When Joe Sakic acquired Josh Manson before the trade deadline, the plan wasn’t for him to be the hero in overtime. Manson, known for his stay-at-home defensive abilities, scored the game-winning goal in Game 1 on Tuesday to lift the Avalanche to a resilient 3-2 victory over the St. Louis Blues
Colorado controlled play nearly the entire night but raised the bar in the extra frame — outshooting the opposition 13-0 in just over eight minutes. Rust was not a factor for the only team that swept its way through the first round and went an entire week between games.
“I thought we worked really hard and guys were covering for one another,” captain Gabriel Landeskog said. “We were taking care of the puck for the most part.”
Manson’s goal put an end to another one-sided performance in the shots department. After averaging 44 shots per game in the first round, the Avalanche more than doubled the Blues, outshooting them 54-25 on the one-year anniversary of last season’s Game 1 against the very same team.
Landeskog was all over the ice on the final shift and was paramount in taking Blues goalie Jordan Binnington’s eyes away by screening him in front. Landeskog was able to shift out of the crease at the last moment just as Manson’s shot from the point made its way past the goalie.
“I saw Mans had a nice pump fake up top that he doesn’t get a whole lot of credit for but that was really nice,” Landeskog said. “He kind of got the forward to bite and was able to get a shooting lane and at that point, I’m just trying to stand in front and move out last second.”
Samuel Girard and Valeri Nichushkin also found the back of the net for the Avs, who surrendered the first goal to Ryan O’Reilly and a late third-period power-play tally to Jordan Kyrou.
But even the late goal couldn’t keep the Avs from continuing to play their game.
“We’ve talked to our team all year long about being resilient and being mentally tough,” head coach Jared Bednar said.” We came out and got right back to our game.”
Avalanche goalie Darcy Kuemper made 23 stops in his return after suffering an eye injury in Game 3 of the first round.
Aarif Deen is our Colorado Avalanche beat reporter. He covers Avs games live from Ball Arena and attends practices, media availabilities and other events pertaining to the Avs on the daily beat. He is also a co-host of Hockey Mountain High: Your go-to Avalanche Podcast. Deen joined Mile High Sports upon completion of his bachelor’s degree in journalism and master’s in business administration from the University of Michigan – Dearborn. Before Mile High Sports, Deen worked for the Michigan Wolverines Athletics Department as the assistant sports information director.