Avalanche aim for season sweep of Blues
Tuesday, 03.16.2010 / 6:00 PM
NHL.comAVALANCHE (39-23-6) at BLUES (32-27-9)
Colorado 6-4-0; St. Louis 7-3-0
This is the last of four meetings, and the Avalanche have outscored the Blues 16-5. On Dec. 7, Peter Budaj stopped 35 shots and Chris Stewart had 2 goals and an assist for the Avalanche in a 4-0 road win. On Feb. 8, Brandon Yip scored 2 goals and Stewart had a goal and 2 assists for Colorado in a 5-2 home win. On March 6, Stewart completed his first career hat trick with a penalty shot and Milan Hejduk scored twice in his return from a seven-week injury layoff to lead the Avalanche to a 7-3 home win.
The Blues are clinging to their playoff hopes. If a postseason berth doesn't happen, they'll look back on a poor home record at Scottrade Center, currently 12-16-5.
This is the finale of a two-game road trip that began on Sunday with a 5-3 victory at Dallas. Paul Stastny scored twice, Craig Anderson made 48 saves, and the Avalanche rallied from a 3-2 second-period deficit.
Stastny and Stewart answered with goals during a stretch of 2 minutes and 41 seconds of the second period to put Colorado in front 4-3. Stastny scored in the third period for the Avalanche, 4-3-0 since the Olympic break to maintain second place behind Vancouver in the Northwest Division.
Peter Mueller, who had an assist against the Stars, has points in each of his six games since being acquired from Phoenix at the trade deadline. He is 2-6-8 during the streak, which is one shy of his career long set from Jan. 10-21, 2008.
St. Louis is playing its first home game since Feb. 13 (4-3 SO win vs. Washington). After the Olympic break, the Blues returned with a six-game road trip, going 4-2-0.
On Sunday, the Blues fell behind 3-0 after the first period in a 4-2 loss at Minnesota. Starting goalie Chris Mason stopped only three of seven shots and was pulled after the first period for Ty Conklin
(12 saves). Patrik Berglund
and Paul Kariya scored for St. Louis.
"The other teams around us and in front of us are winning, and this really hurts," said center Keith Tkachuk, who blamed "dumb breakdowns" for the early deficit: "At this time of year, you can't take a shift off."
For the Avalanche, Stastny has 4 goals and 8 assists in seven games, Mueller has 2 goals and 7 assists in seven games, and Stewart has 5 goals and 3 assists in four games. … For the Blues, Alexander Steen
has 4 goals and 5 assists in six games, and Andy McDonald
has a goal and 3 assists in three games.
For the Avalanche, David Koci (broken hand), David Jones (torn left ACL), and Yip (shoulder) are on injured reserve, and Ruslan Salei (upper-body) is day-to-day. The Blues have no injuries to report.
Colorado’s Craig Anderson made his 60th start and appearance of the season on Sunday, becoming the fourth goaltender in franchise history to appear in 60 or more games. Patrick Roy did it seven times, and David Aebischer and Quebec's Dan Bouchard each did it once. Anderson has started 60 of Colorado’s 68 games. … Anderson has made 24 consecutive starts, two short of tying the franchise record set by Quebec’s Ron Tugnutt in 1990-91. … Steen has four multi-point games in four of the Blues’ last six contests. … Steen has scored at least one point in nine of his last 13 games at Scottrade Center, going 10-3-13 with a plus-8 rating.
"It was two points … on the board, (we) didn't get any and now we've got to make sure we regroup and get ready for Colorado." -- Blues coach Davis Payne to the St Louis Post Dispatch after Sunday's loss.