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Avalanche Takes Aim At No. 50 Vs. St. Louis

Friday, 04.04.2014 / 3:28 PM
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Avalanche Takes Aim At No. 50 Vs. St. Louis
Colorado Avalanche vs. St. Louis Blues web staff contributed to this story.

AVALANCHE (49-21-6) at BLUES (52-17-7)

TV: Altitude, Fox Sports Midwest

Last 10: Colorado 6-3-1; St. Louis 7-3-0

Season series: This is the fourth and final game between Colorado and St. Louis, with the Blues winning the first three by a 13-5 scoring margin. The most recent game was a tightly played 2-1 St. Louis win that was scoreless until almost midway through the second period.

Big story: Only its 2000-01 Stanley Cup team has won 50 games in a season in Colorado/Quebec franchise history, but first-year coach Patrick Roy, who was a goalie for that team, can lead the Avs' 2013-14 edition to that accomplishment with a win Saturday at Scottrade Center. Current Colorado goalie Semyon Varlamov is expected to start and can tie Roy's franchise single-season record by earning his 40th win.


Avalanche: Roy joked Thursday that he was thinking about holding Varlamov out as the six-year NHL veteran closed in on his wins record. As it stands, Varlamov is expected to start against the Blues, Sunday night against Pittsburgh and Thursday night in Vancouver.

Jean-Sebastien Giguere is the likely start Tuesday at Edmonton, and Reto Berra is penciled in for Friday’s game in San Jose. That leaves a question mark for only the team’s regular-season finale Sunday, April 13, at Anaheim.

“We’ll see what happens for the last game of the season,” Roy said.

Varlamov, who has already far exceeded his previous single-season win total of 26 and also boasts a career-best .926 save percentage doesn't just have personal stats to think about, however. The Avalanche is trying to hold off the Chicago Blackhawks for second place in the Central Division and earn home ice in at least the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Rallying for a 3-2 shootout win against the New York Rangers on Thursday helped matters. Defenseman Tyson Barrie had the tying goal with 51.4 seconds left in regulation and the only goal in the penalty-shot tiebreaker. The goal was his career-high 11th, tops on the Avalanche.

Not bad for a player who spent two weeks earlier this season with Colorado’s America Hockey League affiliate in Lake Erie, following a stretch of eight-of-nine games from mid-October to early November where he was a healthy scratch.

“You accept to go to the minors, you work on your game and you accept to play a ‘north’ game, that’s all,” Roy said when asked to put into words the remarkable change in Barrie’s role with the Avs,. “We don’t want to see him play an east-west game. We want him to go north, and he does that perfectly. Right now he’s playing with a lot of confidence, and he has our confidence. He’s fun to watch. He’s fun to watch."

Blues: A franchise record fell in St. Louis after the Blues edged the Buffalo Sabres 2-1 on Thursday. Their 52nd win of the season eclipsed the standard set by the 1999-2000 squad, which also racked up a total of 114 points, which this season's squad is poised to surpass as well.

"[The record] is a special thing, but tomorrow it really means nothing," said goaltender Brian Elliott, who made 24 saves Thursday. "We have to keep going, get better tomorrow and get ready for these last few games."

With six games remaining, the Blues have to contend with the Anaheim Ducks for the top seed in the Western Conference as well as the Boston Bruins in the race for the Presidents' Trophy. They have a comfortable seven-point lead over the Avalanche for the Central title.

Who's hot: Avalanche forward Paul Stastny has one goal and five assists during a five-game point streak. Barrie has two goals and two assists in his past five games. … Blues goalie Ryan Miller has a 2.01 goals-against average and .920 save percentage in 14 starts since being acquired from the Buffalo Sabres.

Injury report: Colorado forward Cody McLeod (ankle/knee) left the game Thursday and is considered day-to-day.

“It’s his ankle,” Roy said. “Everybody saw that, but he’s a tough guy, and he wants to play the next game. For now it probably will be day-to-day."

Avalanche forward PA Parenteau (knee) has skated a few times this week and could return by the end of the regular season or by the start of the playoffs. Forward Matt Duchene (knee) is likely out until some point in the first or second round. … St. Louis defenseman Barret Jackman (lower body) and forward Alexander Steen (upper body) were out of the lineup Thursday. Forward Vladimir Tarasenko (hand) remains sidelined.

2013-2014 season series
DateScoreW. Goal
Apr 05 '14 COL 4 at STL 0 P. Stastny
Mar 08 '14 STL 2 at COL 1 P. Berglund
Nov 27 '13 STL 4 at COL 1 A. Steen
Nov 14 '13 COL 3 at STL 7 V. Tarasenko
M. Duchene71234770+81956
G. Landeskog76263864+236754
R. O'Reilly75273360-2296
N. MacKinnon77243660+222485
P. Stastny66223557+122244
E. Johnson7582836+45721
J. McGinn74181735-43053
T. Barrie60112334+162034
P. Parenteau53141933+52811
J. Mitchell72102030+123622
A. Benoit7472128+32212
M. Talbot7681725+34301
N. Holden49101323+112222
J. Hejda7361016+74000
C. McLeod715813+212200
A. Tanguay164711+7402
C. Sarich541910+73800
N. Guenin63189+34200
P. Bordeleau77448-310501
M. Cliche71167-121700
S. Downie11167+43611
R. Wilson23055+41200
B. Malone27224-42300
P. Carey7000+2000
K. Stollery2000+1200
D. Van Der Gulik2000+0000
M. Hunwick1000+0000
S. Varlamov6140-14-514219412.42.927
J. Giguere1910-6-0475252.71.910
R. Berra309-17-3868153.02.894
S. Aittokallio10-1-03184.50.833
A. Steen64332760+204279
T. Oshie76213960+234255
D. Backes72272956+15117105
J. Schwartz75233154+282341
A. Pietrangelo7784250+253221
K. Shattenkirk7693544+73465
V. Tarasenko64212243+201653
D. Roy7192837+02642
J. Bouwmeester7743236+291810
P. Berglund74141832+123822
V. Sobotka5882331+177211
C. Stewart58151126+211233
B. Morrow69131124+27643
S. Ott7791322-337661
B. Jackman7531215+139501
M. Lapierre668614+07601
R. Polak674913+66700
M. Paajarvi516612-5401
I. Cole453811+153100
R. Reaves58257-111700
J. Leopold26156+2400
C. Colaiacovo20134+01200
D. Jaskin14112+0600
A. Cracknell17022+2000
C. Porter18011+0000
R. Miller5525-26-414017892.56.922
J. Halak4024-9-48310022.23.917
B. Elliott2918-5-2506451.93.922 is the official Web site of the Colorado Avalanche. Colorado Avalanche and are trademarks of Colorado Avalanche, LLC. NHL, the NHL Shield, the word mark and image of the Stanley Cup and NHL Conference logos are registered trademarks of the National Hockey League. All NHL logos and marks and NHL team logos and marks as well as all other proprietary materials depicted herein are the property of the NHL and the respective NHL teams and may not be reproduced without the prior written consent of NHL Enterprises, L.P. Copyright © 1999-2015 Colorado Avalanche Hockey Team, Inc. and the National Hockey League. All Rights Reserved.