As the Colorado Avalanche took a 2-1 lead over the St. Louis Blues on Saturday night, it was center Nazem Kadri’s collision with Blues goaltender Jordan Binnington that dominated the post-game conversation. match.
The Blues have questioned Kadri’s role in Binnington’s injury, which forced their starting keeper out of Game 3 early in the first period. Kadri, meanwhile, insinuated that Binnington threw a water bottle at him during a post-match television interview.
Binnington didn’t let it pass until 6:45 into the first period after Avalanche forward Artturi Lehkonen fired a shot that Binnington blocked with his glove. Kadri and Blues defenseman Calle Rosen both slammed into the net looking for a loose puck. Binnington stayed down and the St. Louis coach stepped out onto the ice. The Blues keeper tried to overcome the injury and stay in the game, making some moves in the slot. But at one point he reached down to grab his left leg before leaving the ice.
St. Louis confirmed he suffered a lower-body injury. Substitute Ville Husso, who started the playoffs as the Blues’ No. 1 goaltender, entered the game and allowed four goals on 23 shots in the 5-2 loss.
Blues coach Craig Berube questioned Kadri’s role in the collision, although there was no penalty on play.
“Look at Kadri’s reputation. That’s all I have to say,” he said of Kadri, who has multiple playoff suspensions, including an eight-game ban for illegal testing. leading St. Louis defenseman Justin Faulk in the 2021 playoffs.
Colorado coach Jared Bednar defended his player.
“Look, reputation means nothing. It’s either legal gambling or it’s not. We talked to Naz about it and how he’s trying to change his reputation,” he said. . “Their (defender) and Naz are both aiming for a loose puck sitting atop the crease. They skate in there as hard as they can, and they collide before going in. Again, it is unhappy. It’s a legal game.”
Kadri and Binnington had a previous incident this season. In October 2021, Binnington was given a 10-minute misconduct penalty for swinging his goalie stick at Kadri after a scrum between the teams.
After the Match 3 incident, Kadri was doing a post-match interview with TNT and talking about the collision. He paused for a moment and then continued, eventually telling the show that Binnington may have thrown a water bottle at him.
In his post-match press conference, Kadri didn’t back down on that insinuation. “Yeah, I think it was Binnington. But I was kinda attached, so you’ll have to ask him,” Kadri said. “I think it was him. I don’t know for sure.”
According to The Athletic, two people confirmed that it was Binnington who threw the water bottle.
Kadri defended his actions on the game.
“I just see a loose puck, really. It was just sitting behind him. Their defender collided with me and pushed me against him. If that hadn’t been the case, I don’t think I would. would have hit him at all,” he said.
Binnington’s loss was significant for the Blues. He had gone 4-1 in five games since replacing Husso for Game 4 of the Blues’ first-round win over the Minnesota Wild. Binnington started Saturday night’s game with the best save percentage (.948) of any goaltender still competing in the playoffs and stopped 81 of 85 shots in the first two games of the series.
Husso allowed a goal to Liam O’Connor at 10:57 of the first period to tie the game 1-1. The Avalanche got second-period goals from Kadri and Artturi Lehkonen to take a 3-1 lead, but St. Louis center Ryan O’Reilly cut the lead to 3-2 late in the second. .
“Binner is heart and soul. He’s playing amazing. I think (his injury) took the momentum and it took us too long to get him back,” O’Reilly said. The Blues failed to tie in the third period, and Gabriel Landeskog froze the game on a missed shot from the St. Louis goaltender.
Game 4 is scheduled for Monday in St. Louis.
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