|COL||0||0||0||(0 - 0)||1|
|STL||0||0||0||(0 - 0)||4|
After a slow start, the Colorado Avalanche have started to click on both ends of the ice.
The Avalanche try to win three straight games for the first time this year and their fifth in a row over the St. Louis Blues when the teams face off at Scottrade Center on Thursday night.
A two-time Stanley Cup winner, Colorado (6-4-2) has finished first or second in its division each of the last 11 years, but started this season with four losses in five games during which it was outscored 17-13.
In winning five of seven games since then, the Avalanche have outscored their opponents 29-20 and have scored power-play goals in five straight games.
Colorado got goals from Wojtek Wolski, Brett McLean, Joe Sakic, Mark Rycroft and Brad Richardson to beat Columbus 5-3 on Wednesday. Seven players also recorded assists in the Avs' 19th win in 21 games all-time against the Blue Jackets.
"We have balance in our lines," Colorado coach Joel Quenneville said. "We feel that everybody can score and tonight we did have everybody on the score sheet."
Sakic, who eclipsed the 1,500-point mark in a loss to Washington on Oct. 25, has two goals and two assists in a four-game points streak on the road.
Since March 2001, Sakic has scored in his last nine games in St. Louis (3-5-3), tallying nine goals and 18 points. Colorado has eight wins and tie during that streak - and lost the only game Sakic did not play in that span.
Last season, the Avalanche swept the season series from the Blues, who had the league's worst record.
Jose Theodore made 19 of his 41 saves in the third period of the win over Columbus, but is 0-3 with a 4.03 GAA in his career against St. Louis. Backup Peter Budaj was 2-0 with a 1.99 GAA as a rookie last season versus the Blues, and may get the start in this contest.
St. Louis dropped its third in a row and fifth in six games with a 4-1 loss to Dallas on Wednesday. Keith Tkachuk's goal 76 seconds into the game gave the Blues an early lead it couldn't sustain.
"You can't make mistakes like we did," said backup goalie Curtis Sanford, who finished with 27 saves. "Mistakes came back to bite us. At the start we were buzzing good, but we couldn't sustain it. You can't sit on a one-goal lead."
Sanford has started the last two games for St. Louis, but Manny Legace will likely be back in net against Colorado.
Legace, who joined the Blues as a free agent after six seasons in Detroit, has been outstanding in his career against the Avalanche. He's 8-1 with a 2.22 GAA and two shutouts against them including a 28-save effort in the Red Wings' 3-0 win on Feb. 4 in Denver.
Tkachuk leads the Blues with nine assists and 11 points, and has 12 multipoint games in his career versus Colorado.
|Dec 30 '06||COL 0 at STL 2||K. Tkachuk|
|Dec 29 '06||STL 4 at COL 2||M. Rucinsky|
|Dec 13 '06||STL 1 at COL 4||P. Stastny|
|Nov 02 '06||COL 1 at STL 4||B. Guerin|