Complete – March 29, 2016 – 8:30 PM ET – Scottrade Center, St. Louis, Missouri – Attendance: 19,263 – Duration: 2 Hours, 27 Minutes
Linesman #89 Steve Miller
Linesman #52 Shandor Alphonso
Referee #18 Greg Kimmerly
Referee #27 Eric Furlatt
Skater Stats
LWMikkel Boedker301000020:21
LWGabriel Landeskog000000219:03
LWBlake Comeau000000017:02
LWAndreas Martinsen100000014:36
LWCody McLeod00000029:41
LWAndrew Agozzino00000008:09
CCarl Soderberg100000219:25
CJohn Mitchell300000218:07
CMikhail Grigorenko110000014:54
CShawn Matthias200000013:51
RWJarome Iginla000000016:29
RWJack Skille00000009:39
DTyson Barrie401001024:24
DErik Johnson40000-1023:35
DFrancois Beauchemin100000019:46
DNikita Zadorov100000018:16
DNick Holden000001017:31
DChris Bigras00000-1014:11
Skater Stats
LWAlexander Steen202000019:41
LWJaden Schwartz100000015:50
CPaul Stastny001000017:11
CPatrik Berglund200000015:36
CJori Lehtera000000012:57
CKyle Brodziak000000012:07
CRobby Fabbri000000011:55
RWTroy Brouwer310100018:57
RWDavid Backes210100216:58
RWVladimir Tarasenko510000015:18
RWScottie Upshall100000013:14
RWRyan Reaves00000028:56
DAlex Pietrangelo300001023:58
DKevin Shattenkirk50100-1023:47
DColton Parayko10000-1023:16
DJoel Edmundson100001021:14
DRobert Bortuzzo100000012:47
DPetteri Lindbohm000000012:18
Goalie Stats
GSemyon Varlamov2732488.8955:21
GCalvin Pickard00000:00
Goalie Stats
GBrian Elliott2112095.2460:00
GJake Allen00000:00
Period 1
Penalty on Carl Soderberg: 2 minutes for Delay of game
Goal scored by David Backes (Power Play)
Penalty on Gabriel Landeskog: 2 minutes for Tripping
Goal scored by Mikhail Grigorenko
Assisted by: Tyson Barrie and Mikkel Boedker
Period 2
Penalty on John Mitchell: 2 minutes for Hooking
Goal scored by Troy Brouwer (Power Play)
Assisted by: Paul Stastny and Alexander Steen
Goal scored by Vladimir Tarasenko
Penalty on Cody McLeod: 2 minutes for Unsportsmanlike conduct
Penalty on Ryan Reaves: 2 minutes for Unsportsmanlike conduct
Period 3
Penalty on David Backes: 2 minutes for Holding
Blues defeat Avalanche for fifth straight win

ST. LOUIS — Every time it seems the St. Louis Blues have had a chance to move into sole possession of first place in the Central Division, they look up and see that the Dallas Stars have won again.

“Welcome to the Central Division,” said David Backes. “It’s win and keep pace and lose and drop a step.”

The Blues kept pace on Tuesday night with a 3-1 victory over the Colorado Avalanche at the same time the Stars were earning a 5-2 win over the Nashville Predators. The teams increased their season point total to 101 as they remained tied for first, each with five games left in the regular season.

“That’s just the way it’s been in the Central Division for four or five years now,” Backes said. “If you’re not at 105 to 110 points in the Central Division you’re starting the playoffs on the road. If you want to be the best you have to beat the best.”

The win was the fifth in a row for the Blues and 11th in their last 13 games and dealt a major blow to the playoff hopes of the Avalanche, who fell five points behind the Minnesota Wild for the second wild-card spot in the West after the Wild won 4-1 over the Blackhawks. Both teams also have five games left.

“They (the Wild) are playing good hockey and unfortunately now we’re five points back and have to find a way,” said Avalanche coach Patrick Roy. “That’s what we’ve been doing all year. We never give up and there’s no reason for us not to keep pushing and keep going. It’s up to us to try to do some good things.”

The Blues got power-play goals from Backes just 1:48 into the game and from Troy Brouwer midway through the second period before Vladimir Tarasenko scored his 36th goal of the season at 12:28 of the middle period.

Colorado’s only goal came from Mikhail Grigorenko with 1:48 to play in the first period. That goal snapped the Blues’ bid for a fifth consecutive shutout. It was the first allowed by the Blues in 258:29, the third-longest streak in the NHL since 1987.

That goal was into an empty net, making Grigorenko’s goal the first the Blues had allowed with the goalie on the ice in 280:02. Brian Elliott had stopped 74 consecutive shots before the goal.

Despite the shutout streak ending, what mattered more to the Blues was the victory and what it meant in the standings and what it will mean in the playoffs.

“Home ice is important,” said Blues coach Ken Hitchcock. “It can be a difference maker. You look at the eight teams that are going to be there, it’s tough sledding for anybody. There are going to be some really good teams that don’t get to the second round, so every little advantage you can get you’ve got to take. We want to keep pushing.”

The Avalanche, with a different goal, will keep pushing as well.

“You can’t look at the big picture, we have to focus on the next game, and really the first period even of that game,” said Chris Bigras. “Just break it down to small segments and see where it goes from there — just do your best and try to compete in those segments.”

