It was the first appearance in town for the pair since they were traded from the Colorado Avalanche to the Blues in a blockbuster deal on Feb. 18. The Blues received Shattenkirk, Stewart and a second-round draft pick in the 2011 NHL Draft, while the Avalanche got defenseman Erik Johnson, center Jay McClement and a first-round pick.
Shattenkirk and Stewart played against the Avalanche four days later in a 4-3 loss in St. Louis and will meet their former team for the first time in their old stomping grounds tonight.
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Shattenkirk, 22, was a first-round pick (No. 14) of the Avalanche in 2007 and has emerged as one of the League's top puck-rushing defenseman. He was the highest-scoring rookie defenseman a year ago with 43 points (9 goals, 34 assists) in 72 games, and this season has 2 goals and 12 assists in 24 games.
Stewart, 24, was Colorado's first-round pick (No. 18) in 2006. A 6-foot-2, 232-pound power forward, Stewart has gotten off to a slow start with 3 goals and 4 assists in 21 games after averaging 28 goals and 30 assists the previous two seasons. He recently served a three-game suspension for a hit against Detroit's Niklas Kronwall.
Stewart has 2 assists and seven shots in four games since returning. After scoring 2 goals in the first three games of the season, he has just 1 goal and 4 assists in 18 games.
"I've been getting some chances," he said. "I'm trying to be the same player that I've always been, a big power forward, taking pucks to the net, trying to get those ugly goals and banging bodies."
Shattenkirk and Stewart had dinner Thursday night with several former teammates, during which a few friendly jabs were exchanged.
"A lot of good conversation," Stewart said. "I'm obviously up for this game. I spent a long time here, most of my career here, so it's exciting. I have a lot of good memories, but obviously we're here to get the two points and to play a good game."
The Blues have been on fire since Ken Hitchcock replaced Davis Payne as head coach on Nov. 6, posting an 8-1-2 record while outscoring teams 27-15.
"It was easy (for players) to buy in because there weren't a lot of changes," Hitchcock said. "Davis had a similar system. I mean, I'm not sure what I've tweaked. I've just done what I do. I don't know what I've tweaked at all. I just coach. For me, the team just flat responds and plays hard."
He must be doing something right.
McClement, who has 4 goals and 1 assist in 23 games, will be in the Avalanche lineup tonight, but Johnson (9 assists in 21 games) will miss his fifth game in a row because of a groin injury. He was placed on injured reserve Nov. 25.
The Avalanche have split the first six games of an eight-game homestand, are 5-9-0 at home overall and come off Wednesday's 6-1 win against New Jersey. The Avalanche haven't won back-to-back games since a five-game streak on the road from Oct. 10-17.