Parayko’s OT goal lifts Blues over Avalanche 3-2

St. Louis Blues Patrik Berglund (21) is congratulated on his third period goal against the Pittsburgh Penguins by Ivan Barbashev (49) and Colton Parayko at the Scottrade Center in St. Louis on February 4, 2017. Photo by Bill Greenblatt/UPI

DENVER (AP) _ Colton Parayko didn’t have much room to work with as he skated into the Colorado end early in the overtime, so the defenseman used his long arm to knock the puck toward the net.

His strategy paid off. Parayko’s one-handed goal 1:34 into the extra period lifted the St. Louis Blues to a 3-2 win over the Avalanche on Friday night.

Vladimir Tarasenko scored and Alexander Steen also had a goal before leaving the game with an injury. Jake Allen stopped 27 shots for St. Louis.

Defenseman Alex Pietrangelo also left in the third period with an undisclosed injury, but the Blues overcame the absence of two of their top players. The 6-foot-6 Parayko gave St. Louis the win when he skated in against Colorado’s 5-10 defenseman Samuel Girard and poked the puck past Semyon Varlamov with one hand. The goal, his fourth, ended Colorado’s six-game winning streak.

“It was one-on-one and I hesitated a little bit but then I saw an opening so I thought I’d take it,” Parayko said. “It was a good opportunity to try to take some ice. Kept pushing the puck forward.”

Nikita Zadorov and Mikko Rantanen scored and Varlamov had 34 saves for the Avalanche. Colorado has erned at least one point in its last nine games.

“It’s a big point, it’s an important point,” Colorado coach Jared Bednar said. “We would’ve liked to have two, but sometimes that’s the way it goes.”

St. Louis took a 2-0 lead on first-period goals by Tarasenko and Steen, but Zadorov got Colorado back into it with his fourth goal 1:08 into the second period.

Things heated up after that. Steen’s hard check on Nathan MacKinnon at the Colorado blue line upset Avalanche defenseman Erik Johnson. He got his elbow up on a hit to Steen moments later, igniting a scrum in the Colorado crease. When order was restored, Johnson was given an elbowing major and a game misconduct.

Steen left with what the Blues said was an upper-body injury and didn’t return. St. Louis interim coach Craig Berube didn’t have an update on either injured player.

“It’s hard to lose those guys … but we have to play not only for ourselves but those guys too,” Tarasenko said. “I think you saw the response today. It’s a hot team, they play well at home, and it’s a tough rink to play in. It’s a great win.”

The Avalanche played the last 36 minutes with just five defensemen.

“To me, it’s a 2-minute penalty,” Bednar said of Johnson’s game misconduct.

Colorado tied it early in the third period when Girard’s shot nearly trickled in and defenseman Joel Edmundson’s attempt to clear it went off the goalie’s pads to Rantanen, who knocked it in for his 11th of the season.

Oskar Sundqvist was awarded a penalty shot at 12:37 of the second period but the puck slipped off of his stick as he tried to shoot it by Varlamov.

Both teams had chances later in the third to break the tie. Colin Wilson nearly cashed in but Allen made a lunging save with 7:23 left.

Zach Sanford and Ivan Barbashev had chances in the final 20 seconds, but Varlamov made big saves to send it to overtime.

“We came back and tied the game and had a cance to win the game in the third period,” Varlamov said. “We had some good moments to score the goal, we just couldn’t put the puck in the net. Tough loss.”

NOTES: Edmundson had two assists for St. Louis. … The Avalanche recalled D Mark Alt from the AHL Colorado Eagles on Friday. He made his season debut with Mark Barberrio out with an upper-body injury. … St. Louis D Robert Bortuzzo returned to the lineup after missing 16 games with a lower-body injury. Bortuzzo’s last game was Oct. 20. … Colorado D Tyson Barrie missed his third straight game with a lower-body injury.

UP NEXT

St. Louis: At Arizona on Saturday.

Colorado: At Detroit on Sunday to start a four-game trip.