Binnington’s 51 not save enough for Blues in Game 1 OT loss

DENVERJordan Binnington gave the St. Louis Blues every chance to steal Game 1 of the Western Conference Second Round on Tuesday.

The goalkeeper got an NHL career-high 54 shots and made a career-high 51 saves, but it wasn’t enough when defenseman Josh Manson scored at 8:02 of overtime to give the Colorado Avalanche a 3-2 victory over Ball Arena.

Binnington was 3-0 in the Stanley Cup Play-offs this season with an average of 1.67 goals and a save rate of 0.943 after taking over from Ville Husso in Game 4 of the first round against the Minnesota Wild.

On Tuesday, he didn’t play much in the first period and made eight saves.

Binnington, who set an NHL rookie record with 16 wins by winning the 2019 Stanley Cup, got 19 shots in the second period and made 17 saves, then made saves on all 14 shots he got in the third period before. Jordan Kyrou scored a power-play goal at 4:46 PM to tie the match 2-2.

The Blues were defeated 12-0 in overtime before beating Binnington on Colorado’s 13th shot, a screen from the top of the right circle.

“He did well, kept us in the game,” said the Blues defender Colton Parayko said of Binnington. “He gave us a chance to win, that’s for sure. He made some big stops throughout the night. Obviously it was a good chance to get a game in the series, but clearly not the way it went.”

[RELATED: Complete Avalanche vs. Blues series coverage]

Binnington, who was the beneficiary of five posts or cross bars that hit the Avalanche in the match, came through with several clutch saves; he started it when he closed the pads on avalanche defender Devon Toews‘ attempt at 7:11 of the second.

Binnington then made sure it didn’t go 3-1 when he lay sprawled out on the ice and handed the defender a gauntlet Erik Johnson‘s attempt despite Johnson sniffing it at 7:57.

Perhaps Binnington’s most impressive saves came on two scoreless sequences when he made a save on the left pad on Nazem Kadri‘s attempt in tight at 9:30 of the third, then robbed Artturi Lehkonen‘s rebound attempt with a left arm save at 9:35.

“Yeah, great performance; he kept us in the game,” Blues coach Craig Berube said of Binnington. “Guys were good on the bench. I thought guys were pretty controlled and ‘Binner’ did a great job for us. We all knew that.”

And when Kyrou’s power play goal evened the game, there was a feeling on the Bluesbank that they could steal a game against a team that beat the Nashville Predators in the first round.

Manson was not supposed to score off a screen after Binnington made successive saves on Samuel Girard and Kadri moments before Manson’s wrist shot passed Blues defender Justin Faulk and Binnington, who didn’t see it.

“Their goalkeeper played very well for them tonight,” captain Avalanche Gabriel Landeskog said. “You know, [he] made a couple of saves that made us feel like we had empty nets and he stuck out a leg or a hand or whatever, he played really well.”

The Avalanche had 106 shots in the game. St. Louis had 45.

“That’s exactly it, go out and play for him and try to limit those chances against,” Parayko said of Binnington. “He played unbelievably. He gave us a chance to win. It was one shot, one goal for both teams. We just wanted to play well and play well for him.”

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