Avs Gameday: Colorado vs. St. Louis
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Duchene Skates, But Stastny Sits
The Avalanche got one center back Wednesday but lost another.
Matt Duchene and Colorado head coach Patrick Roy said Duchene was a game-time decision following the Avs’ morning skate, but he returned to the lineup against St. Louis, skating for the first time since Nov. 16.
That good-news addition was offset, however, by the absence of Paul Stastny, who was scratched before the game with back spasms.
Duchene leads Colorado in goals (12) and points (20), and he skated Wednesday at “about 95 percent,” according to Roy.
Colorado’s initial plan was to hold out Duchene until Friday’s game against Minnesota, but when Stastny’s back started to flare, Duchene decided that he could give it a go and fill a void at the center position.
Blues Hand Avalanche 4-1 Loss
Rick Sadowski - NHL.com Correspondent
DENVER -- If the St. Louis Blues have any weaknesses, they have yet to show many while running up an 18-3-3 record and challenging for first place in the hotly contested Central Division.
The Blues were solid in all aspects of the game Wednesday in a 4-1 win against the Colorado Avalanche at Pepsi Center that opened a three-game road trip.
The Blues are as hot as any team in the NHL. They've won five consecutive games and are 10-1-1 in their past 12.
The win was the second for the Blues in two games this season against the Avalanche, who had its winning streak end at three. The Blues had lost eight consecutive games in Denver since a 1-0 win April 12, 2009.
Avs Ready for Round 2 Against Blues
The Avalanche (17-5) has been saying all week that tonight’s game against St. Louis (17-3-3) won’t be about revenge. It won’t be about dishing out payback after suffering through a 7-3 road loss to the Blues that captain Gabriel Landeskog later termed a “stinker.”
Tonight’s game does, however, mean something special to the Avs.
They might not be focused on the “what” from that loss two weeks ago at Scottrade Center, but they are focused on the “how.” Avalanche players and coaches talked often at today’s morning skate about the latter, saying that’s where their recent game against St. Louis was lost.
“[Tonight] is a fresh start for us,” Ryan O’Reilly said. “That last game is not what we wanted. We know we’re going to have to compete against these guys, and it’s going to be a tough match. We have to stick to our system. We have to play our game. This is our barn, and we have to dictate out there.”READ MORE >
MORNING SKATE: Marc Moser gets with PA Parenteau, Gabriel Landeskog, Ryan O'Reilly, Matt Duchene and coach Patrick Roy.
POSTGAME HIGHLIGHTS: The Altitude Radio Network recaps the Avalanche's 4-1 loss to the St. Louis Blues.
17-5 AVS OFF TO BEST START IN FRANCHISE HISTORY; NHL'S TOP TWO TEAMS IN PTS% FACE OFF TONIGHT
* The Colorado Avalanche takes on the St. Louis Blues in a Central Division matchup tonight at Pepsi Center.
* Tonight's matchup features the NHL's top two teams in terms of points percentage: St. Louis (.804) and Colorado (.773).
*The Avs have won three straight games, the last two in overtime.
*At 17-5-0 (34 points), the Avs are off to their best start through 22 games in franchise history. The previous best start was 15-4-3 (33 points) in 2000-01 and 1994-95.
*Colorado enters tonight's contest having won eight consecutive home games versus the Blues.
*The Avs will practice tomorrow before facing the Minnesota Wild in a home-and-home series beginning Friday in St. Paul.
COMPLETE NOTES >
Avalanche and Blues Both Chasing 18th Win
BLUES (17-3-3) at AVALANCHE (17-5-0)
TV: ALT2, FS-MW
Last 10: St. Louis 8-1-1; Colorado 6-4-0
Season series: This is the second of four meetings between the St. Louis Blues and Colorado Avalanche. Alexander Steen scored twice, and T.J. Oshie had four assists Nov. 17 when the Blues topped the Avalanche 7-3 at Scottrade Center.
Big story: Wednesday's matchup can be summed up with a pair of numbers: 17 and 19. The first reflects the number of wins each team has reached—Colorado in 22 games, St. Louis in 23. The second number is how many goals Steen has this season, one behind NHL-leader Alex Ovechkin of the Washington Capitals and five shy of his career high for a season.
Each team also ranks in the top six in the NHL offensively and defensively. The Blues are second at 3.44 goals per game and sixth with a 2.13 goals-against average, while the Avalanche are fifth at 3.14 GPG and tied for second with a 2.04 GAA.
READ MORE >