DENVER – The final score was Colorado 3, St. Louis 1.
In the Stastny household, however, the scoreboard reads Paul 1, Yan 0. Daniel Tjarnqvist scored his first goal in almost two years Wednesday night to lift the Avalanche to the 3-1 victory over the Blues and make Paul Stastny a winner in his first NHL matchup against older brother Yan. “Our dad is proud of us,” Paul Stastny said.
Tjarnqvist took a nifty backhand pass from David Jones to beat Manny Legace for the first score at 11:20 of the first period.
“I can’t remember my last goal,” Tjarnqvist said.
For the record, it was Dec. 28, 2006.
At 8:11 of the third, he assisted on Ian Laperriere’s goal for the 3-1 lead.
That was enough to give bragging rights to Paul Stastny, the 22-year-old son of Hall of Famer Peter, who got the win over brother Yan, as the two competed on the ice for, oh, the millionth time dating back to their childhoods in Quebec – but the first wearing NHL sweaters.
“I saw Paul on the ice,” Yan said. “It’s easy to spot him. I’ve seen him my whole life. I know exactly what he looks like. When you play, you know who the good players are out there.”
Before the game, they met for lunch. They rarely got that close on the ice, but there were a few mano-a-mano meetings and both got in their licks.
“I hit him pretty good,” Yan said. “It’s the way we were taught to play. I knew he was out there.”
Peter Budaj, who came into the night with a 1.89 goals-against average in the last seven games, made 21 saves for the win.
The Blues had earned at least a point in each of the past five games, but couldn’t overcome their second straight anemic performance on offence. They finished with 22 shots on goal a night after winning 1-0 over Nashville in a shootout despite managing only 17 shots.
“It’s a grind for us now,” Blues coach Andy Murray said. “We played a lot of games, a lot of back-to-back. We just have to play with more hunger. We made some terrible passes. Terrible passes end up in nets.”
St. Louis played the final 2:11 with a 6-on-4 advantage, but couldn’t score, after Colorado’s T.J. Hensick left with a four-minute high sticking penalty and the Blues pulled Legace.
Legace made 25 saves in his third career loss in 17 games against Colorado.
Besides the Stastnys, the big story of this game was the return of Avalanche centre Joe Sakic, who had missed seven of the last eight games – the first six with a hurting back and the last one with a tooth infection. Sakic had a couple good shots in the first period but failed to get a point.
Keith Tkachuk, got his 998th career point on one of the easiest goals of his life. A centring pass was deflected by Avalanche defenceman Scott Hannan directly onto Tkachuk’s stick, who beat the virtually helpless Budaj glove-side to tie it at 1 early in the second period.
Five minutes later, on the power play, Ryan Smyth deflected a shot from the point by Jordan Leopold to put the Avalanche back ahead 2-1. It was only Colorado’s fifth power play goal in 45 opportunities in November.
Notes: This marked the first time since Nov. 8 (seven games) that St. Louis wasn’t involved in a one-goal game. … Centre Alexander Steen and defenceman Carlo Colaiacovo, acquired in a trade with the Maple Leafs earlier this week, each made their debuts with the Blues. … The Avalanche killed three St. Louis power plays and to bring their string to 18 straight on home ice. … Avs D John-Michael Liles missed the game with the flu.