NHL Preview from The Sports Network
Tuesday, February 22nd (All times eastern)
Colorado Avalanche (25-27-7) at St. Louis Blues (27-22-9), 8 p.m.
(Sports Network) - Three days ago, the Blues the Avalanche shook up their rosters with a big four-player trade. Thanks to some inclement weather earlier this month, they didn't have to wait long to see their former players in new uniforms.
Colorado hopes to snap a 10-game losing streak this evening when it visits St. Louis tonight in a make-up game at Scottrade Center.
This contest was originally slated to be played on Feb. 1, but severe weather conditions in St. Louis forced the game's postponement. This game takes on even more intrigue after the Avalanche and Blues swapped players on Saturday, with the Blues sending defenseman Erik Johnson and forward Jay McClement to Colorado for forward Chris Stewart and rookie blueliner Kevin Shattenkirk.
Had the Feb. 1 meeting not been postponed, the four players would not have faced their old clubs until the season-series finale on April 5.
"It's pretty weird to come back that soon, but that's part of the business and it's going to be a fun game for sure," Johnson told Colorado's website on Monday.
All four players debuted with their new clubs Saturday, with Johnson and McClement skating in Saturday's 4-0 setback to San Jose that dropped Colorado to 0-9-1 in its last 10 games. It is the franchise's longest slide since relocating from Quebec prior to the 1995-96 season and worst overall since a club-record 14-game skid from Oct. 21-Nov. 19, 1990.
Peter Budaj made 29 saves for Colorado, which has lost five straight on the road and is now 11 points back of the playoff race. St. Louis is also six points up on the Avs in the Western Conference standings.
After a quick debut, Johnson, the top pick of the 2006 draft, and McClement practiced with the Avalanche on Monday, as did center Matt Duchene. Colorado's leading scorer with 21 goals and 47 points, Duchene has missed the past two games with a hand injury but may return tonight.
"I haven't had a chance to talk to our training staff yet, but I would list him as probable for [Tuesday] ... that will be a nice addition back into our lineup. We're obviously a team right now that needs some offense and he certainly can provide that," Avalanche head coach Joe Sacco told his team's website of Duchene.
Colorado also acquired goaltender Brian Elliott from Ottawa on Friday for netminder Craig Anderson, but Elliott has yet to join the team while working on immigration paperwork. Budaj will get the start tonight and is 9-5-0 with a 2.47 goals-against average versus St. Louis.
Budaj will try to extend the Avalanche's six-game winning streak over the Blues, a run that includes just a pair of victories in St. Louis.
Both Stewart and Shattenkirk made their St. Louis debuts in Saturday's 9-3 win over Anaheim, with Stewart scoring twice. They were both also in action last night, a 5-3 setback to Chicago that snapped the Blues' three-game win streak.
Andy McDonald and Brad Boyes scored in the first period to give St. Louis an early lead and Alex Pietrangelo drew his club within a goal in the third after Chicago scored four times in the middle frame.
With Jaroslav Halak on injured reserve with a right hand injury, Ben Bishop made his fourth career start and first since Dec. 18, 2008. However, he gave up four goals on 18 shots and was lifted in the second period for Ty Conklin, who made seven saves.
"I would have liked to have that fourth one back, but I have to make a save there and keep the team in the game," said Bishop.
Conklin had been lifted in favor of Bishop in Saturday's win and it is unknown who will start tonight. The veteran Conklin is 3-4-1 with a 3.07 GAA versus Colorado.
Patrik Berglund had two assists last night and has three goals and four helpers over a six-game point streak for the Blues.
St. Louis, which also traded captain Eric Brewer to Tampa Bay on Friday, is four points back of a possible playoff spot and is 1-1 on a three-game homestand.
02/22 10:58:37 ET