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Colorado
Avalanche
40-22-13-7
St. Louis
Blues
39-30-11-2
OT
25 SOG
30 SOG
1st2nd3rdOTT
COL
STL
game preview

Colorado Avalanche vs. St. Louis Blues

Friday, 12.26.2003 / 5:00 PM

Associated Press

Avalanche-Blues Preview

GAME: Colorado Avalanche (16-9-6-1) at St. Louis Blues (20-8-3-1).

TIME: Friday, 8 p.m. EST.

Even if he doesn't play, the Colorado Avalanche will be glad to have Peter Forsberg back on their bench when they face the St. Louis Blues at the Savvis Center.

Forsberg, who has missed 18 straight games and 21 of the last 23 because of an abdominal injury, took part in his first full practice on Monday and will be with the team as it faces the Blues. However, he is not sure whether he will play against St. Louis.

"It's not 100 percent yet," he said. "(The pain is) still there a little bit, but I'm doing more and more, and there have been no setbacks so far. I've never had an abdominal/groin injury like this, but everybody tells me, just don't reinjure it."

Forsberg, who won the Hart Trophy last season, has five goals and 14 assists in 11 games this season. But Colorado coach Tony Granato said that the team will be cautious with his return.

"He's skating pretty good; he's getting better," he said. "Again, we'll wait for medical clearance for him, but obviously being able to practice with us and get a few good days under his belt will help him."

The Avalanche, who have also been without star winger Paul Kariya for 25 of the last 27 games because of a wrist injury, could use some help as they try to snap their five-game winless streak (0-2-3).

Joe Sakic has scored each of Colorado's last five goals, including all three in his team's 3-3 tie with the Los Angeles Kings on Saturday.

"Basically, Joe's keeping us in games," defenseman Derek Morris said. "The rest of us have to find a way to start scoring and help him out a little bit."

Colorado is opening a stretch of 22 games in 42 days, including four sets of back-to-back games.

The Blues lost 3-0 to the Chicago Blackhawks on Tuesday, dropping their second straight since a nine-game unbeaten streak (7-0-2). Backup goalie Brent Johnson made 18 stops in his eighth game of the season.

"I don't think we crashed the net enough," St. Louis coach Joel Quenneville said. "I know that we were looking to score ugly goals and trying to get some plays where you get the fortunate bounces. That did materialize because I don't think we pursued that territory enough."

2003-2004 season series
DateScoreW. Goal
Feb 26 '04STL 2 at COL 2 - OTK. Tkachuk
Feb 12 '04COL 4 at STL 0P. Forsberg
Dec 26 '03COL 3 at STL 3 - OTA. Foote
Oct 12 '03STL 2 at COL 1K. Tkachuk
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