Avalanche halt seven-game skid with shootout win

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[April 01, 2017]  DENVER -- Tyson Jost of the Colorado Avalanche got to experience a win in his NHL debut. He also got to watch the St. Louis Blues clinch a playoff spot, which has been out of reach for the Avalanche for some time.

Calvin Pickard had 27 saves through overtime and two in the shootout as the Avalanche beat the Blues 2-1 on Friday night.

J.T. Compher scored in regulation and Matt Duchene and Nathan MacKinnon had shootout goals to help the Avalanche (21-53-3) end a seven-game losing streak.

Jake Allen stopped 31 shots and Ryan Reaves had a goal for the Blues, who clinched a playoff spot despite the loss.

"We're happy that we got in, we're not happy with the game," Blues coach Mike Yeo said

With the playoff berth secured, the next step for the Blues is earning the highest seed possible. St. Louis (42-28-7) has 91 points and sits third in the Central Division with a key matchup against Nashville on Sunday. The idle Predators trail the Blues by two points and currently hold the second wild-card spot.

"It's going to be the most playoff atmosphere you'll see at the end of this regular season," Reaves said. "It's two teams battling for position that want to set the tone for the playoffs, so it's going to be a good battle."

Jost, 19, made his NHL debut with his mother and grandfather in attendance. When his grandfather was shown on the big scoreboard he was wiping tears from his eyes as Jost came out for the pregame warmup.

"He's huge to me. They're so big to me in my life," Jost said of his grandfather and mother. "I owe so much to them. I can't wait to go see them and kind of celebrate this with them."

He got on the ice for his first shift at 2:07 of the first period and finished the night with two shots in 13:25 of ice time. He nearly scored on a shot from the left circle early in the third, but Allen was able to get a glove on it.

Duchene scored on Colorado's first attempt in the shootout and MacKinnon clinched it on the third attempt. Pickard made saves on Alex Steen and Vladimir Tarasenko.

Jost had the other shootout attempt but Allen stopped it to keep St. Louis alive for one more round.

"I wanted to put him in a situation," Avalanche coach Jared Bednar said of using Jost in the shootout. "I know our fans wanted to see it, we wanted to see it. That's one of the things we can do because of where we're at in the standings."

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Avalanche center Nathan MacKinnon (29) scores against St. Louis Blues goalie Jake Allen (34) during a shootout at Pepsi Center. The Avalanche won 2-1 in a shootout. Mandatory Credit: Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports

Reaves gave St. Louis a 1-0 lead when he tipped in a shot by Scottie Upshall at 12:29 of the first period.

The Blues had a 16-7 advantage in shots deep into the second period and seemed in control until Upshall went off for high sticking at 11:25. Compher capitalized on MacKinnon's hard work to tie it with a power-play goal 24 seconds later.

MacKinnon stick-handled through three St. Louis players and put a low shot on Allen. The rebound went to Compher alone on the left side, and he knocked the puck into the open net for his third of the season.

The power-play goal shifted momentum to Colorado, which outshot the Blues 25-12 the rest of the way.

"Some of the turnovers in the neutral zone it seemed like we were not moving our feet, we were getting caught from behind," Yeo said. "It led to a penalty and a power-play goal for them and from that point on they were rolling."

Allen, who beat Colorado in two other meetings in Denver this month, got the game past regulation with some big saves.

"Jake kept us in the game all night," David Perron said. "That was a special game by him."

NOTES: St. Louis D Robert Bortuzzo left the game in the second period with an upper-body injury and did not return. ... Avalanche C Tyson Jost is the fourth Avalanche to make his NHL debut this season. G Jeremy Smith, C J.T. Compher and D Anton Lindholm also played their first games this year. ... The Blues have outscored their opponents 42-21 in the last 14 games. ... Colorado C John Mitchell was scratched to make room for Jost in the lineup.

[ 2017 Thomson Reuters. All rights reserved.]

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