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

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

The goalie faced 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 win at Ball Arena.

Binnington was 3-0 with a 1.67 goals-against average and .943 save percentage in three games after taking over for Ville Husso in Game 4 of the first round against the Minnesota Wild.

On Tuesday, he wasn’t called into action much in the first period, making eight saves.

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

The Blues were outshot 12-0 in overtime before Binnington was beaten on the 13th Colorado shot, when he was screened on Manson’s shot from the top of the right circle.

“He did a good job, kept us in the game,” Blues defenseman Colton Parayko said of Binnington. “He gave us a chance to win, that’s for sure. He made some big stops all night long. It was obviously a good chance to get a game in the series, but obviously not the way it went.”

[RELATED: Complete Avalanche vs. Blues series coverage]

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

He then kept it from becoming 3-1 when he was sprawled on the ice and was able to glove defenseman Erik Johnson‘s attempt despite Johnson whiffing on it at 7:57.

Perhaps Binnington’s most impressive saves came on two point-blank sequences when he made a left pad save 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, excellent 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 composed and ‘Binner’ was doing a great job for us. We all knew that.”

And when Kyrou’s power-play goal went in to tie the game, there was a feeling on the Blues bench that they may steal a game against a team that swept the Nashville Predators in the first round.

It wasn’t meant to be when Manson scored through a screen after Binnington made consecutive saves on Samuel Girard and Kadri moments before Manson’s wrist shot made it past Blues defenseman Justin Faulk and Binnington, who didn’t see it.

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

The Avalanche had 106 shot attempts in the game; the Blues had 45.

“That was exactly it, go out there and play for him and try to limit those opportunities against,” Parayko said of Binnington. “He played unbelievable. He gave us a chance to win. It was one shot, one goal for either team. We just wanted to play well and play good for him.”

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