The Avalanche won its 50th game of the season Saturday in crushing the Western Conference-leading St. Louis Blues 4-0 on their home ice. The Blues were plenty frustrated by it, too, and got a pound of flesh at the end when Blues forward David Backes jumped on top of Avs star rookie Nathan MacKinnon and punched him, appearing to hurt MacKinnon.

It marked the end of a very chippy game, which got especially so when Avs enforcer Patrick Bordeleau hit Blues defender Kevin Shattenkirk with a big check along the boards that temporarily knocked him from the game.

The Blues started looking to even up the damage, with first Brendan Morris drawing a 5-minute major penalty for cross-checking. Then came Backes' jump of MacKinnon. The two jousted each other for a couple of seconds, but then Backes dropped his gloves and grabbed MacKinnon down to the ice, piling on top of him. MacKinnon left the ice, favoring his right upper body.

In the meantime, the Avs moved three points back up on Chicago in the race for No. 2 overall in the Central Division and Semyon Varlamov tied the franchise record with his 40th victory — tying his coach, Patrick Roy.

Varlamov kept the Avs in it after one period, stopping 14 Blues shots while Colorado had just six on Ryan Miller. Included were two Blues power plays.

The second period has been the Blues' best all season, entering the game outscoring opponents 80-49. Make that 80-52 now.

The Avs put a three-spot on the board in the second, dominating in all aspects of the game. Goals by Paul Stastny (on the power play), Nathan MacKinnon and Nick Holden were part of a 14-shot second for Colorado.
Holden's goal, at 10:25, withstood a video review that didn't look promising for the Avs at first. With the puck loose in the crease, Holden opened up his skate and propelled it into the net. But Blues forward Steve Ott appeared to get a stick on the puck after it hit Holden's skate, and so the goal stood.

It was Holden's 10 goal of the season and he became the second Avs defenseman to reach double figures, joining Tyson Barrie.