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Colorado Ends March With Third Matchup vs. St. Louis

The Avs are in a stretch of playing the Blues four times in five weeks

by Danielle Bernstein @danibernstein / ColoradoAvalanche.com

The Colorado Avalanche hosts the St. Louis Blues at Pepsi Center on Friday night to close out the month of March. It's the fourth of five meetings between these Central-Division rivals and the final of three matchups at Pepsi Center this month. The Avalanche will close out the 2016-17 campaign in St. Louis on April 9.

The Avs are 0-3-0 this season against the Blues and have lost the last five in the series. Colorado has a 44-31-10 all-time record against St. Louis and is 26-12-6 as the home team.

Last Time Out

The Avalanche rallied from a 4-1 deficit to come within one tally of the league-leading Washington Capitals on Wednesday night, but the club ultimately fell 5-3 at Pepsi Center. Mikko Rantanen, Matt Nieto and Nathan MacKinnon each scored for Colorado, while Sven Andrighetto had two assists and extended his point streak to a career-high four games. Calvin Pickard finished with 30 saves, but the Avalanche allowed two goals on the penalty kill.

St. Louis also played on Wednesday night, topping the Arizona Coyotes 3-1 at Gila River Arena. Patrik Berglund registered his 22nd goal of the season to match a career high set in 2010-11, and Vladimir Tarasenko buried what stood as the game-winner just 2:25 into the middle stanza. The Blues finished with a 43-23 advantage in shots and were 1-for-3 on the power play.

Video: Altitude TV previews Colorado vs. St. Louis

Last Time They Met

The Blues won the last meeting, 4-2, on March 21 at Pepsi Center. John Mitchell got the Avs on the board first, and the game was knotted at one through 40 minutes of play. However, the Blues came out firing in the third frame, outshooting the Avalanche 12-7 and scoring twice in the first 8:44 to take a 3-1 lead. Mark Barberio brought Colorado within one late in the period, but Berglund scored an empty-net goal to seal the win.

What to Watch

Blues in the Playoff Race

With Wednesday night's win over the Coyotes, the Blues leapfrogged the idle Nashville Predators to take the third-place spot in the Central Division. St. Louis is 11-2-1 in the month of March and has earned points in its last seven contests. They need a point against the Avalanche on Friday or for the Los Angeles Kings to lose a point in their game against the Vancouver Canucks to secure a playoff spot.

Andrighetto on a Roll

Sven Andrighetto tallied two assists against the Capitals on Wednesday to extend his point streak to a career-high four games, registering six points (three goals, three assists) in that span. He's totaled 11 points (five goals, six assists) in 13 games since joining the Avalanche and now has a career-high 12 helpers on the season. With a point against the Blues, he would match a season-long point streak for Colorado.

Player to Watch

Colorado: Right wing Mikko Rantanen

Rantanen potted his 17th goal of the season to pull into a tie with Matt Duchene for the team lead in goals. He now has 35 points in the 2016-17 campaign, which ranks third on the team, and his 13.3 shooting percentage ranks seventh among all NHL rookies.

St. Louis: Right wing Vladimir Tarasenko

Tarasenko scored the game-winning goal to lift the Blues to victory on Wednesday night, his seventh game-winner of 2016-17 to match a single-season career high that he previously set in 2015-16. He ranks fourth in the NHL with 36 goals this season (76 games played). Tarasenko has registered seven goals and nine assists in 19 career games against the Avalanche.

Lineup Notes

Calvin Pickard will be in the net for the Avalanche, his 44th start of the season and his third against St. Louis. Pickard was in goal for Colorado's first game against the Blues on Nov. 6 and the most recent matchup just over a week ago. He is 0-3-1 in four career games against St. Louis.

Newly-signed forward Tyson Jost should play for the Avs after signing a three-year, entry-level contract on Wednesday and joining the club on Thursday.

The Details

Friday night's game between the Avalanche and the Blues begins at 7 p.m. MT, and tickets are still available. The game can be viewed live on Altitude TV, and the radio broadcast is available on Altitude Sports Radio AM950 or online at ColoradoAvalanche.com.

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