DENVER – Once deep in the doghouse, Brandon Yip is working his way out.
The right-winger scored twice and Kevin Shattenkirk broke a third-period tie on a power play, helping the Colorado Avalanche snap a two-game skid with a 4-3 win over the St. Louis Blues on Monday night.
Struggling with his game, Yip has had to watch from the sideline in three of the last four contests.
Hardly the way to work out of a funk.
The Avs switched things around Monday in an attempt to shake out of their slide and Yip was inserted back into the lineup, taking the place of Kevin Porter.
The swap paid off as Yip turned in the fourth multigoal game of his career.
“I thought Yip had a strong game tonight,” said Avs coach Joe Sacco, whose team beat the Blues for a sixth straight time. “When he plays with that intensity, he’s an effective player. You get rewarded when you work hard, when you do things right.”
Yip took his performance in stride, more jubilant with his team’s play than his own.
“It’s not only scoring goals, it’s playing the right way and everyone did that tonight,” Yip said. “We showed a great effort. It’s a team win.”
Yip sacrificed a little blood for the sake of the squad as well, taking a stick to the face in the final period when Brad Boyes caught him flush, leading to a double-minor penalty.
Colorado capitalized as Shattenkirk sent a wrist shot over the right shoulder of Jaroslav Halak midway through the third period, giving the Avalanche a lead it wouldn’t surrender.
“We gained a little bit of momentum off that,” Shattenkirk said.
Ryan Stoa sealed the win when his shot 44 seconds later trickled through the legs of Halak, a goal that was at first waved off after defenceman Tyson Strachan appeared to clear the puck before it completely crossed the line.
After a quick review, the referee signalled to centre ice, revving up the small crowd.
Down two goals late in the game, the Blues scored with 1:27 remaining when David Backes knocked in a rebound as Halak was pulled for an extra skater.
St. Louis kept up the pressure over the final 30 seconds, but couldn’t tie the game.
“We showed a lot of good character, showed a lot of good things and it’s a step in the right direction,” Backes said. “But steps in the right direction don’t get you any points in the standings.”
Jay McClement and Eric Brewer also scored for the Blues, who have lost three straight.
“We got it to within one and we had a couple of chances at the end,” Blues coach Davis Payne said. “But chances don’t get you points.”
Yip scored his first goal since Dec. 13 on a shot in the second period that went through the legs of Halak, who appeared to be screened on the play.
McClement then clanged in a wrist shot off the top bar for his sixth goal of the season. The referee reviewed the play, just to see if the puck indeed went in, before awarding the goal.
Moments later, Brewer knocked in a shot off a no-look pass from Boyes to give the Blues a 2-1 lead.
The Avs tied it up just before the end of the second period when Yip skated around the goal and stuffed in a shot between the post and Halak’s right pad during a power play.
Former NHL MVP Peter Forsberg has joined the Avalanche at practice with an eye toward a possible return. The 37-year-old Forsberg’s biggest obstacle remains a bothersome right foot that’s hampered him over the latter part of his career.
After going through the gruelling workout Sunday—one that included plenty of skating in the wake of the team’s recent woes—Forsberg was left quite exhausted, but announced that his foot was feeling fine.
The Swedish sensation made an instant impression on the Avalanche, many of whom gushed about his performance. Forsberg won two Stanley Cup titles and the league’s MVP in 2003 while with Colorado.
NOTES: The Blues recalled F Stefan Della Rovere and D Nikita Nikitin on Sunday from Peoria of the American Hockey League. … St. Louis D Barret Jackman missed the game with a lower-body injury. … Boyes finished with three assists. … Avs D Ryan Wilson played in his 100th NHL game.