DENVER – Oskar Sundqvist, who was moved to the second row in the short term, just wanted to do his part.
He certainly did that and more – with a bruise to show for it.
Sundqvist scored twice and blocked four shots, Jordan Binnington made 26 saves and the St. Louis Blues beat the Colorado Avalanche 4-1 on Wednesday-evening in the season opener for both teams.
The Blues had to juggle things when they found out that attacker Mike Hoffman couldn't play due to visa issues. The team was looking forward to having him in the line-up too. He signed a one-year contract on Monday after signing a professional trial agreement with St. Louis on December 27.
No problem. Sundqvist was there to perform.
"It's such guys that make your team so good," said Robert Thomas, who was linked to Sundqvist and had two assists. "They can jump up, jump down, play whatever role they are given."
Sundqvist not only scored in the first and third periods, but he also picked up some bumps and bruises.
Sundqvist stumbled away shortly after blocking a shot with his leg in the first period. He later got up slowly after crashing into the boards while scoring.
& # 39; Bruise tomorrow, & # 39; he said. "It will be fine."
Jordan Kyrou also found it just after being recalled from the taxi squad, and new hire Kyle Clifford added another goal as the Blues scored four unanswered.
Andre Burakovsky scored early in the first period for the Avalanche, whose streak of wins was halted at four during the season opening.
“For me, we were outwork just from the start,” said Colorado coach Jared Bednar. "We just showed up hoping we would win."
It was a surreal start to the season in a largely empty Ball Arena, where artificial sound was pumped and sometimes suddenly dropped. There were lucky signs from fans standing by the glass near the net before the game.
Binnington was brilliant all night, including a stop from Nathan MacKinnon's shot in the second period after the Colorado attacker sped from coast to coast and swung through traffic.
Kyrou was recalled from the taxi crew on Wednesday morning after taking the trip with the team. His goal at 13:15 from the first gave Blauw-Zwart a 2-1 lead. It was a useful pass that set the score as Kyrou sent the puck to Tyler Bozak, who sent the puck back to Kyrou in front of goal.
Philipp Grubauer stopped 28 of 32 shots in a rocky start for Colorado.
“We've out-competed in many areas,” said Grubauer. "It was a short camp, but that is no excuse."
The Avalanche and Vegas Golden Knights enter the season as favorites to win the West Division. But don't forget the Blues – as they have shown.
"We're happy to be where we are," said coach Craig Berube of the preseason hype. "We're going to show them on the ice. That's all we can do."
After Mike Hoffman came in on the second line and scored two goals in the #stlblues& # 39; season opener, Oskar Sundqvist praises the team's next-man-up mentality: "It's always someone who leaves, and that's one of our strengths." pic.twitter.com/VM83e4vV8k
– FOX Sports Midwest (@FSMidwest) January 14, 2021
AROUND THE ICE
The Blues put forward Vladimir Tarasenko (upper body) on a long-term injured reserve. … Colorado was 1 for 4 on the power game.
Before the match, the Avalanche held a ceremony and a moment of silence in honor of former general manager Pierre Lacroix, who died on December 13 at the age of 72. Lacroix was the driving force that turned the Avalanche into a force after the team moved from Quebec to Denver. for the 1995-96 season. The Avalanche won the Stanley Cup in 1996 and 01 under his leadership.
Avalanche defender Erik Johnson recently tested positive for COVID-19. The team hopes he can return on Saturday.
Avs captain Gabriel Landeskog was delighted that Blues forward Ryan O'Reilly was promoted to captain this season. The two were once teammates on the Avalanche.
“Very hard working man and a very good teammate. Put the team first & # 39; & # 39 ;, explains Landeskog, 28, who has been Colorado captain since 2012.
The Blues will stay in Denver to play Colorado again on Friday.
"It kind of reminds us of the playoffs when you go out to play those first two games of a series," said O'Reilly.
Last season, the Avs and Blues split their four meetings, with the home team winning every match.