Missing three key offensive players, the Colorado Avalanche got some scoring from a pair of unlikely sources.
Rookie T.J. Hensick and Ben Guite had two goals each, leading the short-handed Avalanche to a 6-4 victory over the St. Louis Blues on Saturday night.
Jaroslav Hlinka and Tyler Arnason also scored and Wojtek Wolski had two assists for Colorado, which was playing without Joe Sakic, Paul Stastny and Ryan Smyth because of injuries.
Hensick's power play goal 1 minute into the third period, his second score of the game and third of the season and his career, stretched the lead to 4-2.
"It's a good feeling," Hensick said. "It's been awhile since I've scored a goal. Two good plays by two very good players and I reaped the benefits.
"It's good to help this team offensively. I think at some point in time as this learning process continues, I'll be able to help this team a little more offensively."
Colorado, which had lost three of its previous four games, is now five points ahead of the Blues in the Western Conference standings.
"Big. Huge," Avalanche coach Joel Quenneville said describing the game. "Last night (a 2-0 loss at Detroit) we were 2 minutes away from getting it to overtime. That was disappointing and a tough loss. I like how we rebounded."
Dan Hinote, Paul Kariya, Andy McDonald and Keith Tkachuk scored for St. Louis. Brad Boyes and David Backes had two assists apiece.
"We reviewed the goals with the guys after the game," Blues coach Andy Murray said. "(There were) some mistakes you can't make. You can't give up six goals in your building. It doesn't matter if you score four, you can't give up six goals. You can't win in this league like that."
A night after gaining his fourth shutout of the season in a 1-0 shootout win over Anaheim, Blues goalie Manny Legace stopped 18 shots.
Peter Budaj made 28 saves for Colorado.
"That's hockey. That's the way it is," Legace said. "You're not going to get an easier lineup than that playing against those guys. Everybody's hurt. Detroit gave up, what, 15 shots against them (Friday) night. And we're giving up empty-net goals. It's uncalled for. You're not going to get an easier lineup against those guys. They're only getting better now."
Guite deflected in Wolski's point shot through the pads of Blues goalie Manny Legace to give the Avalanche a 3-2 lead 10:01 into the second period, the third time in the game Colorado grabbed a one-goal advantage.
After Hensick's second goal, the Blues pulled to 4-3 on McDonald's 10th of the season at 6:24 of the third period, one-timing a pass from rookie David Perron.
Tkachuk nearly tied the game with 9:19 to play, but his deflection of Kariya's shot rang off the left goal post.
Arnason regained a two-goal lead for Colorado with his sixth of the season when he beat Legace with 8:44 to play.
Tkachuk's 16th of the season and 489th of his career again brought the Blues back to within one at 5-4 with 7:43 to play. However, Guite's empty-netter with 6 seconds left sealed Colorado's win.
"I don't think we're going to take the consolation prize for this game," Blues defenseman Eric Brewer said. "I think there's some things we need to shore up. Obviously, we had a few breakdowns and a few too many turnovers, but we did a lot of real good things."
Hensick gave the Avalanche a 1-0 lead when he tapped in a centering feed from Ian Laperriere for his second goal of the season and his career at 5:28 of the first period. It was Colorado's first shot of the game in a period which produced four goals by the two teams.
Hinote, a former member of the Avalanche, tied the game for the Blues 48 seconds later on a wraparound, sticking in the second attempt at the near post to make it 1-1. It was Hinote's fifth goal of the season and third against his former club.
Colorado regained the lead on Hlinka's sixth of the season at 13:42 of a tap-in attempt of Wolski's wrister on goal.
The Blues quickly tied the game again on Kariya's 13th of the season, a power-play goal at 14:34 after one-timing in a shot of Boyes' cross-ice backhand feed from the left circle.
Notes: Legace began the day 12-1-0 with a 1.85 goals-against-average and three shutouts in his career against Colorado. ... Sakic (hernia surgery), Stastny (appendectomy) and Smyth (ankle) are all on the injured reserve list. Also, Colorado was without G Jose Theodore, who missed the game with back spasms. ... Before the game, the Blues placed D Christian Backman on injured reserve after suffering a cracked bone in his left foot blocking a shot on Friday's victory over Anaheim. Backman is expected to miss one to two weeks.
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