Jones lifts Avs to 1-0 win over Blues in OT

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Associated Press

Posted on February 21, 2013 at 1:06 AM

DENVER (AP) — David Jones scored at 4:43 of overtime and Semyon Varlamov stopped 33 shots, leading the Colorado Avalanche to a 1-0 win over the St. Louis Blues on Wednesday night in front of a smattering of boisterous fans that braved a winter storm.

Matt Hunwick set up the winning goal by bringing the puck into the zone and passing it over to Jones, who sent a wrist shot over the left shoulder of Jaroslav Halak. The Avs have won seven straight over the Blues at Pepsi Center.

This was Jones' first goal since Jan. 22.

Halak stopped 19 shots in his first appearance since coming off injured reserve earlier this month with a strained groin. He got the start with rookie Jake Allen playing the night before and Brian Elliott struggling.

Jan Hejda had two scoring chances late in overtime, but sent a puck high when he was open in front of the net and then couldn't stuff in a rebound past Halak.

It was yet another busy night for Varlamov. He's stopped 126 shots over his past three games. The closest St. Louis came to getting anything into his net was when Alexander Steen lost his balance and slid into the goal.

The Blues have had quite an arduous traveling adventure of late. The team recently spent 14 hours stranded in Vancouver due to plane trouble, only to arrive back in St. Louis at 6:30 a.m. on Tuesday. That night, the Blues dropped a 2-1 decision to San Jose.

But they showed no signs of fatigue against Colorado, controlling the pace of play for most of the game.

St. Louis was scheduled to leave town after the game. Weather forecasters were expecting the Denver area to receive around eight inches of snow.

Colorado suffered a blow to its offense when forward Milan Hejduk didn't return for the final period because of a torso injury. The 37-year-old just recently recorded the 800th point of his career, becoming only the second Avalanche player to reach that milestone.

Midway through the final period, Blues forward Vladimir Tarasenko left the ice with a towel draped over his mouth after taking a hit from Mark Olver near the boards. Tarasenko was escorted by trainers into the locker room.

No penalty was called on the play.

Vladimir Sobotka nearly put the Blues on the board in the second period when he cruised in after two Avalanche players collided near the blue line and knocked each other over. Just as Sobotka was about to shoot, though, Varlamov stuck out his stick and swatted away the puck.

However, Tyson Barrie was called for hooking on the play. St. Louis couldn't take advantage of the power play, leaving the game scoreless through two periods.

Halak caught a break 40 seconds into the opening period when Jamie McGinn's shot clanged off the left post. McGinn had another chance later when P.A. Parenteau hit him in stride at the blue line and he had a clear path to the goal.

But a diving Roman Polak knocked the puck away, along with the goal post as the Blues defenseman slid right into it with his right leg. Polak stayed down in the corner for a few minutes before gingerly skating to the bench. He later returned to the game.

The Avalanche struggled in the first period and had a season-low two shots.

They may soon receive a much-needed offensive boost with captain Gabriel Landeskog on the mend from a concussion that's sidelined him for nearly a month. Landeskog went through drills with his teammates at the morning skate Wednesday, wearing a bright orange jersey so no one would hit him.

The league's reigning rookie of the year is hoping to join the team on a three-game road swing through California starting this weekend. He's trying to quickly work his way back into game shape.

Said Landeskog: "My hands aren't quite there yet, feet aren't quite there. My lungs aren't quite there. But I'm working on it, trying to get better every day."

Notes: Johnson (head injury) missed his fourth straight game. ... Blues D Barret Jackman played in his 615th career game, tying him with Bob Plager for fifth-most in franchise history.

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