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Avs Begin Road Trip In St. Louis

Colorado will play its next three games away from Pepsi Center

by Scott MacDonald / ColoradoAvalanche.com

The Colorado Avalanche hits the road again on Thursday to play Central Division rival the St. Louis Blues after a quick one-game homestay. The Avs are in a stretch that has them playing 13-of-16 on the road before they return to Pepsi Center for four games.

Colorado owns a 45-34-10 record all-time against the Blues since 1995-96 and has gone 18-21-4 in St. Louis during that time.

The two teams will close out the regular season playing against each other on April 7 at Pepsi Center.

Last Time Out

The Colorado Avalanche defeated the San Jose Sharks 3-1 on Tuesday without the help of their two top scorers Nathan MacKinnon and Mikko Rantanen, who are both nursing injuries. Rookies Tyson Jost and J.T. Compher each tallied a goal and an assist, and Gabriel Bourque potted his third goal of the season in the win. Jonathan Bernier made 38 saves in the victory to help Colorado win its ninth in a row on home ice, the longest home winning streak since the franchise moved to Denver.

The St. Louis Blues fell to Central Division foe the Minnesota Wild 6-2 on Tuesday. The Blues opened the scoring 45 seconds into the game with a goal by Jaden Schwartz before the Wild rattled off six unanswered goals. Dmitrij Jaskin also scored for the Blues and goaltender Carter Hutton allowed three goals on eight shots in the first period and was relieved by Jake Allen in the second frame. Allen made nine saves in the loss.

Last Time They Met

The Avalanche visited the Blues in St. Louis on Jan. 25 in its final game before the NHL All-Star Break and dropped the contest 3-1. Alexander Kerfoot scored the lone goal for Colorado and goaltender Jonathan Bernier made 31 saves. Paul Statsny and Brayden Schenn scored power-play goals and Alexander Steen added a goal and an assist to help the Blues defeat the Avs.

What To Watch

On The Road Again

After a brief one-game stay at Pepsi Center, the Avs find themselves in a stretch of the schedule that has them playing seven of their next nine games on the road. The Avalanche hasn't been as strong on the road this year as they have been at home, going 10-12-3 away from the comforts of Pepsi Center and 19-7-1 on home ice. In their most recent road trip, Colorado went 2-3-1.

Scoring Goals

The Avalanche is one of the more lethal scoring teams in the league, ranking sixth in the NHL with 3.19 goals per game. However, the Blues rank fourth in goals against, allowing an average of 2.55 per outing.

Special-Teams Advantage

Colorado's penalty-kill unit has been top-notch this season, ranking third in the NHL at 83.7 percent. The Avalanche power play is also in the top-50 percent of the league coming in 15th on the man advantage (20.4 percent). The Avs will look to use that to their advantage against the Blues who have the 28th power play in the league (16 percent) and the 14th ranked penalty kill at 81.1 percent.

Players To Watch

Colorado: Goaltender Jonathan Bernier

Jonathan Bernier is coming off another stellar performance, making 38 saves to help the Avalanche to victory on Tuesday. Bernier is 11-2-1 in his past 14 games and holds a record of 4-7-0 all-time in net against the Blues with a .907 save percentage.

St. Louis: Center Brayden Schenn

The St. Louis Blues' top-line center is leading the team in points (51) and assists (30) and is tied with Vladimir Tarasenko with 21 goals on the season. In his last 10 games, Schenn has recorded eight points (four goals, four assists). Schenn has one goal in two games against the Avalanche this season.

Lineup Notes

Goaltender Jonathan Bernier will make his 28th start between the pipes on Thursday. Mikko Rantanen, who missed his first game of the 2017-18 campaign on Tuesday is set to take part in morning skate in St. Louis and will be a game-time decision to play.

The Details

Thursday's matchup is set for 6 p.m. MT. The game will be televised on Altitude and the radio broadcast can be heard on Altitude Sports Radio AM 950 or online at ColoradoAvalanche.com.

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