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Tuesday, March 16th (All times eastern)

Colorado Avalanche (39-23-6) at St. Louis Blues (32-27-9), 8 p.m.

(Sports Network) - Strong play on the road this season has kept the St. Louis Blues in contention for a postseason berth. The club hasn't been able to achieve the same success at home, however, and it's had all kinds of trouble when facing the Colorado Avalanche during this 2009-10 campaign.

Colorado will try for a season sweep of the Blues when the Northeast Division contenders head to the Scottrade Center this evening for a key Western Conference clash.

St. Louis returns home after performing well on an important six-game road trip to start out the team's post-Olympic break schedule. The Blues finished 4-2-0 on the swing, although they came up short against Minnesota in Sunday's finale.

The Wild scored three unanswered goals in the first period en route to a 4-2 triumph, which left St. Louis at a still-impressive 20-11-4 as the visitor this season.

The Blues are just 12-16-5 as the home team, however, but did win its last three tests at the Scottrade Center prior to the league's hiatus for the Olympics.

St. Louis, which plays eight of its final 14 regular-season games on home ice, will need to improve upon that lackluster record in order to achieve a second straight playoff appearance. The Blues enter tonight's tilt in 10th place in the West and seven points behind rival Detroit for the conference's eighth and final postseason slot.

"We're not gaining ground, everyone around us is winning," said Blues forward Keith Tkachuk after Sunday's loss. "This really hurts, no question about it. Some of the teams won [Sunday] too, so it's frustrating. We have to go on a serious run to get into the playoffs."

St. Louis could also use a better performance out of No. 1 goaltender Chris Mason than he gave against the Wild. The usually-steady backstop was yanked after allowing three goals on only seven shots in the opening period.

Mason has also struggled mightily when facing the Avalanche this season, with the veteran netminder having given up a whopping 13 goals (a 7.23 GAA) in the Blues' three defeats to Colorado in 2009-10. In the most recent meeting between the teams, Mason stopped just 11-of-15 chances before exiting early in the second period of a 7-3 loss in Denver on March 6.

Chris Stewart netted his first career hat trick and added an assist in that contest, and the Avs forward came up with the go-ahead goal late in the second period of his team's 5-3 triumph at Dallas on Sunday. The win was the second in a row for Colorado, which currently occupies the No. 6 spot in the West and trails first-place Vancouver by five points in the Northwest Division race.

Paul Stastny scored a pair of goals in Sunday's victory and has amassed 12 points (4 goals, 8 assists) over a seven-game point streak. Teammate Peter Mueller, acquired in a trade-deadline deal with Phoenix on March 3, has also notched a point in seven straight outings and has racked up two goals and six assists over his first six games with the Avalanche.

Goaltender Craig Anderson made a big contribution as well to Sunday's win, matching a career-high with 48 saves on the afternoon. The offseason pickup is 2-0-0 with a 2.50 goals against average in two starts versus St. Louis earlier this season, but wasn't between the pipes for Colorado's 4-0 blanking of the Blues at the Scottrade Center on December 7. Backup Peter Budaj got the call in that one and turned aside all 35 shots he faced.

In injury news for the Avalanche, forwards Cody McLeod and Stephane Yelle each exited Sunday's win in the first period after sustaining leg injuries and are questionable to play tonight.

03/16 10:51:02 ET


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