Blues' O'Reilly nets short-handed winner after obscure call
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By JOE HARRIS
ST. LOUIS (AP) After the St. Louis Blues caught the short end of the stick on an obscure NHL rule, Ryan O'Reilly bailed them out with a breakaway winner.
O'Reilly scored a short-handed goal 2:05 into overtime to lift St. Louis over the Colorado Avalanche 4-3 on Friday night.
O'Reilly's forehand finish was memorable, but the buzz postgame was about the call that put the Blues on the penalty kill to begin with.
Vladimir Tarasenko was called for playing with illegal equipment after picking up teammate Colton Parayko's stick. Blues interim coach Craig Berube said the penalty was called because the 6-foot-6 Parayko has an exemption to the NHL's stick length rule. The 6-foot Tarasenko does not.
"If it was somebody else's stick, say it was (Jaden Schwartz's) stick, he could pick it up and use it," Berube said.
O'Reilly scored 34 seconds later after being sprung by a pass from Robert Bortuzzo. That eased St. Louis' frustration after the surprising penalty call.
"I had no idea," O'Reilly said of the rule. "I think our whole bench had no idea, but with the win tonight I don't think we care. We got it done."
Parayko scored twice and Ivan Barbashev also had a goal for the Blues, who won for the third time in four games. Jake Allen made 39 saves including several game-savers late in the third and in overtime.
J.T. Compher had a goal and an assist, and Sven Andrighetto and Matt Calvert also scored for the Avalanche, who dropped their third straight game. Philipp Grubauer made 24 saves, but lost for the first time in his last 10 starts.
Avalanche coach Jared Bednar felt his team left a point on the table.
"We've got our best players on the ice on a 4-3 power play and we give up a breakaway," Bednar said. "It should be us putting a dagger through them and getting two points. It has to be. We have to better than that. The decision we make with the puck there, it cost us the game so that's it."
Parayko put St. Louis ahead 3-2 with 9 minutes left in the third. It was the second career two-goal game for Parayko, the other coming on Oct. 13, 2015 at Calgary.
Compher's power-play goal tied it with 6:50 left.
Parayko gave the Blues a 1-0 lead at 3:24 of the first period with his second goal in four games on a one-timer from just inside the blue line.
Andrighetto tied it on a breakaway at 5:42 of the first. It was his first goal in eight games.
Calvert gave the Avalanche a 2-1 lead at 9:48 of the first, beating Allen between the legs on a wrap-around for his fourth goal of the season.
Barbashev tied it with 40 seconds left in the first. Jay Bouwmeester set it up with a perfect pass through the crease to a streaking Barbashev who tipped it in.
"I just kind of threw it at the net so it was a good play by him because there really wasn't anything else," Bouwmeester said. "Go to the net and look what happens."
NOTES: The Blues signed F Alexei Toropchenko to a three-year, entry level contract. The 19-year-old from Moscow was drafted in the fourth round (113th overall) in the 2017 draft. ... Avalanche RW Mikko Rantanen extended his points streak to 13 games with an assist on Compher's goal and is tied with Washington's Alex Ovechkin for the longest active streak in the league. ... The Blues scratched D Joel Edmundson and LW Zach Sanford. ... The Avalanche scratched D Mark Alt and D Alexander Kerfoot.
Colorado: hosts Dallas on Saturday.
St. Louis: hosts Calgary on Sunday.
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Updated December 15, 2018