Sunday's NHL playoffs: Avalanche complete 4-game sweep of Blues with 5-2 win

Nolan Bianchi
The Detroit News

St. Louis — Philipp Grubauer made 18 saves and Gabriel Landeskog scored the go-ahead goal in the second period as the Colorado Avalanche completed a four-game sweep of the St. Louis Blues with a 5-2 win Sunday in Game 4 of the West Division series.

Brandon Saad, Mikko Rantanen, Nathan MacKinnon and Valeri Nichushkin also scored for Colorado, which recorded its first series sweep since beating Vancouver in the 2001 Western Conference quarterfinal round.

Colorado Avalanche's Gabriel Landeskog, left, is congratulated by teammate Nathan MacKinnon (29) after scoring past St. Louis Blues goaltender Jordan Binnington (50).

The Avalanche outscored the Blues 20-7 and trailed for only 7:12 over the four games. Grubauer stopped 103 of 110 shots over the four games.

“I thought we got a little better as the series went along,” Colorado coach Jared Bednar said. “It was a full 60-minute effort. The first three games we had some lapses in our game, some things that I didn't like. Tonight, I liked a lot.”

Vladimir Tarasenko scored twice for St. Louis, which was swept for the first time since losing to the Los Angeles Kings in the second round in 2012.

Landeskog tipped in a shot from Samuel Girard at 14:53 of the second period to break a 1-1 tie.

“To come in here in a tough building to play and take two in a row against a desperate team, it's not easy to do,” Landeskog said. “I'm happy that we got it done without giving them any sort of momentum.”

Saad scored on a shot from the high slot off a pass from Cale Makar just over three minutes earlier. Grubauer got an assist on the play.

Landeskog finished with two goals and six assists in recording a point in every game of the series.

“You break down each game and I think the score hasn't really been indicative of the way the series has been," Landeskog said. ”It's been really tight, it's hard checking and it hasn't been easy. Coming in here in a tough building to play in and take two in a row against a desperate team, it's not easy to do."

Landeskog said the Avalanche used a pre-series boast from St. Louis captain Ryan O'Reilly as motivation. O'Reilly claimed the Blues were going to win the series.

“Yeah, it did," Landeskog said. "It was a hard fought series."

Rantanen whipped a wrist shot past Jordan Binnington with 15:40 left in the third period to push the lead to a 3-1. Rantanen broke in on a 2-on-1 and took a pass from linemate MacKinnon.

Tarasenko converted on a breakaway off a pass from O’Reilly for a 1-0 lead at 5:07 of the second period. It was Tarasenko’s first goal since April 26. He added a power play goal with 11:21 left to trim the deficit to 3-2.

MacKinnon and Nichushkin added empty-net goals in the final minute.

Binnington made 29 saves.

Tarasenko was not pleased with the effort of his team.

“This is embarrassing always losing in the playoffs," Tarasenko said. “The answer is there are no excuses. We don't fight enough.”

St. Louis coach Craig Berube said that injuries, especially to the Blues' back line, were a factor in the series, but he would not offer that as an excuse.

“They're the better team, for sure,” Berube said. “We've got to get better, we've got to improve.”

Colorado has won nine of the last 10 playoff games against St. Louis, including seven in a row.

More NHL playoffs

Bruins 3, Capitals 1: Patrice Bergeron and David Pastrnak dazzled on offense, Tuukka Rask was rock solid in net and the Boston Bruins are moving on to the second round of the playoffs.

Bergeron scored twice at crucial times after Pastrnak's highlight-reel goal, Rask made 40 saves and the Bruins eliminated the Washington Capitals in five games with a 3-1 victory Sunday night. Bergeron delivered the dagger with 7:35 left to set up a second-round showdown against either the Pittsburgh Penguins or New York Islanders.

Chants of “TUUKK!” emanated from a large group of black and gold-clad Boston fans who were part of the limited-capacity sellout crowd of 5,333. Those were occasionally interrupted by “We want the Cup!” — the trophy the Bruins last won a decade ago after a 39-year title drought.

They're 12 wins away, thanks to their best players dominating in Game 5.

Predators 4, Hurricanes 3: Luke Kunin scored his second goal at 16:10 of the second overtime and Nashville beat Carolina to tie the first-round series 2-2.

Kunin broke his stick and went to the bench for another. He then skated up and beat Alex Nedeljkovic from the inside edge of the left circle off a pass from Mikael Granlund.

Goalie Juuse Saros made a franchise-record 58 saves. Ryan Johansen and Nick Cousins scored, and Mattias Ekholm and Mikael Granlund each had two assists for Nashville.

Brock McGinn had his first two-game game in the postseason, and Vincent Trocheck had a goal for Carolina. Jordan Martinook added two assists. Nedeljkovic finished with 39 saves.

Jets 5, Oilers 4 (OT): Nikolaj Ehlers scored his second goal of the game at 9:13 in overtime, completing a massive rally for the Winnipeg Jets who erased a three-goal deficit in the third period to beat the Edmonton Oilers 5-4 on Sunday night and take a 3-0 lead in their opening-round playoff series.

Mathieu Perreault, Blake Wheeler and Josh Morrissey each scored for Winnipeg in a stretch of 3:03 of the third to tie it and send it to overtime. The Jets can sweep the series Monday night with Game 4 in Edmonton.

Leon Draisaitl had two goals and an assist for Edmonton, Zack Kassian and Jujhar Khaira also scored and Connor McDavid had three assists in the game played in front of no fans at Bell MTS Place, where the Oilers went 4-1 in the regular season.

Connor Hellebuyck made 44 saves for the Jets. Mike Smith stopped 32 shots for the Oilers.