NHL Preview from The Sports Network|
Monday, December 7th
(All times eastern)
Colorado Avalanche (16-9-6) at St. Louis Blues (12-10-5), 8 p.m.
(Sports Network) - With their fast start to the season long behind them, the
Colorado Avalanche will close out a five-game road trip in a city where they
have struggled as of late.
Colorado will try to avoid losing in St. Louis for the sixth time in seven
games tonight, when it takes on the Blues at Scottrade Center.
The Avalanche are just 6-8-4 since beginning the season with a 10-1-2 mark and
now trail the Calgary Flames by a point for first place in the Northwest
Division. They are 2-1-1 on their swing, picking up a much-needed victory in
Columbus on Saturday.
Wojtek Wolski had a goal and an assist, while Milan Hejduk and Chris Stewart
also scored in a 3-2 victory. Colorado also caught a break when it appeared
the Blue Jackets had tied the game in the dying seconds, but an apparent goal
by Columbus' Jason Chimera was reversed after it was ruled the net had been
dislodged prior to the score.
"I didn't know the net was off when it originally happened," said Colorado
head coach Joe Sacco. "Then we got [word] from our video guy that it looked
like the puck went underneath when the net came off. I was pretty relieved
when I heard that."
Peter Budaj made 29 saves for the Avs in his second straight start since Craig
Anderson suffered a neck injury that has him day-to-day. It was also just
Budaj's fourth start of the season overall.
Colorado has lost five of its last seven games, but has managed to pick up
some points by going 2-2-3 in that span. The Avalanche lost both of their
games in St. Louis last year and have just four wins in their last 11 trips
St. Louis won three of its four overall meetings with Colorado last year and
has seven wins in the last 10 meetings in the series.
The Avs have struggled versus Blues netminder Chris Mason. He turned aside all
28 shots he faced in a 1-0 win at Colorado on April 12 of last year -- St.
Louis' regular-season finale -- and is 6-3-0 lifetime versus the Avalanche
with a 1.56 goals-against average and three shutouts.
Budaj is 5-5-0 with a 2.55 GAA in his career against the Blues, while Anderson
is 2-1-0 with a 3.22 GAA.
The Blues are 6-3-0 over their last nine games and are coming off a 5-4
shootout victory in Los Angeles. Andy McDonald and Brad Boyes both scored in
the shootout, while Mason stopped both skaters he faced after making 36 saves
in regulation and overtime.
"It was a big win for us," McDonald said. "We wanted to be a little bit more
solid closing games out, but we've played well the last two games on the road
and hopefully it will continue at home."
Paul Kariya had two tallies for his first multi-goal game since St. Louis'
season opener on October 2. Boyes and Keith Tkachuk also scored in regulation
as the Blues won the final two tests of a three-game road trip.
St. Louis, however, has lost four of its last six at home and is 5-8-2 as the
host this season.
12/07 10:47:35 ET