A shot off his mask during practice earlier this month briefly knocked Manny Legace unconscious. It also may have turned around his season.
Legace will try to earn his ninth straight win over Colorado and lead the St. Louis Blues (11-19-7) to a home-and-home sweep of the Avalanche when the teams meet at Scottrade Center on Saturday.
Legace was on injured reserve for four games from Dec. 7-13, after he took a puck to the head and was knocked out for about 20 seconds. In seven games since returning, Legace has not allowed more than two goals per game while leading the Blues to a 3-0-4 record.
He was 5-10-1 with a 3.48 goals-against average in 17 games, including 15 starts, before that.
Legace made 30 saves on Friday, earning his eighth straight win over Colorado in the Blues' 4-2 victory. He has a 1.62 GAA against the Avalanche (18-17-2) during his run, but also cannot explain his dominance of a team that has been among the best in the Western Conference for more than a decade.
"It isn't anything special (with me and the Avs)," said Legace, who also made 44 saves in a 4-1 home win over Colorado on Nov. 2. "The play always seems to be right in front of me. You have to be sharp when you play them."
Martin Rucinsky scored twice and Bill Guerin added a goal and an assist for St. Louis, which improved to 4-0-1 in its last five games and moved within three points of fourth-place Columbus in the Central Division.
Rucinsky credits new coach Andy Murray for the turnaround. Murray, the winningest coach in Los Angeles Kings history, took over after Mike Kitchen was fired on Dec. 11.
"Andy coming here has had a lot to do with our turnaround," Rucinsky said. "He's been successful wherever he's been. He brought a system in that we have bought in on."
Guerin is another player who has thrived in Murray's system. The 15-year veteran has four goals and an assist in a three-game points streak, and already has 17 goals this season after tallying 13 in 70 games with Dallas last season.
Joe Sakic and rookie Wojtek Wolski scored second-period goals for the Avs in Friday's loss.
"We'll think about this (loss) for a while," Colorado defenseman Brett Clark said. "We have to rebound and get back on the right track."
The defeat dropped the Avs into a tie with Edmonton for fourth in the tightly-packed Northwest, one point behind third-place Vancouver and two in back of division co-leaders Calgary and Minnesota.
Sakic, the face of the franchise since being drafted by the Quebec Nordiques 15th overall in 1987, has goals in three straight games and 17 overall to lead Colorado this season.
With 1,529 points over an 18-year career, Sakic needs two points to move past Hall of Famer Paul Coffey into sole possession of 10th place on the all-time list. Coffey, the second-highest scoring defenseman in NHL history, played with eight teams over 21 seasons before retiring in 2001.
Sakic has 13 goals and 14 assists in 18 career games at Scottrade Center.