-year extension on Saturday, with an AAV of $5.125 million. Rust hit on 24 goals and a career-best 58 points in 60 games for the 2021-22 campaign.

Colorado Avalanche 5 St. Louis Blues 2 (Avalanche lead series 2-1)

-- Husso finished up his emergency duties having stopped 19-of-23 attempts. The key period in this one was the second period, with Colorado posting goals by Nazem Kadri and Artturi Lehkonen to put St. Louis down 3-2 heading into the final period.

-- Darcy Kuemper was less-than-polished for much of the game, surrendering first- and second-period goals to Colton Parayko and Ryan O’Reilly, respectively. And then nada. He would lock down for a scoreless third period to help deliver the Avalanche to an end win. Kuemper has been steady as a metronome this postseason, having now allowed more than two goals in just once in six playoff contests.

-- The Blues had little to trumpet offensively in Game 3, managing goals by Colton Parayko and Ryan O’Reilly but nothing else. Most noteworthy on the statistical front, O’Reilly is now up to seven goals this postseason.

-- Artturi Lehkonen had himself a day, scoring a late second-period goal against Husso before finishing off the Blues with an empty-net goal near the end of regulation. Lehkonen had managed just two goals, total, this postseason before coming up big on Saturday.

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Sunday Lookahead

We’ll have a trio of Game 3 matchups for Sunday, with Tampa Bay hosting Florida as the back-to-back champs look to go up 3-0 on the regular season's best squad. Also up 2-0 and looking to push to 3-0 on Sunday, the Hurricanes, who have handled the Rangers through two games. The final contest of the day will see Calgary and Edmonton match up tied at one game a-piece.