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NHL Preview from The Sports Network



Monday, February 8th (All times eastern)

St. Louis Blues (25-24-9) at Colorado Avalanche (32-19-6), 9:30 p.m.

(Sports Network) - The Colorado Avalanche will try to forge a tie atop the Northwest Division standings tonight, when they welcome the St. Louis Blues for a battle at Pepsi Center.

The Avalanche have 70 points and are two behind idle Vancouver for the top spot in the Northwest. Colorado has won two of its last three games after ending January with three straight regulation losses.

Colorado notched a win over lowly Edmonton on Saturday, as Craig Anderson needed to make only 20 stops to record his sixth shutout of the season in the 3-0 home victory.

Of Anderson's six shutouts this season, three have come against the Oilers. It was quite the turnaround from Anderson's previous start, when he yielded five goals on 36 shots in Thursday's loss at Nashville.

"I think it was just a great group effort tonight," Anderson said. "You need a little bit of luck to get some shutouts, and we're playing really well defensively against this team."

Wojtek Wolski, Ryan Wilson and Brandon Yip each scored for the Avalanche, who are playing the second test of a four-game homestand tonight. Colorado is 17-8-2 as the host this year and has won six of its last eight in Denver.

Avs rookie forward Ryan O'Reilly suffered a bruised foot in Saturday's game and is questionable for tonight. O'Reilly has seven goals and 20 points in 57 games this season.

The Blues, meanwhile, come into tonight with 59 points on the season. They are 13th in the Western Conference and seven points out of a playoff spot.

St. Louis, which has lost two straight and three of its last four games, is coming off Saturday's close regulation loss against visiting Chicago. Jonathan Toews and Patrick Sharp scored first-period goals as the Blackhawks held on to take the 2-1 win at Scottrade Center.

Alexander Steen scored on a 5-on-3 advantage in the final two minutes for the Blues. Chris Mason let in both goals on 30 shots.

"(Scoring) can be tough -- it's like not being able to get a clutch hit; it's like not being able to punch it in in the red zone," said Blues head coach Davis Payne. "It's the part of the game that you need to execute in order to win."

The Blues have been much better on the road than at home this year, posting a 16-8-4 mark as the guest compared to a 9-16-5 record in the Gateway City. St. Louis, which will begin a three-game homestand tomorrow against Detroit, has won three of its last four on the road.

Colorado won its only meeting this season against the Blues, posting a 4-0 win in St. Louis on December 7. The Blues have still won four of the last six matchups in the series, and they have also taken three of the past five encounters between these teams held in Denver.

02/08 10:48:47 ET


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