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Avalanche-Blues Preview

Wednesday, 08.06.2014 / 2:49 AM

Associated Press

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Colorado Avalanche vs. St. Louis Blues

The St. Louis Blues just posted back-to-back road wins for the first time since November.

Winning at home has been commonplace for the Blues.

St. Louis looks to extend its franchise-record 17-game home point streak on Saturday night when it faces a Colorado Avalanche team trying to continue its playoff push on the road.

After last Saturday's 3-1 loss to Nashville, the Blues (32-14-7) capped off a three-game trip with victories over Ottawa and New Jersey.

The club had not won two in a row away from home since a 3-0-0 run from Nov. 23-29.

"It was a real character win by the boys tonight," T.J. Oshie said after netting the only goal in the shootout in Thursday's 4-3 victory over the Devils.

Scoring remains a concern for the Blues, who rank 21st in the league with 2.47 goals per game, but they keep getting the job done thanks in large part to a league-best 1.94 goals-against average.

St. Louis is 22-3-4 at home, and has allowed just 26 goals - five in the last five games - during a 14-0-3 surge at Scottrade Center.

The last time the Avalanche (28-25-3) were in town, Brian Elliott needed to make only 15 saves in a 4-0 victory on Jan. 7. Elliott, the league leader with a 1.62 GAA, will be in net Saturday. He stopped all 15 shots he faced - plus both in the tiebreaker - on Thursday after replacing Jaroslav Halak.

"The change was as much to shake things up and get us going a little bit," said Elliott, who is 9-1-2 with a 1.40 GAA in 12 home starts.

Elliott will face an Avalanche club that's won two straight following a season-high five-game skid.

Coming off Tuesday's 5-2 victory over Chicago, Colorado capped off a five-game homestand Friday with a 4-3 overtime win over Carolina. Ryan O'Reilly's team-best 15th goal with 1.2 seconds left in the extra period gave the Avs the much-needed extra point.

Colorado is challenging for one of the Western Conference final playoff spots, and is among five teams separated by two points.

"We're trying to get points right now and any way that you can get them, you'll take them," said coach Joe Sacco, whose club is the first since Phoenix on Nov. 10 and 12, 2010, to win two straight without the benefit of a power-play chance in either game.

The Avs open their four-game trip trying to win three straight for the first time since Dec. 29-Jan. 6. The Blues ended that 4-0-0 surge on Jan. 7.

Jean Sebastien-Giguere made 35 saves in that contest and fell to 0-3-2 with a 2.76 GAA in his last five starts in St. Louis. The veteran netminder, though, could make a fourth consecutive start after stopping a season-high 39 shots on Friday.

If Semyon Varlamov makes his first start since Jan. 31, he'll get his second look at the Blues this season. He made 35 saves in a 3-2 shootout win in Denver on Dec. 2 that denied St. Louis a season-high fifth straight victory.

O'Reilly - he also scored the lone tiebreaker goal in that game - and Milan Hejduk each scored in regulation in that matchup. Both found the back of the net Friday.

Hejduk will tie Adam Foote for the second-most games played in Avalanche history with 967.

The Blues will be without Matt D'Agostini (concussion symptoms), center Jason Arnott (shoulder) and forward Andy McDonald (concussion), who is expected back Sunday versus San Jose.

2011-2012 season series
DateScoreW. Goal
Feb 11 '12COL 2 at STL 3 - OTC. Colaiacovo
Jan 07 '12COL 0 at STL 4P. Berglund
Dec 21 '11STL 2 at COL 3J. McClement
Dec 02 '11STL 2 at COL 3 - SOR. O'Reilly
PlayerGPGAP+/-PIMPPGW
R. O'Reilly56152641-21042
P. Stastny54142236-52451
M. Hejduk57131932-71461
G. Landeskog57131730+153023
M. Duchene39121224-8652
K. Quincey5151823-15631
D. Jones47121022-52032
E. Johnson5121820-71511
D. Winnik5751116-104200
R. Wilson3711415+42600
T. Galiardi538614-44502
J. Hejda5641014-162001
S. O'Brien5221214-38110
J. McClement557613-92201
C. Kobasew477512-113502
S. Elliott304711+1801
P. Mueller15527+1411
R. O'Byrne57156+04100
D. Van Der Gulik23156+3200
C. McLeod50325-412200
K. Porter29325-41500
J. Lindstrom16235-9010
B. Malone9022+1000
M. Hunwick12011-4200
B. Yip10000+1800
E. Brophey3000+0000
T. Barrie3000-1000
GoalieGPRec.GASAGAASv%
S. Varlamov3214-16-2959443.00.899
J. Giguere2714-9-2557212.12.924
PlayerGPGAP+/-PIMPPGW
D. Backes54162440+178154
T. Oshie52142135+143422
A. Pietrangelo5381826+162234
A. Steen36131124+202223
J. Arnott49121224+112242
P. Berglund54131023-12002
D. Perron2991423+102022
K. Shattenkirk5361723+193421
C. Stewart51111122+47820
M. D'Agostini529918+152233
J. Langenbrunner5241418+72002
V. Sobotka4521315+132801
C. Colaiacovo4121315+10802
R. Polak5401010+45100
B. Jackman53099+173400
K. Russell41538+71701
C. Porter29426+1401
I. Cole18145+61400
S. Nichol54224-45600
K. Huskins9224+6200
E. Grachev26134-4201
B. Crombeen19112+02600
A. McDonald3022+1200
A. Cracknell2101+1000
R. Reaves37011-16700
C. Fairchild5011-1000
N. Nikitin7000-5400
B. Sterling4000-1000
T. Chorney2000+0000
GoalieGPRec.GASAGAASv%
B. Elliott2618-5-2416711.63.939
J. Halak3015-9-5607442.04.919
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