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32-45-5
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41-31-10

26 SOG
26 SOG
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Avalanche-Blues Preview

Thursday, 01.15.2009 / 5:30 PM

Associated Press

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Avalanche-Blues Preview
Colorado Avalanche vs. St. Louis Blues

Considering the Colorado Avalanche hasn't fared particularly well on the road, the team is likely looking forward to the lengthy homestand that lies ahead.

Before returning to Denver, the Avalanche will try to conclude a two-game road trip with a victory over the St. Louis Blues on Thursday night.

Colorado (22-20-1) is tied with Minnesota and Edmonton for last place in the Northwest Division, partly because the team has lost eight of its last 12 road games.

The Avalanche, though, has won nine of 12 at home. Following Thursday's contest, the team will play a season-high eight straight games at the Pepsi Center, starting Friday against the Oilers.

It appears as Colorado prepares to head home that its offense has gotten on track. The Avalanche went five games in a row without scoring more than two goals - they totaled six in that span - before a 5-3 home win over Pittsburgh on Saturday. They scored twice in the third period Tuesday, but fell 4-3 at Columbus to have a three-game winning streak snapped.

The teams were tied 1-1 after two periods, but combined for five goals in 3:41 of the third. Ryan Smyth, leading the Avalanche with 32 points, capped the outburst with his team-leading 15th goal at 10:27.

"It was a lot of pucks just thrown at the net trying to win battles for opportunities," Avalanche coach Tony Granato said. "They were able to do it better than us."

Chris Stewart had a goal and assist, and Brett Clark added two assists for the Avalanche, which fell to 7-6-0 against Central opponents. One of those victories came against the Blues, 3-1 at home on Nov. 26 in the teams' only matchup this season.

Colorado has won three of the last four meetings, and snapped a three-game losing streak in St. Louis with a 6-4 victory on Feb. 2 in its most recent visit.

Like Colorado, the Blues (16-23-3) have been struggling on the road, losing nine of 10, but they also have been inconsistent at home and that's one reason they are at the bottom of the Western Conference standings. They had gone four straight home games without winning in regulation before a 5-2 victory over Columbus on Jan. 3 in their most recent outing at Scottrade Center.

St. Louis followed that victory by tying a season high for goals in a 6-4 win at Vancouver on Friday, but then was held to a combined two goals in losses at Edmonton and Calgary on Sunday and Tuesday, respectively.

The Blues lost for the fifth time in seven games overall Tuesday, allowing the Northwest-leading Flames to score two goals in the final 51 seconds of a 3-1 defeat.

"Losing stinks, but at least you can be a little more satisfied with the effort we put in because Calgary is a great team and we played with them right until the end," said Chris Mason, who made 31 saves but fell to 0-8-1 with a 3.92 goals-against average in his last 10 games.

Just as the Blues' losses have been accumulating, so have the names on their extensive injury list. All-Star Keith Tkachuk went down after apparently hurting his jaw late in the second period Tuesday. He is uncertain for Thursday.

The left wing, who is second on the Blues with 29 points and one short of 500 assists for his career, has 24 goals and 51 points in 50 lifetime contests versus the Avalanche.

2008-2009 season series
DateScoreW. Goal
Apr 12 '09STL 1 at COL 0B. Boyes
Feb 07 '09COL 1 at STL 4K. Tkachuk
Jan 15 '09COL 2 at STL 5B. Boyes
Nov 26 '08STL 1 at COL 3R. Smyth
PlayerGPGAP+/-PIMPPGW
R. Smyth44151833-44072
M. Hejduk44141832-5652
P. Stastny34102131-41662
W. Wolski43111526-42022
J. Liles4251520-21630
M. Svatos3771017+22620
J. Leopold4451015-41611
D. Jones398513-8811
I. Laperriere394913+58400
T. Arnason4321113-51211
J. Sakic1521012-6600
T. Hensick312911+41200
C. McLeod449110+39302
R. Salei421910-13010
D. Tucker33549-84311
B. Clark44279+32401
C. Stewart19437-12100
C. McCormick25167+24300
B. Guite17224+1400
A. Foote30044-71800
D. Tjarnqvist16213+4600
S. Hannan43022-71200
B. Willsie13022+1600
P. Dupuis8000-1400
K. Cumiskey3000-2000
GoalieGPRec.GASAGAASv%
P. Budaj3413-19-1959462.85.900
A. Raycroft129-2-0303022.70.901
PlayerGPGAP+/-PIMPPGW
B. Boyes43201636-2316126
K. Tkachuk42141529-1237101
P. Berglund38141428+131240
D. Perron4242428+32600
D. Backes4314822-411720
A. McDonald1661218-121221
B. Crombeen429716-58702
A. Steen4361016-51230
P. Kariya1121315+1200
L. Stempniak1431013-3201
B. Jackman4321113-115600
J. McClement433912-112300
T. Oshie195611+6230
R. Polak4311011-52901
C. Colaiacovo341910-42300
B. Winchester25628-54740
J. Woywitka28088-43400
Y. Stastny34347-142000
E. Brewer28156-142410
S. Regier8314-1420
C. Janssen34134-47700
M. Weaver24044+0400
C. Paddock16213-4000
J. McKee32112-31401
D. Hinote24112-52600
S. Wagner16112-51800
C. Porter6112-1000
T. Strachan13022+22400
A. Pietrangelo8011+0200
T. Whitfield1011+1000
D. King1011+0000
D. Koci5000-21300
J. Junland1000+0200
GoalieGPRec.GASAGAASv%
M. Legace2613-9-1716383.16.889
C. Mason193-13-1525283.14.902
B. Bishop51-1-1121093.19.890
M. Schwarz20-0-0050.001.000
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