May 18 (UPI) -- Defenseman Josh Manson flipped in a long-range wrist shot 8:02 into overtime to lead the Colorado Avalanche to a narrow win over the St. Louis Blues in Game 1 of a Western Conference semifinals series.
Manson also logged an assist in the 3-2 triumph Tuesday at Ball Arena in Denver. Fellow defenseman Samuel Girard and Valeri Nichushkin also scored for the Avalanche.
"It was a lot of fun and a lot of excitement," Manson told reporters. "It feels good to get that with your team. That's the best part of the playoffs is that its a team effort. You get to win with your team."
Blues goaltender Jordan Binnington made 51 saves in the loss. Game 2 of the best-of-seven series will be Thursday in Denver.
"He did a good job, kept us in the game and gave us a chance to win," Blues defenseman Colton Parayko said of Binnington. "He made big stops all night long.
"It was a good chance to get a game in the series, but that's obviously not the way it went."
Blues center Ryan O'Reilly lit the lamp first 6:25 into the first period. Nichushkin tied the score 3:14 into the second. Girard gave the Avalanche a 2-1 lead about eight minutes later.
The Avalanche held that one-score edge through most of the third. Blues center Jordan Kyrou then forced overtime with 3:14 remaining.
Defenseman Justin Faulk fired a long cross-ice pass from left to right to find Kyrou past the Avalanche Blue line on that play.
Kyrou skated up the right flank and deked two defenders with a slick puck drag. He then ripped a between-the-circles shot past the glove side of Avalanche net minder Darcy Kuemper.
Manson then played hero almost midway through extra time. Center Nazem Kadri passed off to left wing Gabriel Landeskog behind the Blues net to spark that play. Landeskog then fired a deep pass beyond the right circle to find Manson.
Manson faked a slap shot with his forehand, dropped his stick back down to the ice and flicked his wrist with a follow up attempt. The shot cruised between defenders, flew over Binnington's left shoulder and found the net to end the game.
Game 2 will start at 9:30 p.m. EDT Thursday at Ball Arena. Game 3 and Game 4 will be Saturday and Monday, respectively, in St. Louis.