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Perron scores twice, Blues even series with 4-1 win over Avs

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Colorado Avalanche goaltender Darcy Kuemper (35) reacts after giving up a goal to St. Louis Blues left wing David Perron, not seen, during the second period in Game 2 of an NHL hockey Stanley Cup second-round playoff series Thursday, May 19, 2022, in Denver. (AP Photo/Jack Dempsey)

DENVER (AP) — David Perron scored twice as St. Louis switched up its line combinations, Jordan Binnington made 30 saves and the Blues beat the Colorado Avalanche 4-1 on Thursday night to tie their second-round series at a game apiece.

Jordan Kyrou added a goal and Brandon Saad sealed it with an empty-netter for the Blues as they rode another stellar performance from Binnington. The Blues goaltender stopped 51 shots during a 3-2 overtime loss in Game 1.

Binnington's flashing his 2019 form, when as a rookie he led the Blues to a Stanley Cup title with a 16-10 mark and a 2.46 goals-against average.

Gabriel Landeskog scored on a power play early in the third for Colorado to make it 2-1. But Perron answered right back with his seventh goal of these playoffs.

Darcy Kuemper stopped 28 shots. Two of the goals he allowed were redirected off the stick of a defenseman.

Nathan MacKinnon and the Avalanche found open ice a scarce commodity against a physical, hard-checking and more determined Blues squad.

Game 3 is Saturday in St. Louis.

Among the line changes by the Blues was pairing Pavel Buchnevich with Ryan O’Reilly and Perron.

“Move some guys around to see if we can create some balance throughout our lines,” Blues coach Craig Berube explained.

All the line switches worked. Buchnevich finished with two assists.

The Blues had a 5-on-3 advantage late in the second period when Devon Toews was called for tripping and Valeri Nichushkin for goaltender interference after slamming into Binnington, whose stick went flying.

Perron made them pay when his liner deflected off the stick of Josh Manson — who scored the OT winner in Game 1 — and past Kuemper.

Earlier in the second, Kyrou's shot deflected off the stick of defenseman Samuel Girard and over the shoulder of Kuemper.

Colorado defenseman Cale Makar was shaken up late in the first period when he fell to the ice and hit his leg on the post, knocking the goal off its moorings. He gingerly skated to the bench, but was back on the ice after intermission.

The Blues mixed up their line combinations for Game 2, but it was the defensemen generating most of the early shots. Of the 14 shots they had in the first period, eight were from the defense.

Colorado has been ousted from the playoffs the last three seasons in the second round.

FIVE CLUB

With his second goal of the series, Kyrou joins the list of Blues players who now have five or more goals in this postseason. He joins O’Reilly (six), Perron and Vladimir Tarasenko (five), giving the team the most scorers with five or more in the playoffs.

O'Reilly's run of a goal in five straight games was halted.

MIC'D UP MANSON

Manson was wearing a microphone in Game 1 when he scored his overtime goal. It captured all the screams as he and his teammates celebrated. One of the first to greet him was Girard.

“I actually didn’t know,” Girard said of the Manson's microphone.

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Pat Graham, The Associated Press