The game marked the return of the Blues’ Alexander Steen, who earned assists on both of the power-play goals in his first game in more than a month.

“I’m actually kind of mad at him that he looks that good after missing 15 games,” Backes said. “Everything is so fluid and he sees the game so well. He makes everyone around him look better every night and tonight was no exception.”

Forward Robby Fabbri had to leave the game early in the third period when he limped off the ice with an apparent injury to his left leg. Hitchcock said he was day to day and more would be known about his status on Thursday.

NOTES: C Alexander Steen was back in the Blues’ lineup for the first time since Feb. 20. He missed the previous 15 games because of an upper-body injury. … Blues D Jay Bouwmeester missed his third consecutive game as he deals with a possible concussion. … RW Dmitrij Jaskin was scratched from the Blues’ lineup to make way for Steen’s return. … The Avalanche were without their two leading scorers, C Matt Duchene and C Nathan MacKinnon, both of whom are dealing with knee injuries. Duchene has 29 goals and 27 assists, while MacKinnon has 21 goals and 31 assists. … Both the Blues and Capitals are off until Friday, when the Blues host the Boston Bruins and the Avalanche host the league-leading Washington Capitals.

Nilsson, Blues shut down Avalanche

DENVER — Anders Nilsson was added as insurance when he was acquired from Edmonton on Feb. 26.

St. Louis cashed in his policy Sunday, and the goaltender came through when starter Jake Allen went down.

Nilsson stopped 19 of the 20 shots he faced in the last 40 minutes, and the Blues inched closer to first-place Dallas with a 5-1 win over the Colorado Avalanche on Sunday night.

David Backes, Colton Parayko and Magnus Paajarvi scored in a decisive three-goal first period, and Alex Pietrangelo and Troy Brouwer also had goals for St. Louis.

The five goals helped ease the pressure on Nilsson, whose only action since he joined St. Louis was 27 minutes at Calgary on March 14.

“I felt better than I thought it was going to be,” said Nilsson, who was pressed into action with Brian Elliott back in St. Louis. “The guys in front of me did a good job. The shots that came were mostly from the outside. It was fun to play. It’s been a little while.”

Nilsson came on after Allen suffered an undisclosed injury late in the first. He played the rest of the period but stayed in the locker room. Allen, who missed 17 games earlier this year with a lower-body injury, finished with 11 saves.

“I’m not even sure what it is,” Blues coach Ken Hitchcock said. “We’ll have a better evaluation in the morning. Hopefully it’s day to day.”

St. Louis (47-23-9) moved within two points of first place Dallas in the Central Division after the Stars lost at Anaheim on Sunday night.

The Blues, who are four points ahead of third-place Chicago, have played one less game than Dallas.

“We know what’s in front of us, we know what’s behind us,” Pietrangelo said. “The biggest thing is worrying about ourselves. We know if we play the way we can we’re going to put ourselves in a good position.”

Duchene scored his 30th goal late in the third for the Avalanche and Calvin Pickard had 23 saves in relief of Semyon Varlamov, who was pulled after allowing three goals on 14 shots in the first period.

Colorado’s hopes for a late-season push to make the playoffs are almost over. The Avalanche (39-36-4) trail Minnesota by five points with three games remaining, and another regulation loss or a Wild victory will eliminate them for the second straight season.

The Wild lost in Winnipeg on Sunday.

“I saw Minny lost again, so it’s disappointing not to come away with two there and gain a little ground,” Matt Duchene said. “The good news is we’re still in it, we have a chance here.”

The Avalanche haven’t helped their cause, losing their fourth straight at home. Colorado is 17-19-4 at Pepsi Center this season and has been outscored 17-5 in those four games.

“For some reason we’re in a funk at home and we’re struggling winning some hockey games,” Colorado coach Patrick Roy said. “It’s not the type of hockey we want to play. We need to learn how to win. We need to change the mindset. We have a losing mindset right now. We have to find ways to believe more in ourselves.”

The Blues struck early to build a 3-0 lead after the first period. Backes’ 21st goal of the season, on the power play, came on a 2-on-1 with Tarasenko at 5:30.

Paajarvi made it 2-0 when he whacked at the puck a couple of times and put it between Varlamov and the post at 8:56. It was his third of the season.

Parayko finished the rally with a one-timer from the top of the right circle that went through Varlamov’s legs at 16:09.

“The last game we had a good push in the third and we carried that over to the start,” Pietrangelo said. “We needed a good response and the response was what we needed.

Calvin Pickard replaced Varlamov to start the second period but St. Louis was able to expand the lead on Pietrangelo’s seventh goal of the season at 3:26.

Duchene scored at 15:46 of the third but Brouwer got his 17th on an empty-netter with 2:55 left.

NOTES: Avalanche D Nikita Zadorov was out of the lineup with a concussion suffered in Friday’s loss to Washington. Zadorov was hurt when he was hit by Capitals RW Tom Wilson. … Blues D Jay Bouwmeester (upper-body injury) and C Robby Fabbri (lower body) resumed skating. D Carl Gunnarsson was back after missing three games with a lower-body injury. … Avalanche C Nathan MacKinnon missed his seventh straight game with a knee injury. He still has not resumed skating and could be done for the season. … St. Louis G Brian Elliott did not accompany the team to Denver for the one-game trip.

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