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Avalanche take down Blues in Game 3, reclaim lead in Western Conference semifinal series

Gabriel Landeskog (left) is congratulated by teammate Nathan MacKinnon after an empty net goal that helped cap the Avalanche's 5-2 win over the Blues in Game 3.Jeff Roberson/Associated Press

Artturi Lehkonen scored twice, Darcy Kuemper stopped 29 shots and the Avalanche beat the Blues, 5-2, in Game 3 of their Western Conference second-round series Saturday night in St. Louis.

Logan O’Connor, Nazem Kadri and Gabriel Landeskog also scored as the Avalanche took a 2-1 lead in the best-of-seven series. Colorado improved to 3-0 on the road in the postseason.

Ryan O’Reilly had a goal and an assist, and Colton Parayko also scored for the Blues. Jordan Binnington started in goal for St. Louis and made three saves before leaving the game 6:45 into the first period after Kadri and Blues defenseman Calle Rosen collided into him after getting their skates tangled up in the crease. No penalty was called on the play.

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Ville Husso stopped 19 of 23 shots in relief of Binnington to fall to 1-3 in the playoffs.

Game 4 is Monday night in St. Louis.

Parayko scored his second goal of the postseason on a slap shot from the point 3:55 into the game to put St. Louis ahead 1-0.

O’Connor got his first at 11:54 to tie it, and Kadri followed with his second of the postseason when he deflected Cale Makar’s slap shot past Husso right after Pavel Buchnevich finished serving an interference penalty.

Lehkonen scored his third of the playoffs to put Colorado up 3-1 with 2:45 remaining in the second period. Nathan MacKinnon assisted on the goal to give him points in seven straight postseason games.

O’Reilly tapped in a rebound from Nick Leddy for his seventh goal of the postseason to pull St. Louis within one with 29 seconds remaining in the middle period.

Landeskog iced the game when he scored his fifth of the postseason with 2:08 remaining after Husso had started to skate off the ice for an extra attacker.

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Lehkonen scored his second of the night with Husso pulled to put Colorado up 5-2 in the final minute.

Avalanche defenseman Samuel Girard had to be helped off the ice after his head crashed into the boards on a check from Ivan Barbashev 1:40 into the first period. Girard was ruled out with an upper body injury and was transported to a St. Louis area hospital for further evaluation.

Penguins re-sign forward Bryan Rust

Bryan Rust is staying in Pittsburgh.

The veteran forward, who was scheduled to become a free agent this summer, agreed to a six-year contract with the Penguins that will keep him with the club through 2028.

The deal, announced Saturday, carries an average annual value of $5.125 million.

Rust, 30, scored 24 goals to go with a career-best 34 assists this season. Rust said earlier this week he would prefer to remain in Pittsburgh but added “I’ve played at a higher level than what my contract has said the last few years.”

Rust was finishing up a contract that paid him $3.5 million a season. Now he'll get a raise and stay in a place where he's been a fixture for the better part of a decade.

A third-round pick in the 2010 draft, Rust made his NHL debut on Dec. 13, 2014. Since his arrival, only Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and Jake Guentzel have scored more for the Penguins than the 124 goals he’s piled up in 424 games.

Rust also served as a vital part of Pittsburgh's run to consecutive Stanley Cups in 2016 and 2017. Rust has 21 goals in 79 career playoff games and he is one of four players in NHL history to have each of their first three game-winning goals in the playoffs clinch series.

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“Bryan exemplifies what it means to be a Pittsburgh Penguin,” Pittsburgh general manager Ron Hextall said in a statement. ”His leadership qualities and experience as a two-time Stanley Cup champion is an important piece of our team.”

Rust's signing is the first domino to fall on what could be a very busy summer for the Penguins. Pittsburgh reached the playoffs for the 16th straight season — the longest active streak in major North American sports — but fell in seven games to the New York Rangers in the first round.

Malkin and Kris Letang are among several high-profile players who are scheduled to hit the open market this summer. Like Rust, they have expressed a desire to stay in Pittsburgh but unlike Rust, they are in the latter portions of their career. Malkin turns 36 in July while Letang turned 35 in April.